July 21, 2009

How to care for and display your Scratchboard drawing

Before a scratchboard is framed, care should be taken not to touch the surface of the board. Even though my drawings are sprayed with a protective coating, the oils from your skin can still leave a stain.

Tip - In the event that this should happen you may want to try spraying the surface lightly with a Kamar or Claybord® varnish (which can be purchased in your local art store) and in most cases this will dissolve the fingerprint or oil stain. Do not rub the stain, even with a soft cloth, as this will only worsen the mark.

The surface is relatively delicate so care should be taken to not hit or tap it with anything. Sharp edges will create cuts and blunt ones may create dents in the surface.

When framing, I suggest using non-glare glass. The black ink can create a very reflective surface under regular glass causing a ‘mirror’ effect.

I usually recommend matting the drawing with a black mat board and then complementing it with a black, light silver or platinum wood frame. If the drawing is made right to the edge of the board, a nice way to frame it is to ‘float’ the art in the center of a cut mat board to create a shadow box effect.

Although you should never hang any kind of artwork in direct sunlight, using display lighting will enhance the viewing experience. Even though this is a two dimensional art form, lights shining on the original art from different angles will cause minor shadows and light shifts to occur causing a three dimensional impression. You will notice that the clay has actually been ‘sculpted’ due to the various depths of cuts made during the creation process.

Update (6/28/10) - Here are two pictures of one my original scratchboards (Nine Tulips) that has been framed.

As you can see, it is sitting on top of an off-white matboard but still framed by the black matboard. 

There is a 1/2" space from the inside edge of the top matboard to the edge of the scratchboard. 

I use a spacer between the top matboard and the bottom one so that the scratchboard never touches the glass.

I like to 'float' the scratchboard because I think that the best characteristic of it is that it's not on a piece of paper but on a board.  Why not show it off?  In my opinion, it adds to the work and gives dimension to the framing. 

Framing it this way was not my own invention.  I learned it from an antique scratchboard piece that I purchased.  I thought it was brilliant and I've been framing my work that way ever since.


Emily H. said...

What glue do you use to attach the scratchboard with the shadow box effect? I would love to see a picture of a framed scratchboard. I'm trying to get ideas how to frame my own work and I really appreciate your tips!!

Sandra Willard said...

Hi Emily! Thanks so much for your question. I use the same glue that is used for putting wood paneling on walls in homes. The brand I use is "Power Grab" by Loctite. It is permanent but I find that it peels away from the Ampersand scratchboard back fairly easily after it has dried (should you want to reframe it). I will add a picture of a framed piece to this post so you can see what they look like.

Dani Aukstaitis said...

Hi Sandra, what protective coating do you use on your drawings? I have 2 scratch board drawings that I did in high school and don't remember if the teacher sprayed anything on them. Now that I am finally framing and hanging them up (8 years later) I want to make sure they won't be damaged in the process. Where did you get your frame and the black mat board?
Thanks for your article!