Contents | < Browse | Browse >

===========================================================================
== Marbleizing Your Amiga                            By:  Eric Rainbolt  ==
===========================================================================

This article is for all of you who want to do something creative with your
Amiga's standard and rather boring, some might even add PC'ish, offwhite
paintjob.  Well, you can change that and make something really cool, and
this article is about what I did and the methods I used.

First of all, I have to say that I am no great world recognized artist by
any comparison.  The process that I am about to describe here is simple
enough for any and all amigaphiles to do.  It should cost less than $25
bucks, will provide visual pleasure a lifetime, and will make your Amiga
look very hip.  ( like it isn't already ) ;)

The first thought to come to mind is what kind of texture and what kind of
colour do I want to use?  I decided on a marble texture; now I had to
decide between Danube Blue, Tiffany Rose, Ivory, Black Onyx or Florentine
Green.  Since my favourite colour is the colour of money, I decided to use
Florentine Green.  Actually, I couldn't decide at the art supply store, so
I bought all the colours.  Florentine Green is made up of all the colours
you would see on a dollar bill, looks pretty sharp as a marble finish also.
I also think some psychologists think green is a good mood enhancing colour
to view, so what the heck, the decision was made.

I bet you are wondering where you can get one of the "Marbleizing Kits",
but just hold your horses for a little bit, and I'll tell you at the end of
the article.  By the end of this article you should be completely set and
educated in the fine art of marbleizing.

I hope you are convinced by now, if not, this just might not be for you,
but I encourage you to read on, the application process is pretty
interesting.  ( Who says paint has to go on with a brush?  )

It is simple to marbleize your computer.  At first I was disappointed that
the marbleizing kit said "Not recommended for plastic surfaces.", but I
tried it anyway, and I can tell you, this stuff is stuck on like a painted
bowling ball, it doesn't come off easy.  All that is in the marbleizing kit
are some acrylic paints, something called "extender", something called
"thickener", a torn up sponge, a feather for putting on the marble veins
and a sponge brush you can use for applying the basecoat ( in my case this
was licorice black ).  You have to acquire some clear polyurethane sealer
for a smooth marble-like finish when you are all finished painting also.

The first step I did, and I did this the night before I started painting (
approx 1.5 hours depending on how good of a job you want to do ) was to
prepare the plastic surface by using a very fine grade sand paper.  I did
three parts; actually four if you consider the keyboard separate.  I
lightly scratched the surface of all the plastic I intended to paint.  I
used horizontal sweeps and then vertical sweeps to try and give the surface
a texture that would really help the paint grip.  After I did all the
surfaces on my monitor, my A3000, the keyboard and my printer, I thoroughly
wiped all the dust off and removed all the grease and dirt with some glass
cleaner.  Surely, any household cleaner will work, as long as it doesn't
leave any oil or wax on the surface ( stay away from products like Pledge
or WD-40; I'm sure you have the idea.) I already started becoming impressed
when I noticed my 3000 brightened up and looked like it was fresh from the
box.  I then took some 3" masking tape and taped off the monitor screen,
the serial plates on back, and all the connectors. 

The next evening, I started applying the basecoat.  The marbleizing kit
gives you enough paint to cover 12 square feet.  This was plenty, and I had
some extra when I finished basecoating my IDEK 17" ( this sucker is huge )
monitor, the 3000, the keyboard and my BJ-200 printer.  The basecoat colour
was labeled 'Licorice Black'.  It looked pretty black to me, and when I was
finished I was debating on just leaving it black.  It started to look real
cool all black, and I liked the idea of having a Stealth 3000.  But then
again, I had a goal in mind, and that was to go through with the
marbleizing.

It is a good idea to let the paint dry for 24 hours, although the acrylic
paints feels pretty dry after two hours.  I should mention at this point
that cleanup is easy.  All the paints are water-based acrylic, so even if I
got it on my clothes, I was able to easily wash it out.

Also, I elected not to use the sponge brush supplied with the kit.  I think
it would be a better idea if they included a brush to get at all the tight
spots, like the vents on the monitors and the fins on the front of the
3000.  A half inch to an inch soft brush is my best recommendation.  After
I was done basecoating all the surfaces and turning that boring white into
an evil looking black colour, I put all the pieces aside and spent the rest
of the evening hooking up my trusty 500 and checking my e-mail and reading
the news.

