Please enter login info.
Not a member? Register now! Forgot Password? Lookup!

 + Step-By-Step Guide to Deck Restoration

.: How to Paint Your Own Skateboard :.
by Matt
( or How to Counterfeit that Board you'll Never be Able to Afford )
      Every one of us has that dream board that they wish they could have in their collection. We can look day after day on Ebay or post requests for the board and never get any leads on its existence. An even worse scenario is seeing this Ark of the Covenant appear on Ebay week after week only to have it outbid at the last second or to never place a bid as the price is just out of your league.
      So what are you going to do? Are you going to continue whacking off like a sicko to images of a Vallely barnyard or are you going to do something about it? If you're lucky you can find a used one and restore it. (for info on board restoration see previous article). If you're unable to find even a used board you're screwed… or are you?
      This article is intended for those who don't care if they have the genuine article; they just want to have that precious image to hang on the wall. It is not however intended to flood the market with knock-offs and counterfeits. If you want to get into that thing you'll have to look elsewhere because I don't know anything about making shapes or silk-screening. Using the technique I'm going to describe you will NOT get a clone of your favourite board. You will, however, be able to paint a fairly good facsimile that you can add to your collection to get that board you've always wanted (sort of) but are just unable to find.
      The first step in this process is to find a good clear image of the graphic you want to reproduce. If you know somebody who has the board you want to copy, ask them nicely if you can make a photocopy of the deck. If you don't have direct access, look around the internet for the image or post requests. I've been very lucky and been sent photocopies of boards, T-shirts, and stickers to aid in my board restorations and copies. With any luck you'll find the image you want. A word to the wise though, what comes around goes around. If you're lucky enough to have somebody send you something, you should be more than willing to lend them a hand or to send an image to somebody that asks you.

      One problem people often find with photocopying a board is that the image is distorted through concave and reflections. My best advice for that is to take several copies of the image while rolling it across the concave. Taking these images together, you can align the various copies into a nice transferable image.

