How to Make Your Own Scratchboard

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Use lines to fill in the space of your scratchboard art.
Use lines to fill in the space of your scratchboard art. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Scratchboard is used for an art form called scratch art, in which an artist scratches an image onto a board using a sharp point. Beneath a solid layer, which is typically black but sometimes white, are layers of colors. Craft your own scratchboard to have an inexpensive canvas for practicing scratch art or to save money on the more costly clay versions.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • 8-by-11-inch white card stock or poster board
  • Crayons
  • Hand towel
  • Black tempera paint
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Black Indian ink (optional)
  • 1-inch-wide sponge brush
  • Wooden skewer or toothpick

Spread a sheet of newspaper on the work surface. Place an 8-by-11-inch sheet of white card stock or poster board in the center of the newspaper.

Color one side of the white paper with crayons. Use bright hues rather than pale colors. Color sections or make an abstract image. Press the crayons down hard on the paper to make a solid layer of crayon; cover the paper so none of the white remains.

Buff the top of the colored paper with a hand towel to remove some of the waxy residue.

Mix 1/4 cup of black tempera paint with 1/4 tsp. of liquid dish soap. Paint over the crayon-covered side of the paper black using a 1-inch-wide sponge brush. Cover the paper completely. Alternatively, paint the paper using black Indian ink. Let the paper remain on the newspaper as the paint dries.

Scratch through the black paint using the sharp point of a wooden skewer or a toothpick. Draw an outline, if desired, with the sharp-tipped tool. Add patterns, such as dash marks, wavy lines, stripes or checkered marks, instead of scratching off large chunks of the black surface; otherwise there is little effect of the black surface in the work of art.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use high-quality crayons, which typically contain the least amount of wax.
  • Complete this project with children by allowing them to add the crayons and paints to the board. Then have them scratch their own work of art into the scratchboard.
  • Tempera paint is water soluble, while Indian ink is waterproof. Choose your medium based on which one is better for your situation.

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