Can't find the old Ouija board that you really want? Don't really like any of the current boards? Maybe you should make one of your own. Homemade boards work as well as the "real" ones, sometimes better, because of that personal creative touch when you do it yourself. There are countless ways to make a talking board. Here are the ways a few experts we know do it:
Illustrator Kipling West paints her wonderful Halloween Witchboards on canvas. See some examples of her unusual style at the Boards of Kipling West, if you haven't already.
Funk artist Shelley Martin buys old maps and serving trays at antique shows then carefully hand letters them to make sensational looking talking boards. They are fast becoming sought after collectors' items.
Trevor Kane uses twenty-six Tarot cards with letters stenciled on the backs. He lays them out in two semicircles, then using an item borrowed from a sitter as a planchette, channels messages from the great beyond. As an added bonus, Trev flips the cards over and does a tarot reading. Two for the price of one! Step right up!
Jasmine (that's Goth Princess Jasmine, thank you so very much!) uses colored broad tipped markers and her calligraphy skills to create images like the one at the top of the page. She draws her talking boards on cardboard, wood planks, walls, sidewalks, buildings and just about anything else when the passion strikes. So far she hasn't been arrested, so she must be doing something right.
As you can see, you are limited only by your imagination and creative skills. If your tastes are more traditional, you are going to want to make your talking board out of wood. This isn't as difficult as it seems and can be a great weekend art project. Choose a wood with an attractive grain like birch, oak or mahogany. A good board size is fifteen by twenty inches and at least a quarter of an inch thick to resist warping. Sand, stain and letter your board then coat it with clear lacquer, enamel or polyurethane. If your lettering skills aren't the greatest, take your design ideas to a sign painter and have it done professionally. If you plan to make more than one board, you might want to experiment with silk screens. Who knows, you may become the next William Fuld. Feel free to adorn your board with images of suns, moons, stars, swamis, or whatever tickles your fancy. There are no rules that you need to follow.
Make your planchette (message indicator) out of wood, clear plastic or any other lightweight material. Some like to follow the time-honored tradition of using a wine glass, small tea cup, lucky coin or antique brooch. Felt pads on the bottom of your message indicator will help it to glide smoothly across the surface of the board.
Maintain your board by cleaning and polishing it with a dry cloth. A little light furniture wax used sparingly on wood boards will make them really slick. Don't use wax on cardboard or paper boards.
So there you have it. We hope that we have given you enough information to get you started. When you finish your masterpiece, take a picture and e-mail it to us. We would love to have it for our archives.