help me ouija
April 21, 2014 8:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm building a custom ouija style spirit board for a friend. The design I'm thinking of involves some resin, which while smooth, seems a like a not so slippery surface. What can I do to the resin surface to maximize planchette mobility?

The resin I bought is a polyester, which after reading more on may have been the wrong choice, as supposedly it stays tacky on the surface. What can I do to make sure the planchette moves really easily across the surface? Ideally the solution would be something I can do to the surface, as I don't have a ton of time to build a custom planchette as well, but if the only solution is to add something like little felt feet then so be it.

Bonus question: the bottom layer I'm pouring the resin into is a black chalkboard. The main part of the design is a white on black image that I'm making in illustrator. How can I get the white design onto the chalkboard. My original idea was doing an inkjet transfer or using a transparency, but the I remembered that white is an absence of ink, so this wouldn't get me anywhere. Screen printing is more work than I want to do. Custom cut vinyl of the design maybe? Any better ideas?
posted by cirrostratus to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the resin you're using is like the stuff used for gel coat on boats, you can cause the surface to cure by covering it with saran wrap our something similar as it hardens. It's exposure to the air that prevents curing. Peel the plastic wrap off the top when it's cured. You may may need to sand it smooth.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:52 PM on April 21, 2014

Why not actually use chalk for the white on the chalkboard? If your design is really detailed, make a stencil -- perhaps find someone to laser cut it for you in something like oil board. Then use a spray chalk. You will probably want to spray a fixative on top of that since it sounds like you are pouring the resin over it. Definitely test the process before doing it on the final piece since you will want to be sure the resin doesn't do odd things to the chalk. If the chalk isn't working, then spray paint should work on the same stencil. If you are super neat, you could also use a paint marker and hand letter the piece.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:37 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some planchette designs have small castors on the bottom - that would be one way of getting around any surface issues.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:22 PM on April 21, 2014

I really like the chalk idea. You could print out your design actual size at Kinko's, use this dressmaker's transfer paper underneath it to trace it onto the chalkboard in white using a ball point pen, and then use these chalk pencils to fill in the design. To prevent smudging while you are working, carefully lay down sheets of paper on which to rest your hand... but it's a chalkboard, any smudges can be dabbed out with water. It will be a lot of work but the hand-drawn effect makes it more distinctive. Cool idea!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:24 AM on April 22, 2014

I did a make-your-own-ouija party, and I was grappling with the surface needing to be slick issue also. What I ended up doing was buying pre-cut plexiglass sheets that fit perfectly over the boards. You can either secure with bolts/screws or adhere with a clear adhesive....or be extra fancy and use some kind of metal corners glued to hold the sides.
posted by haplesschild at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

The resin I bought is a polyester, which after reading more on may have been the wrong choice, as supposedly it stays tacky on the surface.

Based on my own experiences working on guitar finishes, including polyurethane, polycrylic & lacquer;

1) Do more digging into whether the product you have will actually cure to a hard surface eventually. Regardless of what it may say on the can about how soon you can use the finished product, some finishes need literally weeks to cure to final hardness, and that time period can vary quite a bit depending on temperature & humidity. Make sure you're not being led astray by someone who's just grumbly that their project didn't get rock hard overnight.

2) Is there any kind of chemical hardener that could or should be added to the resin? Possibly try some experiments with adding more hardener than the recommended dose & see what happens.

3) Combining finishes can be iffy, but look into whether there's another product that you can use on top of what you have that will provide a final hard surface.

4) Hey, maybe you just bought the wrong stuff - it happens. Don't fall into the sunk cost fallacy and just try to bull ahead with the resin you've got if it really won't work. That way lies misery and insanity. Eat the cost and buy the right thing. If you've saved a receipt and haven't opened the resin yet, you should be able to return it for at least a partial store credit, which you can then apply to the purchase of the right stuff.

5) Maybe this should be number 1, but I really like haplesschild's idea of using a piece of plexiglass. Getting clear finishes down to an utterly smooth & level & hard & clear surface can be a lot of work and take some trial and error, if you've never done it before. A sheet of plexiglass seems like a lot less work to me.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:22 PM on April 22, 2014

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