The next evening I began the actual marbleization process.  This takes a
bit longer than basecoating, especially if you are nervous about it.  The
idea is simply to put the stuff on, and nervousness actually helps make it
look better.  The first thing you need to do is set up your palette.  I
used a cookie baking sheet, but anything that isn't absorbent and no
smaller than a plastic plate will work.  What you do is squeeze some paint
in an irregular fashion all over the plate, the kit calls it Marbleizing
Colour A, but it's basically the colour most of your marble is going to be,
for Florentine Green Marble, Marbleizing Colour A was Summer Sky.  Next you
spaghettize { like spaghetti } Colour B on top of Colour A ( about 1/2 as
much as Color A ).  Then you add a little bit of white ( about 1/32 as much
as you used Colour A ).  The next step in making your palette is to pour on
as much thickener ( a clear solution ) as colour A and half as much
extender solution. 

The thickener makes the colours mix in an opaque fashion and the extender
solution makes the colours mix in a translucent fashion - like real marble!


Ok, now you have a load of paint ready to go on your palette.  I recommend
that you blur the colours together by tipping your palette forward and
backward and sideways.  This way, the colours mix and give you a realistic
marble colour combination.

The next thing you need is a sponge with certain parts of it finger torn
off to give the sponge a rougher texture.  A good sponge size is about 2"
by 4".   You then wet the sponge, clench out any excess water and then
gently rest the sponge, without pushing down too hard, on the palette of
colours.  The sponge will then have enough paint on it to do about 5-10
applications.

What you do is press the sponge on the surface, lift off cleanly, and then
rotate the position of the sponge and do it again, responging some areas to
give a very irregular and non-uniform colouring to the surface.  The best
place to start is probably on the back or underside of the computer or
monitor to get some practice.  Also, starting in the upper left hand corner
of a side is a good practice.  Pretty soon, you'll be amazed at the
results.  If the sponge begins to fade, simply refresh the sponge by
pressing it onto the palette.   Every once in a while you should clean your
songe by rinsing it with water.   Redoing sections over again enhances the
irregularity and makes it really look real.

After you are done sponging the whole computer, simply let that dry for
about 2 hours or until the paint feels pretty dry.  Then you can begin the
real interesting part of "veining" your marble.  Real marble usually has
veins of mineral running through it, and the veins are normally apparent on
the surface.  To imitate veins in your marble, you simply take a feather (
any common bird feather will do ) and a little white paint and some
thickener and extender.   It's better to use more thickener and extender
than paint to give the marble lines a real appearance.  Simply make a small
palette of these three ingredients and stroke the feather through the
palette until you have some soaked into the feather.  Gently and nervously
work your way across the marble finish.  Veins in marble usually appear
pretty much parallel to each other, so try to keep your veins pretty much
parallel.  Never make them intersect because this could ruin the look.  Be
very creative and apply as many veins as you like.  Some parts you can give
more veins than others.  Whatever catches your eye is probably the best.
If you can find a picture or two of real marble ( which is supplied in the
kit ), you can get some pointers on how to properly paint the veins.

So, it is as simple as that.  It is again advisable to let the parts
thoroughly dry ( 24 hours ) before performing the last step which is
putting on the clear polished appearance.

You can use an non-yellowing varnish or polyurethane finish.  I preferred
to use the spray can variety and one standard can does the whole job
nicely.  It stinks, so make sure you warn other members of the household. 
Spray the entire surface and let dry for another day.

I guarantee to you that no matter how lousy of a job you think you might
have done, if you ask other people's opinion, they will think it's great. 
I personally think the monitor looks best since it is the biggest piece of
equipment.  It has the prehistoric rock and modern technology mix that
looks cool.

I'm really glad I did this to my 3000.  It really makes it stand out and I
think your Amiga will like you better if you give her a paint job.  Plus,
as an added bonus, forget about writing down the serial numbers ( which
will never make your computer turn up if it ever gets stolen ), just tell
the cops that it was a marble computer and it will probably be found pretty
quick. 

This was a pretty fun thing to do, it looks great, and it was pretty cheap.


Here are a few more tips before you begin.  If you are really worried that
you might screw up, you can apply the varnish or polyurethane after each
step, this way you can just wipe off what you just did and restart.  Also,
since I was going directly over plastic with the acrylic paint I thought a
primer might be best.  I did the 3000 with a primer coat and the monitor
just with the marble paints.  I must say that it sticks equally well ( I
can't chip the paints off either ) with or without the primer.  If you have
more time and money, possibly use the primer, but all I'm saying from my
experience it does not seem not necessary.  Use your own judgment on
deciding if you need a primer.

