How To Paint a Surfboard in 7 Steps!

Opting to paint a surfboard is a great way to make your board personal to you.

Even though to paint a surfboard sounds a very simple process, there are some need to knows before you get the paint out!

We go into the paints needed for your board, along with a step by step guide on how to paint a surfboard.

What Type of Paint Do You Use On Your Surfboard?

You should always opt for Water-based acrylic paint to paint a surfboard.

These are perfect for all types of surfboards as they adhere to the fibreglass without causing harm, maintain a long-lasting shine, and provide water resistance.

Enamel-based paints should be avoided to paint a surfboard, as they can damage the board, leading to brittleness and discoloration.

How to Paint a Surfboard Step By Step

Let's begin the process of learning how to paint a surfboard and the correct measures to take to ensure your board stays protected throughout this process.

Supplies Needed To Paint a Surfboard

  1. Acetone: To remove any wax or dirt and prep the surface.
  2. Fine Sandpaper (320 Grit): For gently sanding the surfboard to promote better paint adhesion.
  3. 1 Whiteboard Marker: To outline your design on the surfboard before painting.
  4. Painter's Tape (or Masking Tape): Ideal for masking off specific areas or creating clean lines in your design.
  5. Acrylic Paints: Your choice of vibrant colors to bring your design to life.
  6. Brushes: A variety of brush sizes for applying the paint with precision.
  7. Mixing Tray: Useful for mixing and blending paint colors to create unique shades.
  8. 1 Can of Clear Coat Spray (Preferably UV Resistant): To protect your artwork and the board while enhancing its shine.
  9. Face Mask (if Using Spray Paint): For personal safety when applying spray paint, protect your lungs.
  10. Gloves: To keep your hands clean and protect them from any chemicals.
  11. Eye Protection: Safety goggles or glasses to shield your eyes from paint particles and splatter.
How To Paint a Surfboard Video

Step 1: Clean the Surfboard

Begin by ensuring your surfboard is clean and ready for painting. If it's a new board, a simple wipe down with a clean rag will suffice. However, for an older board, follow these steps for a more thorough cleaning:

  • If your surfboard is older, leave it out in the sun to melt any existing wax.
  • Use a wax comb to remove the melted wax.
  • Spray a surfboard cleaner or a cleaner specifically designed for surfboards onto a cloth and wipe down the entire board. Ensure there is no residue, dirt, or wax left on the board before moving forward.

Step 2: Prep Surfboard with Acetone (Optional)

While optional, using acetone can help ensure your paint adheres well to the board. Acetone is an affordable and readily available option. Follow these steps:

  • Apply a small amount of acetone to a paper towel.
  • Gently rub the entire board with the acetone to remove any remaining wax or dirt.

Step 3: Sand the Surfboard

Sanding the surfboard prepares the surface for better paint adhesion. Use fine-grit sandpaper (280-320 grit) or an electric sander, if available. Remember not to over-sand the board, as it can damage the fibreglass. Follow these steps:

  • Gently sand the entire board, ensuring an even surface.
  • After sanding, wipe away any remaining dust to leave a clean canvas.

Step 4: Outline Your Design

Now that your surfboard is cleaned and sanded, it's time to outline your design. Here's what you should do:

  • Use a whiteboard marker to sketch your design directly onto the board. This gives you the opportunity to correct any mistakes before you start painting.
  • If your design is intricate, consider using painter's tape to mask off specific areas or use pieces of newspaper to cover larger areas.

Step 5: Get Surfboard Painting!

This is where the creative fun begins. You can start painting your surfboard using the design you've outlined. If you're using a combination of spray paint and acrylic paint, here's how to proceed:

  • Start with the spray paint and allow it to dry before moving to the brush-on acrylic paint.
  • For detailed work, consider using paint pens.

Step 6: Let the Board Dry

After you've painted your design, be patient and allow the surfboard to dry for a full 24 hours. It should be completely dry to the touch before moving on to the clear coating step.

Step 7: Clear Coat the Board

To preserve your artwork and enhance the appearance of the board, apply a glossy or matte clear coat. Follow these steps:

  • Ensure that the painted surface is free of any dust by wiping it with a clean rag.
  • Apply 2-3 layers of your chosen protective clear coat, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next.

Congratulations! You now know how to paint a surfboard the correct way!

Tips To Paint a Surfboard

  1. Select the Right Paint: Opt for acrylic paint, known for its durability and resistance to saltwater conditions.
  2. Practice First: Before starting on your surfboard, practice your design on paper or cardboard. This will help you become more confident in your brushwork.
  3. Keep It Simple: Especially for beginners, straightforward and bold designs tend to work best.
  4. Preserve Your Art: Extend the life of your artwork by applying a clear surfboard resin or sealant. This will protect your design from UV rays, saltwater, and potential scratches.

Can You Paint a Foamie?

