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Scratchbord-Claybord Inks

Scratchbord-Claybord inks are specially formulated for adding color to Ampersand’s Scratchbord, Claybord and other paper scratchboards.  These transparent inks leave vibrant color in only the white areas of scratchboard drawings and can easily be scratched through back to white when adding fine details and highlights.  When painting over back areas, these remarkable inks do not leave a heavy ink residue.



Our inks are pigmented, permanent, and water-based with a bit of shellac to prevent dissolving. For best results, build up the color in diluted washes following the directional lines in the drawing. Other brands of ink can leave heavy residue on the black surface and can be difficult to scratch if not quickly wiped off.  It’s easy to mix a wide range of colors with only the six base colors in this set.  Each bottle allows the ink to be measured out by the drop.

For final touch up, apply Ampersand Black Repair ink around the edges of the subject matter to cover any left over residue and over-painting. Once all the color is in, go back and scratch out the highlights. This will give the forms in your drawing volume and dimension. Add more color where needed and repeat this process until you are totally satisfied with the results.

Group of Columbines by Lisa Goesling

“Everything is about value when I draw with Scratchbords. Ampersand’s boards are created so well that I am able to develop nuances that I could never accomplish with any other variety of scratchboard. Their inks are water based, I mix them just like I would mix paint. Two steps make the color really pop off the boards, painting with colored inks at full strength, (not mixed with water), and scratching away enough black ink from the Scratchbord, making a pure white surface to accept the inks.” ~Lisa Goesling

6 comments on “Scratchbord-Claybord Inks”

  1. Avatar Ginger says:

    Helpful article. I love Lisa's work!

  2. Avatar Von says:

    Sooooo fun!! Thanks for the info and beautiful art!

  3. Avatar Megan says:

    Will these inks work on wood?

    1. Avatar Ampersand says:

      Yes Megan, The inks can be directly applied to a wood surface. We often use them as a stain on our cradles for a nice look!

  4. I am new at Scratchbording…have done a couple of practice pieces. I am now doing a deer’s head and upper body and have scratched the outline and major internal elements. I now want to put color in the deer (mostly brown altho there is some green foliage). If I totally scrape the deer’ interior body, i will get good color, but I lose the potential for scraping in the body hair. If I scrape in the body hair and then paint, I lose a lot of color in the black. What do I do?

    1. Avatar Dana Brown says:

      Hello Larry, Because Scratchbord Inks are transparent and not acrylic, applying them thinly over scratches won’t block out black inked areas. It will just add color to the areas where you’ve exposed the white of the clay. You can scratch in as much of the details that you like, add the color to the (nearly) finished work, and then do additional scratching to reintroduce highlights and contrast. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email us at bords@ampersandart.com or call us at 800-822-1939 Thank you!

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