Monday, February 16, 2015

Fixative Spray for Scratchboard Art

For the past several days, I have apparently been trying to pass (another) kidney stone. I have been taking Vicodin, which makes my head all fuzzy. I can't scratch, because the board looks blurry and my fingers don't work right. So in the absence of any new work to present, I thought I'd take this week's post to talk about framing scratchboards. I have a show coming up next month and I decided to do my own framing for it. I'm glad I did, because I'll be saving more than 50% over what I'd be paying the framer

Scratchboards, particularly those using Ampersand's boards, may be framed without glass. This is a huge money-saver, both for the cost of the glass and the additional weight for shipping, if necessary. Ampersand recommends using Krylon UV-Resistant Clear spray, which comes in either matte or glossy. I prefer matte, which has a product number 1309. You will hear many scratchboarders have a love-hate relationship with the spray. You love the protection it gives your work, but it can have disastrous results if not applied in ideal conditions.

So what are those ideal conditions? Krylon specifies below 60% humidity - the lower the better. I rarely have a problem with that in the high desert, but if you live along the East coast, you might have to time your sprayings to the weather forecast or get a dehumidifier. The can also recommends using only between 70 and 80°F. I have sprayed outside in temps as low as 50 without a problem, though I bring them right back inside to room temperature to dry. Ventilation is a must. I always spray outside, though for some people that is not possible. Make sure you have fresh air, because this stuff stinks and can't be good for brain cells. If you do go outside, make sure you are sheltered from the wind or you could get some dirt or pollen on your still-wet masterpiece.

I give my drawings five or six coats of fixative, letting them dry anywhere from a few hours to a day or two in between (mostly based on how busy I am with other things or how quickly I need the piece done).

Meanwhile, I can start putting the frames together. Next time, I'll go into detail about how I do that.

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