Took a shot at my own clayboard


Double Actioner
Finally got around to attempting to make my own clayboards yesterday and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the process for those thinking about trying it themselves.

First the materials, I looked for a long long time trying to find what would be suitable clay powder but never felt overly confident with anything that I found online being the correct super fine grind that is required for this sort of application. Then one day I was buying some oil paints from one of my regular suppliers and noticed that they sold kaolin clay designed for fine art applications and they also sell powdered pigments in a multitude of colors. So that search was finally over, I don’t remember how big the bag was but I think it cost me about 8 USD and the pigments were about the same so I picked up titanium white and bone black.

Now the process, following Fred’s video on the subject was pretty easy really but it does take some practice. My first attempt at it my mixture was way way to think and it did not coat very easily or smoothly. I had weird spots and textures on the panel that just would not sand out as hard as I tried with 400 grit. The next day I decided I would sand everything off and start over, not a great idea, once this stuff has had awhile to fully cure its HARD!!! Vibrating sander and 120 grit took about 15 or 20 minutes of hard sanding to get the panel semi cleaned up.

the second attempt I made sure to really thin the mix out and it worked so much better, I had more time to work and the finished product was a lot nice. That said do NOT use a cheap chip brush if you are looking for a very smooth surface. In the one I did with the black pigment I can still see a lot of brush strokes in it, I can’t feel them but you can see them and there is a difference in value all across the board. I highly suggest using a foam brush for this process. It may not be a big deal with white but with black it is. I even tried using my power sander with 400 and 800 grit but no dice still didn’t get rid of them.

third thing, wear so sort of face covering when you do this, it is DUSTY!!!!! I blew my nose quite a few times for hours afterwards and was still blowing out black stuff. Wear a mask!

If you are wanting to paint on clayboard but don’t want to spend the insane prices they charge for them and like doing things yourself then I highly recommend checking out Natural Pigments for the supplies needed for it. Their prices are good and all their products fine art designed so you know archival.
Great to see (hear) how you got on and your experience making it up. I have all the ingredients in my basket on eBay and Amazon. I'm just not ready to press the buy button just yet, Trying to save a bit of money in this uncertain time. Will have a look for bone black and add it to the list.
I've just (last night) scuffed and sprayed a metal coffee tin with Auto Air sealer dark (black) and it has come out super smooth, with some plans to paint on it in the future.. which is why the bone black will be on the list. Black clayboard will be very useful.
Thanks for sharing your findings.