The biggest challenge of putting graphics on skateboards is to design them without ruining their function. You sure can put any graphics that you’d like to put on the bottom and top deck. The problem however is that some ways for applying graphics on wood can be damaging for the skateboard’s function. But don’t worry. There are a number of methods used to apply graphics on skateboards like the ones enumerated below:
- Screen printing and lamination. Designed bottom decks of skateboards are done during the manufacturing process. Skateboards are made up of multiple layers of woods. The last layer is printed using the same screen printing method for t-shirts. The design is laminated many times for protection and retaining the skateboard’s gripping. DIY fans can replicate this. Remove the lamination on the bottom deck. Sketch and print the graphics design. Spray it on with clear coat, which will serve as a good lamination. You might need to spray the clear coat for two or three times more to ensure lasting protection.
- Heat press. Use this technique if you want to design the skateboard graphic using a computer. Send the design to a company that is using heat press for printing mugs, shirts, plates, and other materials. The digital design will be transferred to a film, which is specifically made to follow the skateboard’s unique contour. The film is then transferred on the bottom deck. Laminate the design.
- Cut outs from grip tapes. In the past, grip tape was only available in black. Today, grip tapes can be found in varying colors—from the demure pastels to the wild neon colors. Use the variety of colors to your advantage by making graphic design on skateboard using different colors of grip tapes. The only problem with this is that you can only use solid colors. Just play with the colors and cut out the designs. Put the cut out grip tapes together to cover the top deck. These pieces will still serve similar to a whole grip tape, only with a more interesting design.
- Clear grip tape covered design. If there are colorful grip tapes, there is also a clear grip tape. Using this, you can design the top deck similar to how the bottom deck is designed. The only difference is that instead of laminating the design with clear coat, you’ll protect the design with a clear grip tape. To do this, remove the old grip tape from the skateboard. Clean the top deck until it is okay for putting the graphic design. Print your design using wood-compatible paint or ink. Stickers are also okay as long as they won’t affect adhesion of the grip tape. Cover the design with a clear grip tape. The design will have reduced saturation because of white coverage from the grip tape. So if you want the design to stand out, you should make it more colorful than it should be.
Putting graphics on a skateboard is now easier with ideas mentioned above. But do not be limited to what were enumerated here. Think out of the box and conceptualize your own method. Just remember that any method will do as long as it will not affect the skateboard’s function for performing tricks.