Original picture to work from
Enlarged Photocopied Images Enlarged Images Taped Together
      (NOTE: For the purposes of this article, I am not going to transfer an image to a board, but rather enlarge an image and transfer it to a canvas to be hung as art.)
      Once you have the image you want, the next step is to size it up to a board. Most of us don't have access to old-school boards we can just paint on for fun. My best advice is to either find an old board that's beyond recognition that you can transform into a canvas, or to buy a blank new school board to paint on. The immediate problem with new school shapes is that they tend to be around 7.5" wide… generally not big enough for the graphic you want to duplicate. To accommodate this, shrink the image down using a photocopier until it does fit on the Popsicle board. It's either this, or sacrifice parts of the graphic to be chopped off at the edges.
      If you would like to try your hand at actually painting a graphic onto a large canvas, simply blow the image up in multiple parts and tape the pages together into the composite. A hint here would be to go to an art store and buy the canvas size you want first. Canvases come in various sizes and shapes. Like anything else, there are some standard sizes and they tend to be MUCH cheaper than having to make a custom size. If you can, pick something "off the rack" and then enlarge the image to fit onto the canvas. It's MUCH cheaper doing it this way than having to find a canvas that will fit your image.
      Now that you have your image copied, re-sized and ready to go… go do it all over again. In case you screw up, you'll want to have a duplicate of the original to work with. There's nothing worse than screwing up and then having to go through the whole search process again of finding the graphic in question.
      Once you have your board or canvas, prep it for graphic transfer. For used boards, be sure to sand it down, fill any scratches with putty, and spray it with a primer. I find a light primer background is better than working with a dark background. Most canvases in art shops are pre-primed and ready to go. Just ask a sales rep if you can start painting on it right away or if it needs some kind of a prep coating.
      Taking the photocopy of the image in question, turn it over and rub coloured chalk all over the back of it. You can find coloured chalk really cheap if you look for it.(Please don't go stealing it from schools or little kids playing hopscotch.)
      Rub the chalk so that you get a solid coating of it all over the back of the image. Don't just go lightly; rub it hard to get a nice thick colouring. I suggest coloured chalk simply because you can see where you've got enough and where you've missed much easier than using white chalk. If you're working on a coloured background, be sure to use a colour of chalk that will stand out from the background. Don't be a dummy and use pink chalk on a pink board… that's just common sense.
Chalk Chalk rubbed onto back of enlarged photocopy image
      One crappy part of this technique is that tape doesn't get coated with chalk. I'd suggest taping the various pages together in areas where the graphic isn't going to be compromised. By this I mean, tape the pages together outside the areas of detail in the graphic. A quick and easy way of doing this is to tape the image together with removable tape. This is a kind of tape that you can tape pages together and then remove the tape without ripping the paper. Again, just ask a sales rep for the proper kind of scotch tape. Once you've taped the pages together, hold it up to the light so you can see where the tape is behind the graphic. If you can, use smaller pieces that will fit between lines or in places where there are no lines for the graphic to be compromised. Sometimes this can't be helped; in which case you'll just have to do your best.
      Once you've covered the back of the pages with chalk, turn it over onto the board or canvas and tape it down. For this, don't use that removable tape. Be sure it's secure and NOT going to move. If it moves you're screwed. I find a useful technique is to tape the image down, and then trace the corners or edges onto the canvas itself. If you're unlucky and the image moves, you can return it to it's original position using these traced lines as a guide.
      Now that the graphic is on the canvas/board in the position you want it, check, check, and check again that it's REALLY in the position you want it. It'll suck if you go through all of this only to find out the image is crooked or off center.
      Taking a coloured pen or pencil, begin tracing the image. This means exactly what I've just said. Just start going over all of the lines in the graphic with firm pressure. Using a coloured pen or pencil will allow you to see at a quick glance what areas you've gone over and which you haven't. If you use a black pen or pencil, you might miss an area unintentionally and that'll suck.
      Once you've gone over the graphic with a coloured pen/pencil, you might want to go over it all again with another colour just to be sure you've covered it all. Once you're sure, remove the paper. You should now have chalk on the board/canvas wherever you traced. It might be hard to see as the chalk is generally faint. At this point, begin to carefully trace over the chalk with a pencil or pen. I prefer pencil just because it's less permanent than ink (just in case I make a mistake). Ink is also hard to cover with paint so again, I'd use a pencil. While doing this, be careful your arm or hand isn't rubbing the chalk off in another area of the image.
Chalk traced onto canvas Chalk lines re-drawn with pencil onto canvas
      Once you've drawn the image onto the board, take the original and begin comparing. Even with the closest attention to detail, you may have missed a few spots. If you have, do your best to draw those missing lines in free hand. You don't have to be perfect. You wouldn't go through all this effort if you were planning on selling it after you're all done… and you wont do a good enough job that anybody is going to be fooled into thinking this is an original. Let loose and draw!… it doesn't need to be perfect.
      Now that you've got everything drawn, it's simply a matter of thinking back to your early school years and remembering the cardinal rule; "Stay within the lines". It's that simple… just start painting like you were painting in a colouring book.
      I use acrylic paint simply because it's cheaper, is water based, dries quickly, and is available in an assortment of colours. If you want an exact colour match you MIGHT be lucky but in all likelihood you'll have to settle for "close enough". If you're lucky enough to get a colour image of the original, take it with you to the art store and pick your colours to match it as closely as you can. Don't trust your memory. What you thought was orange may simply be a darker shade of yellow. I would also suggest that you not be afraid to be creative. Use whatever colours you want! It's your board so you do what you like! One way of checking these colours out first is by doing a quick small painting. This will allow you to get used to painting, experiment with your techniques, and to see what the colours you've chosen will look like together.
      In terms of technique, I'd suggest going from lighter colours to darker colours. Paint one area of colour completely before going onto another colour. Using light colours first, you can get away with going over the lines of darker colours. You'll be covering these "mistakes" with a darker colour later anyway so don't go nuts trying to stay within the lines. If you do this with a darker colour, you'll find yourself having to paint over the dark areas that went outside the boundaries of the image with white. Trust me, you don't want to be painting over that dark colour with the lighter colour. You'll need multiple coats. Just paint over it with white and you'll basically be back to square one with the original white background you started working with.
Yellow painted first Red and blue paint added All colors roughed in Finishing touches
     I'd also recommend re-drawing the lines as you go over them with paint just so you don't lose them. It would suck if you kept painting and covering those lines only to find you no longer know where the other colours go as you've covered the drawing!!
      One last tip, you probably want to stay away from painting fonts. Unless the words are a major aspect of the graphic, forget it. Straight lines are hard to paint and crooked lines spelling out "Powell Peralta" will look lame and be a dead giveaway that this was a "do it yourself" project. It may not look as authentic, but at least it won't look as lame as squiggly letters! It's up to you are the best judge of your "artistic talent".
      Hopefully these instructions have been clear and this technique will work for you as well as it has for me. Keep in mind, if you screw up, it's no big deal. You can always skate the board and scratch 'em to Hell and start over again. Remember, they're just useless wooden toys. Gonz Final Picture Gonz final with sketch and original picture
@ Show in Gallery?
Want to show off your grand project or projects here? Email us and include the following info:
  • Title of Work
  • What name to display as "by"
  • Before Image (160x450 pixels)
  • After Image (160x450 pixels)
  • A description of the process (optional). You may include additional images as well, but please format the text and images in HTML as you want it displayed. Send those images or links to them as well.
@ Got Tips?
Think you have some good restoration tricks and tips? Want to share your tales of restoration trials and tribulations with others? Well, drop us a line and let us hear about it!