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Entering the Clear Zone - Part II

Hexon II Box Set (21 boards)
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16 April 2004page first published

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So I mix up some paint (about 2 parts paint to 1 part blending gel - don't know if that's "right," but it works for me...) and start painting. The disposable brush works great, once I learn to load it with enough paint to get started, to use gentle pressure (don't want the sponge to get into the depressions on the board), and to stroke along the edges rather than across the edges (less chance of getting paint where I don't want it).

I found it easier to paint one hex at a time, until all six on the board were done.

Freshly painted hex

The blending gel makes the paint act a little different. For one thing, keep the board flat while you paint - I found the paint "flowing" a bit on me. Also, once the paint sits (for instance, while you're painting the other end of the board), it seems to separate into areas of color and clear - so I gave those parts one more dab with the brush before proceeding.

If you get any paint where you don't want it, smear it off. (You may need a bit of rag or paper towel to get into the crannies along the hex tops.) It's easier to fix now than later.

Pouring sand onto the painted Hexon board

I then placed the board in a plastic container and poured sand over it while the paint was still wet. (At first, I used a cardboard box for this part. Sand kept leaking out. So I went plastic.) Just pour lots of sand. You can tell by the color if you have enough sand on the board - a darker spot means put more sand there.

Tamping down the sand

Then, just to be sure the sand is securely in the paint, I pressed gently down on the sand. I did this at first with my hand, then noticed I was getting (very subtle) ridges on the boards from where the sand came up between my fingers. So I switched to tamping the sand down gently with the top of a can of paint - which (sometimes!) created the neat side effect of occasional crescents in the sand on the final boards (like a miniature sand dune!).

Pouring off the sand

Then - pour off the sand. (If you want to be safe, you could wait for the paint to dry before pouring the sand off... but that slows down the process of making boards.) Handling the board by the edges (so not to knock off any sand), flip it over and tap it a few times to knock off any excess sand. (That is, tap any loose sand off... you know what I mean...)

Using your fingers and a toothpick, knock off any sand you don't want from the sides and edges. (Sand, being sand, sometimes sticks places you didn't even paint.) Just try not to touch the parts where the sand is supposed to be. Blow off excess sand.

Let the board dry. (Go make more.)