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How to Prepare Scratchboard

How to Prepare Scratchboard

Before you begin the steps, you will need to apply the India ink to your scratchboard paper.

Here’s how.

Applying the Ink

Use a good quality black India ink and mix it thoroughly. Do not use transparent ink or dye.

  • Dye, transparent ink, or ink that is not well mixed will be absorbed quickly through the chalk surface all the way down to the baseboard, making it impossible for you to scratch a white line.

Using a flat brush, apply one layer of undiluted ink to create a solid black surface. (Some artists prefer two applications of slightly diluted ink instead of applying one undiluted layer.)

  • Another option: I have never tried this, but I have read that an airbrush is excellent for laying down a smooth opaque black surface.

Keep your brush saturated with ink but not dripping.

Apply the ink in short strokes that do not overlap. Do not go over an area in strokes of different directions.

  • NOTE: If you are inking a scratchboard that you have colored with a crayon, it might be necessary to apply a coat in a cross direction in order to completely cover the crayon.

Be sure that you apply the ink uniformly over the entire area that you are covering.

  • You can tell your application of ink is even when you see it drying at the same rate. Areas that are shiny have more ink. They dry slower and also may leave a thick blob that will be difficult to scratch through and may chip.
  • Ink that is applied unevenly or too thickly often results in air bubbles or cracked areas.
  • Ink that is applied too thinly often looks mottled or transparent and does not provide a dependable scratching surface.
  • If the surface is mottled, wait until it is totally dry before touching it up, then do so sparingly.

Wait until the ink is completely dry before attempting to scratch. This usually takes at least 15-30 minutes. (I usually wait several hours to be on the safe side.)

  • If you begin when the surface is still damp, your scratch lines will be thick and ragged and your cutting tool will pick up some of the surrounding wet-inked chalk surface.

I hope that you have found this information on how to prepare a scratchboard helpful.

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