While painting your surfboard is a wonderful way to add flair to your wave-riding experience, the last thing you want to do is use the wrong kinds of materials or techniques and ruin your surfboard. If you're looking to unleash the artist inside you and craft a custom design for your surfboard, you've come to the right place.
In this short guide, we're going to dissect the process of painting a surfboard safely and quickly.
Let's dive in!
While painting a surfboard is not a complex process, you will need to have all of the proper materials in place before you start.
Step 1 -Clean Your Surfboard
How much you have to clean your surfboard depends entirely on the board.
Do you have a brand new board?
If so, all you should have to do is wipe it down with a clean rag.
If you're painting a surfboard that's already been through some ripping and roaring, you'll need to be more thorough with your cleaning process.
First, leave your board in the sun so that any leftover wax residue melts off. Then, finish removing the residue with a wax comb.
Next, spray your board with some board-friendly cleaner and wipe it d0wn with a soft cloth.
Before moving on to the next step, ensure that your surfboard is free from wax, dirt, or residue.
Step 2 - Wipe Your Board Down With Acetone
To remove any lingering dirt or wax, rub your surfboard down with acetone. While this step isn't necessary, it is an excellent way to ensure your paint sticks as nicely as possible.
Plus, you can buy acetone for a few bucks at just about any local convenience store.
Apply a few large drops to a paper towel and wipe down the entire surfboard.
PRO TIP: If you have nail polish remover at home, you can also use that. Just make sure that it does not say "acetone-free" on the bottle.
Step 3 - Sand Your Surfboard
To help your paint stick better, take your fine 320 grit sandpaper and rub-down the entirety of your surfboard.
Many surfers use orbital sanders to make the job easier.
Do not sand your board too aggressively, as you could damage your fiberglass.
Once you've sanded your surfboard, wipe it down gently to get rid of any lingering dust.
Making sure your surfboard is clean will help the tape stick better.
Step 4 - Sketch Your Design
Once you have cleaned and sanded your surfboard, it's time to begin sketching your outline with your whiteboard marker.
The beauty of using a whiteboard marker to draw is you can erase it and correct any design flaws before starting your paint job.
For complex designs, you can use your masking tape to mask off specific regions of your surfboard. Doing so makes painting intricate designs much easier. You can also tape down newspaper if you need to cover up larger areas. Newspaper is a wonderful tool for covering up any potential overspray.
Step 5 - Start Painting!
It's finally time to get to the exciting part!
If you are using both spray paint and acrylic paint, we recommend using your spray paint first.
Using proper spraying techniques is crucial to get an even coat. Shake your spray paint can for a minute before you start your paint job.
Start by applying a tack (light) coat with your spray paint to get a thin layer of paint across your entire board. NEVER spray your board at a close distance, as you could end up with excess paint or paint drops.
Instead, by spraying thin layers from a distance, you can get an evenly distributed paint layer across your board without adding any weight.
To get that unique light-to-dark fade, you can use two or three similar colors combined.
Once your spray paint is dry, you can use your brush to lay down your acrylic paint.
PRO TIP: If you're doing any detailed work, we recommend using a paint pen. Using black paint pens to add lines can help make your design look more defined and bring out the colors on your board.
Step 6 - Allow Your Board To Dry
To completely dry, your b0ard will need about 24 hours.
Before proceeding to the next step, ensure your board is not damp or sticky to the touch.
Step 7 - Cover Your Board With Clear Coat
Once your paint is completely dried, you can apply a matte or glossy clear coat.
A clear coat will not only give your board that professional shine, but it will also keep your paint from wearing down. Before adding a clear coat, wipe any dust or residue away.
It is best to apply one layer of clear coat, let it dry completely for 24 hours, then apply another layer. We always say that adding two or three coats is the best way to prevent damage in the long run!
Riding Your New Wave Weapon
Once your paint job is finished, allow it to dry for a 24-hour period before getting into the water.
Congrats! You've just turned that old board into a brand new shred stick!
We hope that this article helped outline the steps necessary to paint your board like a pro. To paint a surfboard like a pro, you really only need to invest a few hours. It's a fun job that can give you the creative satisfaction you desire while impressing other surfers in the lineup!