Thursday, December 02, 2010

Homemade scratchboard

It's December and the beginning of the Dougmas season. With that comes the Dougmas gifts. While I've picked out the gifts for parents and siblings I don't yet have anything for the grandparents. Their living conditions aren't great for things and stuff. Assisted living and nursing homes and whatnot. You understand. So I'm trying for something small. Something made instead of bought.

One nice thing about not knowing what you're doing is that you try a lot of stuff that probably shouldn't work. In this case someone who knew what they were doing would probably say what I tried didn't work. But I'm kinda happy with it.

I remember a mention of this technique in some old art class. And I saw some old examples when I was wandering the back corners of some Smithsonian museum years ago. Starting with what limited knowledge I could glean from a card hanging under an artifact in a museum, I decided to try it.

The internet calls it "scratchboard". You start with a hard white surface, turn it black, and then scrape away the black. In my ignorance and general cheapness I took some of the white bathroom tile that some handymen left in my house and spray painted it black. Krylon flat black to be specific. Then I took something hard and sharp and started scratching away the paint. My hard sharp object of choice was the pointy end of a compass from an old geometry class.

What I ended up with about 25 minutes later was this.
Captain America is looking a bit sketchy

This is my test piece. You can see in the upper right hand corner where I made my first couple of scratches. The design was simple enough and I'd be able to test the theory and the feel of the material before trying something more ambitious.

Trying to draw a nice controlled line wasn't easy. The paint tears and pulls a bit. Not like latex paint. Good lord no. But worse than I was hoping for. A light touch often ends up with the paint not coming away. Quick strokes were a lot better. Nice thin lines. But not always. But these issues also could have something to do with the thickness of the spray paint. I wasn't exactly graceful in my painting.

In the areas I was trying to make pure white I got the speckled effect you see. I kinda like it. It looks sketched.

The lines around the edge of the shield started out more like what I originally wanted. They were the quick lines. But once the lines started overlapping the paint started to tear again.

I have five more painted tiles, most of a box upstairs, and any of them can be stripped and repainted. I think I can afford to screw up a few more.

P.S. - One more before bed.
It's a combine... sorta.