Yes, You Can Use Acrylic Inks on Museum Board

I had a cover dilemma. I wanted my covers to match the colors of the painted paper inside the book, but I knew I didn't have corresponding acrylic paint to match. I also knew I didn't want to distress the boards, so perhaps acrylic paint wasn't necessary anyway. Straight acrylic inks will normally warp the boards: they are just too wet. Mixing the ink with gesso would work. I used that mixture for the stencils for my 2004 book Night Monster. But I had not tried it for the covers. It turns out to create a nice faux marble or impressionistic effect. Here's an example.

Gesso on container lid for a palette, 4-ply museum board,

Draw with dropper tip.

Take brush with a little gesso and brush away from the lines.

Add more color, if you like.

Continue brushing away from the lines with the gesso.

More ink. Then brushing.

You could stop here.

Add an accent color, if desired.
This is Indian Yellow.

After teaching how to distress boards using acrylic paints for so many years I had apparently stopped thinking about the process. Long ago, I had banished the acrylic inks from the covers. I have a feeling there is more to explore.


Unknown said…
Hi Alisa, I want to try this. What is museum board exactly? Does it go by any other name or will any other board work? thanks, Susan
Alisa said…
Museum board is 100% cotton board, sometimes referred to as rag board, made to archival specifications for exhibition mountings. It is most commonly used in framing, and is generally available in most art supply stores with the illustration boards, mat boards, foam core boards. It comes in a large size usually 32 x 40", but you can order 16 x 20" from Daniel Smith Inc.

You could use illustration board, but it isn't generally acid free and may yellow over time (although if it is sealed up completely with gesso it might be okay.) I like the museum board for its archival qualities and its absorbent nature.