Introduction: Custom Wooden Ouija Board // Luigi Board
The spooky season is upon us! To celebrate all that is spooky I created a custom Luigi themed Ouija Board.
This project was inspired by the "Luigi's Mansion" franchise from Nintendo. The games have always blended spooky and fun in such an amazing way and I wanted to capture a piece of that with the Luigi Board. I tried to incorporate as many elements as possible from the games into the design of the game board, from the Dark Moon and Boos in the corners, the GameBoy Horror planchette, down to the Mario style font used for the lettering throughout the board.
Using a few basic tools found in most small garage woodshops, I will show you how to build your very own custom Ouija Board!
Step 1: Measure, Cut, and Sand
I'm using a 1/4 inch sheet of Baltic birch plywood for the game board. The first thing I needed to do was cut the giant 3 foot by 5 foot plywood sheet down to a more manageable size. I measured out 17 1/2 inches long and 12 inches tall. I then cut the board to size using my track saw.
The surface of the plywood is very rough, so I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 2: Applying the Artwork
I had the artwork printed at my local office supply store because it was cheap and I could get the entire artwork printed on one sheet (and some extras too just in case) This saved me from having to print and tape multiple sheets of paper together. If you don't want to have the artwork printed professionally and prefer to print at home, this transfer method will work with any standard laser printer.
To transfer the artwork to the plywood I'm using Mod Podge Gloss. Using a cheap paintbrush, I applied a thin, even coat to the surface of the plywood. In order to ensure maximum coverage I also applied the Mod Podge to the artwork. Once both surfaces were covered I flipped the artwork onto the plywood. Using my hands I pressed the artwork down firmly onto the plywood, working from the middle out to remove any bubbles that may have been trapped. An old credit card works really well for this as well.
When printing your artwork, make sure and mirror the image you want to transfer.
Step 3: Remove Paper Backing
After letting the Mod Podge dry for 24 hours, it was time to remove the paper backing and reveal the artwork underneath. I started by spraying down the entire surface with water.
To remove the paper backing without damaging the artwork, I'll be removing it in two passed. For the first pass I used a soft bristle toothbrush and applied medium pressure. I carefully scrubbed the bulk of the paper backing away. The paper clogs the bristles, so make sure and clean the toothbrush often.
The first pass removed the bulk of the paper backing, but there is still a thin layer obscuring the artwork. To remove this I rewet the board and did another pass this time using only my fingers. This allows me to be very gentle and feel when I have removed the remaining paper leaving only the artwork behind.
Step 4: Cut to Final Size
With the paper backing removed, it's time to trim the board to final size. I line the edge of my track saw guide to the black border surrounding the artwork. I then cut all four sides of the board to final size. I then sand the freshly cut edges smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 5: Painting and Clear Coat
To complete the look of the board and hide the plywood edges, I paint the sides of the board with black acrylic paint. This would also be the perfect time to touch up any of the artwork that may have been rubbed off when removing the paper backing. I chose to leave the imperfections as it fit the theme of the board nicely.
To seal in the artwork and protect the surface of the board I'm using Polycrylic Clear Matte. I apply a thin layer to the entire surface and edges of the board. The Polycrylic likes to spill over the edge so I make sure and clean up any drips from the edges of the board.
After letting the first coat dry, the surface of the board is pretty rough. To smooth it out, I lightly sand the surface and edges with 220 grit sandpaper. I then apply another coat of Polycrylic. I repeat this process until I have 4 coats of Polycrylic on the board. When all the layers have dried, I'm left with a silky smooth finish.
Step 6: Printing and Coloring the Planchette
With the game board complete, I can start making the Planchette, which is the piece you use to move around the board.
Using my laser printer I printed my design on a transparency sheet. I only need one, but I printed out as many as I could fit on one sheet just in case.
Using acrylic paint I filled in all of the areas that needed color. After letting the paint dry I attached the printed design onto an 1/8th inch thick piece of clear acrylic using Super 77 Spray Adhesive. My acrylic sheet is a weird shape because it was a left over piece from a previous project.
If you are unfamiliar, this Planchette is based on a GameBoy Horror from the first Luigi's Mansion video game. In the game, the GameBoy Horror acts as a map to help Luigi navigate the mansion. I hope this GameBoy Horror will help me navigate the Luigi Board.
Step 7: Cut to Shape and Sand
Using my bandsaw I cut out the acrylic to size. I have a 3/4 inch resaw blade on my bandsaw and it tends to leave a jagged edge on the acrylic so I made sure to stay proud of the line. Using my belt and disc sander I sanded the shape perfectly down to the line. After the piece was cut and sanded to shape, I removed the protective paper backing on the acrylic. I then sanded the edges smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 8: Dehazing the Viewing Window
The layer of spray adhesive between the acrylic and transparency sheet is making the viewing window hazy, and hard to see through. To fix that I start by cutting all the way around the perimeter of the viewing window. I then remove the transparency sheet in that area. Finally I remove any spray adhesive residue using Isopropyl Alcohol. The haze is now gone and the viewing window is clear.
Step 9: Frosting the Back
To complete the look of the GameBoy I want to give the back a frosted appearance. I start by taping off the area on the back side of the viewing window, as I want that part to remain clear and easy to see through. To help me see where the edge of the viewing window is I use a light box to show me the black border. I then cut around the black edge of the viewing window and remove the excess painter's tape.
Using Krylon Frosted Glass Spray Paint, I spray the entire back side of the GameBoy. After this coat has dried I remove the painter's tape to reveal a clear viewing widow and a nicely frosted GameBoy.
Step 10: Ask the Board Your Question!
With the game board and planchette finished, the only thing left to do is ask the Luigi Board a question. What would you ask it?
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