How to Print Graphics on a Skateboard

By Contributing Writer

Skateboarding is a culture all its own. Skateboarders are serious not only about their riding and stunts, but also about their decks. There are different types of boards that allow for different tricks, and numerous designs that reflect a skater's own personal style. You may want to design a custom graphic for your board to show your artistry. It can cost a lot to have a skateboard manufacturing company print graphics on your deck; the alternative is to print it on your own, or at least find a place that will allow you to use their machines.

Create your own design in a sketchbook or on a computer. If you prefer the freedom of drawing by hand, look for a graphic designer who can then transfer your design into a design program like Photoshop, as this allows for greater customization of styles and colors.

Digitally print on a film that will allow the design to be transferred to the deck. There are printers that can print on various films, including vinyl and veneer. Decide on your design and print it on the film to be attached to the board in the next step.

Coat the deck with the color of your choice. You may want to color the board in a way that will enhance the design. This is where your mind can run free. Color the various areas of the board to your liking before applying the graphics; it will be more difficult once they are glued on to the board.

Apply the design by hand through heat transfer. First treat the deck with glue that is formulated for skateboards. Then apply the graphic with a heat machine that will allow the film to adhere effectively on the deck. This heat machine will allow the film to press on the deck, giving you a cleaner finish.

Finish the process by coating the board with a clear-coat spray. This will protect the image, and will serve as a lamination for your board. You will be using the board for tricks and stunts, so you want to protect your design from scratches by giving it a smooth finish with clear spray.

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