I just got finished tonight, and I took great joy in reassembling my 3000,
since it was too sticky to use this last day.  It took two days and three
nights to compete.  I got by just fine on my trusty A500 in the meantime
though.  I'm still amazed at the power of that little machine.  I might
just go ahead and marbleize her too.  ( I have 3 of them actually ).

Marbleizing turned out to be the coolest way to add texture and colour to
the Amiga.  If you decide you want to add some external beauty to your
Amiga, you can get the kits from some art supply stores, althought it took
me over a month to find one.  If you can find any around you ( I live near
Chicago, and I only know one store that has the kits ), I can possibly
order a whole bunch depending on how many fellow Amigans are interested,
and ship them out to you direct.  The price is $29 U.S.  dollars for the
kits and $2 dollars more if you wanted a standard size can of polyurethane,
and another $5.00 for shipping.  $10.00 shipping for international
shipments.  If I have any money left over I will consider donating it to my
favourite charity - me :).

I will also offer a money-back-gaurantee ( you pay shipping charges ) for
any unopened kits ( they are sealed in plastic ) in case you change your
mind.  I'll just send your check back.  Since I am very low on venture
capital, I'll need to ask for advanced payment before I make the big order.


You can contact me either at anon0188@nyx.cs.du.edu ( a.k.a The Guru ) or
by snail mail:

                        Eric Rainbolt
                        607 South Dixon Street
                        Carbondale, IL  62901

You can also call me or fax me ( upon request; 2 calls required ) at this
phone number 1-618-549-2708.

This is a limited offer.  Since I am a full time college student right now,
I'd rather take orders and organize the entire shipment and send them away
all at once.  I could order enough from the store and have them shipped by
the end of February.  I'll be accepting orders until the 18th of February.
After I make the big order, I'll return any late sent orders/checks back to
the sender.

The Marbleizing kits come with the following materials:

                1 Marbleizing Sponge
                1 Marble Veining Feather
                1 Poly Sponge Brush
                1 Instruction Book
                1 bottle of Thickener
                1 bottle of Extender
                4 bottles of Marbleizing paints

I'll also include some fine grit sandpaper and a good brush to complete the
kit.  You'll just need some water, a plastic plate, and some polyurathane
sealer ( if you don't get it from me ).

The colours for the individual kits are as follows in the chart below:

Kit Name        Basecoat        Marbleizing     Marbleizing     Vein Color
                Color           Color A         Color B 

==========================================================================

Florentine      Licorice        Summer Sky      Tartan Green    WickerWhite
Green

Black Onyx      Licorice        Licorice        Charcoal Grey   Platinum 

Ivory           Wicker White    Gray Shadow     Straight Blue   Dove Grey

Danube Blue     Sky Blue        Blue Bell       True Blue       Gray Mist

Tiffany Rose    Cotton          Berries 'n      Raspberry       WickerWhite
                Candy           Cream

I've listed them in the order that reflects which I think is the coolest
colour for computers.  It's actually a tie between Black Onyx and
Florentine Green.  Both look real cool, although the others are not at all
bad either.   It really depends on your personal taste.

If you are able to find the kits at a local store or you made up your own
combination and marbleized your Amiga, I sure would like to hear back from
you also.

In March, I think I'm thinking about starting up a part time business from
my home doing this for local computer owners.  I've already dreamed of
selling this service for about $250.00 dollars.  It really adds alot of
style to your computer and the effort is really worth it.  Too bad most
customers would probably bring in IBM clones, but heck, at least they can
be made to look cool.

My system: A3000 030/882 8 Megs Ram, 17" IDEK Monitor, CD32 w/FMV.

I love Amigas, always have, always will.  Please feel free to write me and
tell me how much you love your Amiga and I'll make a collection.  If you
think Amiga's are the greatest, then you are already my friend and comrade.

Eric Rainbolt
anon0188@nyx.cs.du.edu or
eric_r@zeus.c-engr2.siu.edu

...also, call OMEGA BBS at 1-312-573-1989 or 1-312-573-1657.  It was rated
one of the best boards in the country, and of course it is an Amiga board.
Sysop: Rinaldo Petterino.

...and my favourite quote from Mr. Amiga himself:

"95% of computers are used by morons, and you need a MoronOS to keep them
happy.  There are only two: Windows and MacOS."

                                                -David Haynie
                                                Mon, 7 Nov 94 10:31:30 EST
                                                Top Gun Engineer &
                                                Amiga System Guru