How To Paint a Skateboard Deck

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If you want a skateboard design that nobody else has, the best option is to make it yourself. When you know how to paint a skateboard, you can add a mind-ruining image that all the other skaters will be jealous of.

Sure, you can pay someone to paint a custom design on your skateboard deck, but doing it yourself is less expensive. Plus, you get to take pride in the fact that you handled the process all on your own. Even if you’ve never done any painting before, the instructions below will take you through the steps.

Table of Contents

How To Paint a Skateboard With Acrylic Paint

Before you bust out the aerosol primers and acrylic paints, preparation is essential. Below are a few things you should do before you start painting your skateboard.

Preparing Yourself and the Work Area

You might end up creating sawdust and getting paint in strange places so make sure you’re wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. You can use a drop cloth or tarp on the surface you use to do the paint job to keep it from being stained.

Take Apart the Skateboard

The two trucks on the skateboard (and all of the other small parts) that connect the wheels to the deck will need to be removed. First, take out the bolts by removing the nuts using a wrench. Then, pull the bolts free and put the trucks somewhere safe for now.

Do Some Sanding

Now take the board deck and place it where the top is facing down on a chosen work surface. The original design on the bottom of the board should be facing you.

Use 40 grit sandpaper with an electric sander to sand away the original design. Make sure to wear protective gear throughout the sanding process. It can take up to 20 minutes to sand away the deck design.

Next, do some sanding with 150 grit sandpaper to produce a smooth finish. This phase of sanding should take no more than five minutes.

Avoid applying uneven pressure throughout the process. This could lead to an uneven surface or scoring the board, creating issues when you paint.

Clean Up

Use a stiff bristle brush to clean up the work surface. Be thorough because any missed sawdust could cause issues with your painting.

This is also the time to make repairs on the deck. Use a generous amount of wood filling paste in chips and cracks on the board. Follow this up by using the 150 grit sandpaper once more.

Tape the topside screw holes and the sides of the board to prevent drips of paint from getting on these areas. The best tape to use is painter’s tape.

Get the Skateboard Deck Primed

Use an aerosol primer on the deck to avoid uneven application. Painting with a brush and primer can lead to an application that is too thin or thick. Be sure the whole board has a clear coat of primer.

After the primer is completely dry, you can add a second coat of primer. Make sure each coat is dry completely before you move forward. Protective goggles are helpful while you are spraying the primer evenly.

Smooth the Surface

When the clear coat primer dries, sand the deck again with fine sandpaper. Go slow and be cautious. You shouldn’t see through to the wood grain below. Next, use an old cotton t-shirt to remove any primer sawdust on the surface.

Add a Tack Coat

Use a tack coat on the primer as the next layer. It is a thinning agent that cleans the entire board and prepares it for paint. First, choose a thinner that matches the paint you will be using on the skateboard deck. Then, rub it on the bottom of the board and let it completely dry.

Create Your Skateboard Deck Design

The idea here is that you will use stencils to paint your skateboard. Then, you’ll generate several layers of paint to build a design. In place of stencils, you can use tape to cover areas of the board.

Sketch the Design

Sketch on a sheet of paper to prevent mistakes when painting. Draw the shape of the deck on paper and make your design. The most accessible options are geometric designs with lots of straight lines.

Label the Hues

If you want four colors when you paint your skateboard, you’ll need to have four layers of paint. Number the designs based on layer. For instance, if you want triangles in blue on the first layer, write “1” inside the triangles for the design.

Make Each Stencil

Make each stencil you will use on the skateboard deck. Tape is okay for straightforward shapes, but more complex items will need a stencil or two. You can use cardstock, mylar, or cardboard to make them.

Start Putting Down Coats of Paint

The first stage of painting is adding the base coat to the entire surface. This will be the background for all of your designs. If you want it to stand out, use a high contrast color like white or black. Spray the base on and let it dry for about 24 hours before moving on.

Add One Stencil

After the first coat, take the design you marked “1” earlier and spray the second layer. Again, the areas where there are gaps in the design will be the new color you chose. But don’t move on until you have dry skateboard decks.

If you have an additional stencil (or several), follow this same process with each of them. Use spray paint or a small roller for the painting.

Remove the Tape

Remove the paper or tape once all the designs are placed in coats on the skateboard. Be gentle and slowly take off each of the items to see the entire skateboard.

Finish Up

Let your new design dry for about 24 hours and then use 220 grit to sand it. Wipe it off with a damp rag, let it dry for about 15 minutes, and then remove the initial tape you placed. All you have to do now is put the trucks back on and start skating!