As an art lover, I love how appealing and captivating colored skateboards are. I marvel at the various colors and designs that show a person’s aestheticism. Vibrant colors with incredible artwork take a skateboard to another level of fascination.
Skateboard painting requires a few essentials before getting on to it—things such as a blank deck, a painting suit, a dust mask, some towels, etc. There is always a chance someone else might have the same skateboard color as you. Also, buying a customized skateboard can be pretty expensive.
Painting and designing your skateboard deck is much more fascinating than buying those already painted. By painting, you can create a unique deck no one else has. This is why you need to know how to creatively paint a skateboard deck.
What tools do I need to start painting a skateboard deck?
You need a few essentials when it comes to painting a skateboard deck. There are;
- Blank deck
- A large, well-lit flat surface to work on
- Clothes or painting suit
- A tarp or some towels
- Electric sander with sandpaper
- Lint or fuzz-free rag
- Wood filling paste
- Painter’s tape
- Aerosol primer or any other primer
- Dust mask
- Stencil with the design you like
- Grip tape
- Spray paint or acrylic paint
- Clear coat
You can paint your skateboard with spray paint or acrylic paint. I suggest a spray paint skateboard if you are going to use stencils. For people who are good with hand skills, acrylic paint is the way to go.
Let us look at the steps on how to paint a skateboard deck_
01. Wear the correct clothes
Wear a paint suit over your clothes while painting your skateboard because some of the paint will most likely get on your clothes. You can wear a paint suit or old ragged garments that you don’t mind getting paint on.
Paint splatters mostly happen to people not conversant with how to paint a skateboard with acrylic paint. Spray paint does not splutter as much. When prepping your skateboard deck, there will be a lot of debris from sawdust.
Also, fumes may accumulate when you spray paint a skateboard, so it is crucial to wear a dust mask. Cover areas you do not want paint on with a tarp, old towels, or drop clothing.
02. Clear work area
Look for an area in your house with good ventilation. You can clear working space in the garage or backyard, i.e., if the weather is favorable.
03. Remove skateboard trucks
Before any skateboard painting, undo the trucks. Ensure your working area will not scratch the deck. Lay a cloth if the surface is rough enough to dent your skateboard deck. With the help of a wrench, loosen the nuts on the trucks. Then, unscrew the bolts from the deck using a screwdriver and carefully pull the skateboard trucks out.
I suggest keeping the trucks and their components in a safe place so that when you are done painting the deck, you can easily reinstall them.
If you are dealing with an old skateboard and the nuts are a little tricky to loosen, I suggest using a chemical such as WD-40. It acts as an antioxidant.
04. Remove the existing graphic
Place your truck-free deck on a flat surface with the bottom facing up. I recommend using 40-rough grit sandpaper in an electric sander. Why? Because acetone and paint thinner may not entirely remove the old graphic. An electric sander removes the graphic in minutes.
I suggest applying even pressure when using an electric sander to have an even surface which contributes to the neatness of your paint job.
05. Sand the deck with sandpaper
While sanding the skateboard deck, ensure you wear a dust mask and goggles to protect your eyes and throat from all the sawdust. I recommend rubbing your deck in clockwise motions.
150-grit sandpaper is used after the initial sanding is done. It smoothens the deck’s surface and refines it a little bit better.
300-grit sandpaper is more refined than 150-grit. It is used to refine the deck’s surface, giving it a more smooth finish.
This sandpaper is the smoothest of them all. It is very fine and is used for polishing the skateboard deck.
06. Clear free all sawdust
After polishing the deck, use a lint rag to dust off all the sawdust on your deck. This step is essential because if you do not dust off all the sawdust, it could lead to clumping up, uneven tones, and other paint defects when painting your skateboard deck.
After ensuring the deck is sawdust free, I recommend immersing it in warm soapy water. This ensures the paint adheres to the deck.
Another alternative to the lint-free rug is a brush with firm bristles. Although, I suggest not using a brush with wire bristles as it may damage your skateboard’s smooth surface.
07. Repair any damage to the deck
Repairing damages makes the skateboard durable and long-lasting. This step is necessary if you notice cracks on your deck. Apply filler generously and evenly over the damaged areas. Repairing damages requires good wood filler, used mainly by carpenters.
Even if you do not apply the filler evenly, do not worry so much about that because it can be smoothened by sanding over the filled areas again. I suggest you allow the filler to dry completely before proceeding to sand.
08. Cover by tape the area you do not wish to paint
Use painter’s tape to cover areas you do not paint on, e.g., all around and the part you hold. Painter’s tape is more efficient than regular tape because it pulls away quickly.
09. Apply an aerosol primer or hand primer
Apply primer to your skateboard deck. A primer provides an extra layer of a buffer that prevents entry of dirt and water and prevents scratching of the deck.
Cover all areas evenly with the primer. Make sure the first layer is completely dry before applying a second coat. When using a hand primer, use a small roller brush. Remember to wear a face mask and goggles.
Use just enough primer that will not produce uneven streaks. If you apply one without shaking it, you may encounter bubbles and other irregularities when painting. For aerosol primers, I recommend thoroughly shaking them well before using them.
I recommend sanding after the primer dries; use 300-grit sandpaper and then wipe away all the sawdust with a damp fuzz-free rug.
10. Make the design of the deck
Use your imagination and inspiration to create your skateboard painting ideas and aesthetic design. You can paint your skateboard using spray paint or acrylic paint. It is possible to utilize stencils or tapes. It depends on which you feel most comfortable with.
Painting a skateboard with acrylics requires intricacy and accuracy. One has to know how to paint using paintbrushes.
I recommend sketching on a paper sheet before beginning the painting process. That way, it will be easy to modify your idea, but if you have already started painting, you will have to redo all this again.
11. Make sure the colors of the design
Decide on the colors you wish to use. I suggest numbering the designs to choose which one will go first.
If you wish to incorporate more than one color, you must apply the same number of coats of paint. I suggest using paintbrushes if you know how to paint a skateboard with acrylic.
12. Lightly spray the base color
Not many people know how to spray paint a skateboard. It is easy; all you have to do is hold the canister over the skateboard and spray in the same pattern until all parts are painted.
The base color is the backdrop of your design, so I suggest using contrasting colors such as black or white. These colors are easy to layer other colors over, making the top colors pop and more vibrant.
13. Attach stencil or tape design
Use stencils for more intricate drawings and curved designs. You may create stencils from various materials, for example, cardboard or mylar. For straight designs, I suggest using the tape design.
Now, lay the design and spray paint the skateboard with another layer of color.
The places underneath the stencil or tape will remain with the base color.
14. Remove the tape or stencils gently
Carefully peel off the stencils or tape after the tape has dried up. I recommend leaving portions of tape outside the skateboard, so pulling off the stencil or tape is easier. Remove the painter’s tape on the sides also.
15. Finishing Step
Finely sand your paintwork to give it a more refined uniform outlook. Remember to wipe off all the particles.
16. Apply a clear coat
Apply a clear coat to seal and maintain the design on your skateboard.
17. Re-install the trucks
Re-install your trucks, and now you have an utterly made-over skateboard.
In summary, ensure you wear protective attire when painting to protect your clothes from paint splutters. Keep your working space ventilated, and use tarps to cover areas that should remain stain free.
When sanding, wipe off all the dust to ensure no clumping happens. Use wood filler to repair cracks, and for aerosol primers, ensure you shake well before use. Have fun painting your skateboard deck.