What is this Zen Board made out of?
January 29, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

My daughter is in love with my old Zen Board (also called a Buddha board). What kind of paper is this thing made of?

My daughter is having lots of fun with this board that I bought ages ago. She dips the brush in water and paints to her heart's content and loves to watch her designs disappear. (I love it because water is easier to clean up than finger paints.)

I'd love to have more of this paper, especially in larger sizes. I've searched but can't find out what kind of paper this is made from. Is it really THAT special? Or is a type of paper that I could buy at any art supply store?
posted by jeanmari to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"Customers who bought this item also bought" Magic Water Painting Paper
posted by desjardins at 1:31 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, thank you. I saw the "magic water painting paper" for sale there. I'm looking for the generic name for that kind of paper (if it is something I can get at an art store) and I'd like to find a larger size.
posted by jeanmari at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2008

Does the Buddha board actually use paper? As in, do you have to switch the paper after it wears out, and that's why you're looking for more paper, or are you just asking for paper that will act like the Buddha board?
posted by nakedsushi at 2:03 PM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: The paper hasn't worn out...yet. She does tend to oversaturate it which they recommend not doing. So it has been looking and feeling a little worn lately but it is still working.

I'm just curious about this kind of paper because I'd like to get a really large sheet of it.
posted by jeanmari at 3:06 PM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: And, yes, it is a special kind of paper glued onto plain old corrugated cardboard stock and framed in a regular mat. The mat is nothing special...just makes it look pretty. So, special paper on cardboard with a mat. And a cheap bamboo bristle brush. And they charge you almost $30 for the thing, which IS cool but is a bit expensive if you want to purchase a larger amount of them.
posted by jeanmari at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: Okay, an artist friend has called me and thinks it might be paper related to the art of sumi-e. If anyone familiar with sumi-e could confirm this, that would be wonderful.
posted by jeanmari at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2008

I don't think it's sumi-e paper. Paper used in sumi-e does not react with water the way the Buddha board does. It is just very absorbent rice paper, good for capturing ink and paint.
posted by rhiannon at 3:44 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: That paper is made and used primarily to practice (with water) brush strokes for sumi-e painting, but at the store I worked in we used it every day to allow customers to test watercolor brushes (with just water, not paint) to see how well they held a point and how well they retained and controlled water. The paper's usually called "Magic paper", and it is made only by one manufacturer (the name of which eluded me--my art supply chops are rusty, but it may have been one of the Japanese companies) but it's re-sold by several companies, sometimes affixed to board, sometimes not. You should be able to find it at any decent size art supply store or online--just ask for magic paper. Also, it doesn't last forever, it kinda loses it's responsiveness after getting wet and drying over and over again.
posted by tula at 3:59 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Tula--that helped so much! I found some magic paper here that was almost half the price of the stuff on Amazon. I also found this magic paper (scroll to the bottom) but in the photo it has grid lines which I don't want (same as this). No really large sizes, though with some more inexpensive smaller sizes, I could cobble together what I want.
posted by jeanmari at 6:26 PM on January 29, 2008

Here is a large (semi-expensive) similar item, designed for kids. (If you look at the reviews, they don't use magic paper, they use a different technique, but it's supposed to work really well.)
posted by anaelith at 8:28 PM on January 29, 2008

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