Thursday, July 22, 2010

Game Piece Tutorial - Coloring images on plastic with Pigment Markers

One of my favorite art projects is to rubber stamp on dominos and other game tiles.

Domino Art includes most game piece tiles that can be decorated or altered in some way or another. I usually rubber stamp my tiles and I use a variety of game pieces such as dominos, triominos, chekit and vintage rummikub tiles to create my Wearable Domino Art projects.

This is a collection of Dominos I stamped and colored using
Third Coast Rubber Stamps and Permanent markers.

Dominos are a great way to get started since they are readily available and don't have to cost a lot to purchase. They come in a variety of sizes and are great for turning into wearable art.

Game Piece Tutorial - Coloring images on plastic with Pigment Markers

Pigment ink marker are perfect for coloring on game tiles, since they give you a little play room before they dry and are not as likely to remove your stamping lines if you accidentally get to close to them when you color the image. Other non- pigment markers can be used if you are careful and seal your finished project properly but I find the pigment markers to be the best for this project.

Several companies make a pigment marker you just want look for the word Pigment on the pen or choose Adirondack pens by Ranger (they do not list the word pigment but Adirondack pens are a pigment ink and my choice for muted antique looking colors).

If you can’t get Adirondack Pigment Pens, other Pigment ink marker choices currently available are: LePlume Pigmented by Marvy – Zig Pigment Ink – Pigment Pro by American Crafts.

Note #1 - It is possible to color in images using a sharpie pen; however you need to stay clear of the stamped lines or the alcohol in the Sharpie ink will cause the stamped lines to disappear. If you spray the inked image with your sealer before coloring with a sharpie pen it will give you a little bit of added protection from erasing your stamped lines.

Note #2 –Non-pigment markers like Le Plume II or other rubber stam
ping markers that are dye ink based do not dry on non-porous or plastic surfaces so they are not a good choice for this project.


  • Dominos or other plastic game tile - Rummikub (rectangle), Triomino (triangle) or Chekit (hexagon)
  • Staz-On Black Ink
  • Third Coast Rubber Stamp Images (as listed below)
  • A variety of Adirondack or Pigment Markers
  • Krylon Workable Fixatif spray sealer
  • Krylon UV Resistant Clear spray
  • Black Sharpie Magnum Pen for edging the dominos (Optional for the sides)
  • Black Sharpie Super Twin Tip with Chisel edge (Optional for the top edging on the domino)
  • Rubbing alcohol & cotton pad – to clean game piece before you stamp it
  • Cotton swab dampened with water – to clean up any ink smudges before they dry
  • Baby wipes or damp paper towel to clean your fingers
  • Heat Gun (Please see Safety Note below)
* SAFETY NOTE - Follow the manufacturers instructions for your particular model of heat gun - Always place your game tile in or on a heat safe surface before using the heat tool and remember to let it cool before touching it. The plastic will get super hot!!!

Step 1
- Start by wiping each game tile or domino with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad
(This gives you a clean starting surface on which to stamp and color).

Step 2 - Stamp your image onto the game pieces using Staz-On ink or another solvent based ink that will dry on plastic.

Tip for stamping – I find I get a sharper image and better placement if I first ink the stamp: then press the game piece into the inked stamp. Get a good grip on the game tile and lift the game piece straight off the stamp.

All Stamp Images are by Third Coast Rubber Stamps
FT-206-K Sarosh Observes FA-232-C Pepin the Piper
FA-226-I Owls on Fence FT-374-I Relaxing Beauty

The game tiles: (regulation sized Domino,Vintage Rummikub tile, Triomino, Checkit domino tile)

Step 3 - Heat set the ink with a heat tool to make it more durable for the coloring process. If you do not have a heat tool you can use a hairdryer on the hottest setting for this. * See Safety Note above.

Step 4 - Color small areas at a time with the pigment markers trying not to go over the inked lines too often. (Constantly coloring over the lines may lighten or totally erase them from you piece).

