I often get asked if making your own art materials saves money. The honest answer is that sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, a fact I find true of DIY projects in general. But cost is not the main reason I like to make things myself; I really just enjoy the exploration and I hope to pass on this fascination with how things are made to my kids. Case in point, these fun scratchboard cards!
Can you purchase scratchboard at a low cost? Of course! But making it is a lot of fun, from coloring the hidden layer, to painting it, to finally scratching it. There are two methods for making scratchboard, one uses India Ink and the other uses tempera paint + liquid laundry detergent. I tried both methods and found perks to each. Here are the pros and cons to the two methods:
- Covers the card evenly and quickly
- Looks best when dry
- The ink gets used up quickly
- The final surface chips a little when scratched
“Tempera paint + liquid detergent”
- Easy to pull together on a moment’s notice with everyday materials
- Scratches really easily and doesn’t chip
- The mixture gets a little frothy so the coverage is uneven
- Multiple coats required
In the end both methods work so pick which one is best for you! For this tutorial I used the Paint+ Detergent combo.
- White card stock cut into postcard size pieces (roughy 4″ x 6″) OR white note cards like these
- Painter’s tape
- Small roller brush
- India Ink OR Black Tempera Paint + liquid laundry detergent
- Shallow bowls
- Toothpicks or other items to scratch with
- Step One Cover the surface you are working on; this is a messy project! Tape the back of your cards to the work surface.
- Step Two Using painter’s tape, mask off the edges of each postcard. I left about a 1/2″ border on all sides.
- Step Three Enlist your kids (or yourself) to cover the entire postcard with crayon. This is an important step. You can either use one color of crayon or multiple colors. I recommend using a few colors.
- Step Four If you are using paint and detergent, mix them together using a 1:1 ratio. Pour into a shallow bottomed bowl. I like to use recycled meat trays for this. If you are using India Ink pour it directly into a bowl/tray.
- Step Five Using your roller brush, cover the entire card with paint/detergent or India Ink. Let dry.
- Step Six Repeat with additional coats as necessary until the entire surface is covered. Let dry completely.
- Step Seven Unmask the cards carefully so as not to rip the card stock.
When the cards are finished the kiddos can scratch them using toothpicks or chopsticks to make drawings. Craftwhack did a similar project and has some fantastic ideas for different kinds of scratchers!
I absolutely love how these turned out! Scratchboard is a win win project because the final product always looks like a little piece of art no matter what the skill level of the child is, in fact I think the messier the scratching the better!
My kids loved scratching them and when they were done they asked if they could make thier own cards from scratch, pun intended.
These cards would be great as greeting cards, simply scratch your message on the front.
Also be sure to check out INSTANT SCRATCH ART using Oil Pastels!
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