Painting your own surfboard is kind of like shaping your own surfboard, it feels good to put bit of yourself into your stick. Lots of people don’t really care how their boards looks like, lots of people just order a spray paint when they order a new board, but lots of people also like to be creative and if you are among them then this is an article for you. Whenever I decide to paint my own board I go online and start searching for ideas. These days it seems that every pro surfer paints his own boards but even with loads of surfboard art out there pictures of cool designs on the web are pretty rare and hard to find. This is why I’ve started this collection of cool looking surfboard spray jobs, designs and art ideas. But first a little bit about the process itself.
How To Paint Your Own Surfboard
There are a few different ways to get your artwork on to the surfboard. Some must be done during the surfboard making process, some can be used on an already made board.
Print Your Design On Laminate Paper
You can buy special paper called laminate paper (rice paper), tape it on normal office paper and use an ink jet printer to print your logo or design onto it. This paper is really thin and and fibrous and when it gets soaked by the resin it virtually disappears – only the logo stays visible. As the name suggests you have to put it on the blank during surfboard lamination so this technique only works during the surfboard making process. It is not suitable for bigger designs and it works best if your design has a white background. Also – be careful with the inks, use water based inks that won’t smear when the resin is applied to them and use inks that can stand the sun and UV rays. Some inks tend to fade with time.
This is the most common way to paint a surfboard. For this you will need some masking tape, paper and spray paint.
You usually use acrylic colors for painting surfboards. These colors can be bought in a spray can (more expensive) or in plastic bottles (really cheap). In second case you will also need a spray gun and an air compressor…if you can borrow it somewhere or if you by and chance own it then this is the better option, if not then get a spray can.
1. Spray painting can be done on a surfboard blank before lamination or on a finished surfboard. If you paint on a finished surfboard you have to protect your design with some sort of acrylic sealant, transparent spray, so it won’t come off. If you paint on an old surfboard make sure you clean it, remove all the wax and even sand it a bit with 180-220 grit sandpaper.
2. Masking tape and paper are used to cover the parts of the surfboard that you do not want to paint. Depending on how creative you are (and by using a razor for cutting the tape) you can make some amazing designs. Hint 1: Use masking tape of different widths. Hint 2: Masking tape is not the only thing that works, you can use stencils or even go crazy with tree branches, grass, dish soap (yes!)…whatever.
3. Shake the can, shake it real good :) then spray from at least 6” distance, spray evenly, keep your hand moving all the time. Do not stay over one area or you will get a puddle of color. Not good. Hint 1: Use good ventilated area. Hint 2: No bugs, dust, and kids fingerprints!
4. Dry time, at least 5 minutes.
5. If you painted over the lamination apply a clear coat to seal the design (Krylon and 3M for instance make acrylic sprays). Thats it.
Now…basic spray painting is meant for more color based designs. But if you are skilled (think graffiti) or even better – it you have a spray gun AND different sized and shaped tips for it – you can spray paint in much more detail. If not…then use this next technique.
Acrylic Paint Markers
Same acrylic paint but in different casing. Get a few acrylic paint markers and start drawing. This is how most of the artwork on surfboards is done. As far as I know the most popular brand for surfboard drawing are Posca Pens.
Of course you can mix spray painting and markers.
Hint: Markers come in different sizes
Colored Resin Painting
This one is a bit tricky but the finished result can be very interesting. While laminating the surfboard you put pigment into the resin. You can change the color of the whole board or make small batches of differently colored resins and use a brush to paint with them. Why is this tricky? Because you only have like 15 minutes before the resin hardens so you have to work fast and know what you are doing.
There are probably other ways to paint your surfboard but these are the main ones…
Where To Get Paints And Supplies?
You can get most of the stuff you need for surfboard painting on Amazon:
- Posca markers – BEST acrylic pain markers for drawing on surfboards!
- Spray Guns – I wouldn’t buy a spray gun for only one or two surfboards but if you are a bit more serious, maybe want to make a hobby out of it , why not:).
- Krylon Acrylic Top Coat – this can be used for protection of all ‘finished board’ designs. If you created your design on a already finished surfboard you have to protect it since acrylic paint can be rubbed off when wet. So spray your design nicely and evenly (like using an airbrush) with acrylic top coat.
- Masking tape – this tape feels like paper when you touch it. It’s easier to shape and cut and not so aggressive on the taped surface. But still – don’t leave it on your surfboard for too long. When the paint is dry remove the tape or you will create yourself unnecessary work when you’ll have to clean it off.
- Airbrush acrylic paints – these are the acrylic paints intended for airbrush painting, for spray gun.
- even dishwashing detergent :)) – if you like that design you can even get some detergent.
Design & Art Ideas
Not a surfboard design, but could be used as such
Color dip designs are IN. Here is a short sub-collection of color dipped surfboards. There is no use of making it huge since there are endless color possibilities but I have collected a few that I like that will explain the concept of color dipping.
That’s what I’ve collected so far. 77 different design and art ideas. I only counted them once so…. Hope this grows…if you have any good drawings, designs, spray jobs that you like… post them in the comments!