FT-206-K Sarosh Observes was colored with the following Adirondack Colors:
Skin (Latte) - Hair/Beard (Ginger) - Sword Hilt (Butterscotch)
Turban (Currant) - Robe (Pesto)

The lighter shades are by daubing the color and the darker shades
are by going back
in with the same color at full strength.

Step 5 - You can soften the color and avoid pen line marks by lightly tapping or daubing over the still wet ink with your finger tips. This will lighten and lift some of the ink off but you can keep adding color and tapping in layers till you get the depth of color you want. Use the baby wipe or damp paper towel to keep your fingers clean as you work at daubing the colors on the image. If you smudge some color where you don’t want it, quickly clean it up with a slightly damp cotton swab.

The background can be left natural or you can choose to color it as well.
Tip - I find it works better to do the background color first
if you want a background color.

Step 6 - Heat set with heat gun to bake in the color. Once the piece has cooled, edge the sides with a black sharpie marker, leafing pen or pigment marker color of your choice.

Black Edging Tip - If you want the black edging the quick simple I have found it to use a big Sharpie Magnum Pen on the flat side edges and the Sharpie Super Twin Tip chisel end to do the top edging.

Step 7 - Lightly spray a coat of Krylon Workable Fixatif spray sealer over the piece and let dry. (I like to do this to put a protective barrier between my inks and my clear coat sealer; since most spray sealers have alcohol in them which could cause the colors in the image run together).

Step 8 - After the Fixatif is dry I give the game piece 2 light coats of Krylon UV Resistant Clear spray, remembering to let each coat dry before applying the next coat. (It is best to spray several light coats instead of one heavy coat to protect your artwork properly).

A few alternative sealing methods:

- Use a liquid glaze like Liquid Lacquer or Diamond Glaze which will form a tough shiny shell over your work.

- Sponge or brush a coat of water-based sealer like Mod Podge Matte or Gloss depending on the finish style you like. Sometimes this type of product dries a bit tacky to the touch but a light coat of spray acrylic sealer will resolve that if it is a problem for you.

- I’ve even know some people to use Future Floor Sealer or polyurethane on there pieces, so you might want to test out what you have around in your craft supplies or around the house to find what works best for you.


A few ideas on what you can do with your game piece art:

  • Wearable Art - Create jewelry pieces such as pendants and pins. Glue a bead or pin back to the piece with E6000 or Super Glue for an easy method. If you are really industrious you can drill holes in the game pieces so you can turn them into beaded bracelets or necklaces.

  • ATC’s – mini sized dominos and the Rummikub game tiles are perfect for accenting your ATC (Artist Trading Cards) since they are just under ¼ inch thick, half the thickness of a regular domino.

  • Mirror Toppers – You can line up a series of art dominos along the top for a framed mirror or picture as a whimsical accent. The top edge of the frame makes a great ledge to sit the dominos on and they can be removed or changed out will not fuss or messy clean up since they are just sitting there.

  • Framed Artwork – You can add your game piece art to your shadowbox projects or frame it. Shadow box frames can be purchased at your local craft store or you can use a regular frame where the glass has been removed. Insert black mat board in place of a picture and then glue your game piece art to the mat board. Frame individual items or a whole group.

I hope this inspires you to pull out your ink, stamps and old game tiles to create your own domino art.

Grins and Giggles,
Evelyn (EKDuncan)


  1. I greatly admire your tile art work and am quite inspired. Though I have checked numerous websites and stores to find Checkit game tiles, I cannot find a dealer. Please share the name of any dealer you know of who has the Checkit tiles in stock.
    Your tiles are beautiful!

  2. Thanks so much. These are fun to do and I hope you will create some great wearable art of your own.

    Checkit tiles are getting harder and harder to find. That game was made over 10 years ago and now the only place I have been able to find them are on eBay (but they don't come up very often any more) The last set I was able to buy was about 2 years ago and it cost me $25 for 66 white Checkit game tiles.

    FYI - there are also "black" Checkit tiles but they do not have a blank back like the white tiles. The black Checkit game pieces are engraved with the word Checkit and have a ridge around them, so don't waste your money on those.