Yes, foam surfboards, or foamies, can also be transformed into personalised masterpieces. While the process is similar, there are some unique considerations.

When you a paint a surfboard that is made of foam, it's crucial to choose the right paint. Select acrylic paint specifically formulated for foam boards, as other types can damage the soft surface.

Handle foamies with extra care when sanding and cleaning, using fine-grit sandpaper to avoid damage. Opt for lighter paint colours, as they absorb less heat from the sun, preventing the board from becoming scorching to the touch. Just like with traditional surfboards, protect your artwork by applying a clear surfboard resin or an epoxy sealant designed for foam boards.

How To Paint a Surfboard For Decoration

When you paint a surfboard for decoration, you're not just customising your board but turning it into a canvas for self-expression potentially to be used as a piece of art for your home.

Often fish surfboards can be painted and used as a decoration in surfers households!

Surfboard Paint Pens

Surfboard paint pens are an excellent tool for creating intricate and colourful designs on your board. These pens are designed to adhere well to surfboard surfaces, making them a fantastic choice for both beginners and experienced artists.

We recommend to purchase Surf Paints to create amazing designs on your surfboard.

Step 1: Remove Wax and Prep

  • Use a sturdy wax comb to remove most of the wax. For stubborn wax or cold environments, let the sun melt the wax for 3-5 minutes or use a hair dryer.
  • This step is unnecessary for brand new surfboards.

Step 2: Final Clean-Up

  • Remove any remaining wax and visible dirt using medium-grade steel wool. Rub the surfboard until no wax or grease is visible.
  • This step is crucial for all surfboards, even new ones, to remove transportation and storage residue.

Step 3: Light Sanding

  • Lightly sand the board with a medium-grade sand block. This creates a rough surface for better paint adhesion.
  • Proper sanding is essential for long-lasting paint and prevents peeling or streaky results.
  • Wipe the sanded area clean with a paper towel or rag.

Step 4: Plan Your Design

  • Choose your design. You can replicate an image you like, outline it with a pencil, or even paint freely.
  • Surfpaints paint pens are acrylic-based and easily correctable if you make a mistake.

Step 5: Prepare the Paint Pen

  • Shake the paint pen to mix the paint.
  • Prime it by pressing down on test paper until it flows smoothly.
  • Cap the pen when not in use to prevent drying.

Step 6: Apply Clear Coat

  • Use an acrylic varnish spray paint to seal the design on your surfboard.
  • Acrylic varnish works best on surfboards and prevents scratching.
  • Avoid oil-based paints like enamel, as they can crack and yellow over time.

With these steps, you're well-prepared for your surfboard painting project, ensuring a clean surface and a lasting, vibrant design. Enjoy your creative process!

What Can I Use To Draw On My Surfboard?

To draw on your surfboard, use acrylic paint markers or Posca pens. These tools are water-resistant and safe for surfboard surfaces, allowing you to create custom designs.

What Pens Do You Use To Draw On Surfboards?

The pens you use to draw on surfboards should be specifically designed for this purpose. Surfboard paint pens, as mentioned earlier, are the ideal choice. They offer vibrant colors, excellent adhesion, and durability against the elements.

Do Posca Pens Stay On Surfboards?

Posca pens are a type of paint pen commonly used for art projects, but they may not be the best choice for surfboards. While they can work for some artistic designs, they might not withstand the conditions that a surfboard is exposed to, such as saltwater and sun exposure.

Paint a Surfboard Ideas

There are many designs out there to take inspiration from, we recommend taking a look here at a Pinterest pin with a variety of paint designs to chose from.

Now check out this video below from Surf Paints showcasing an amazing surfboard paint decoration.

@surfpaints Surfboard Design Ideas #art #artist #paint #painting #stencil #surfpaints credit @Roni Langley | Modern Artist ♬ Change My Mind - Chris Alan Lee

If your not interested in paint pens and want to decorate with spray paint, this video will be helpful to you.

How To Spray Paint a Surfboard

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Your all set to paint a surfboard! Now turn your idea into a reality! Before starting ensure you know what your surfboard is made of to ensure you have the right paint!

Tag us in your designs on Instagram using #thesurfbank we would love to see them!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What paint will stick to a surfboard?

Acrylic paint and paint markers specifically designed for surfboards work best, as they adhere well to the board's surface without causing damage.

How do you paint a surfboard at home?

First, clean the board using wax remover, then use acrylic paint and brushes or paint markers to create your design, making sure the board is dry and free from wax.

How do you add colour to a surfboard?

To add colour to a surfboard, use acrylic paint, paintbrushes, or paint markers to create your desired design or artwork.

What do I need to paint a surfboard?

You'll need acrylic paint, paintbrushes, paint markers, and surfboard wax remover to clean the board before painting.

Will spray paint stick to a surfboard?

Spray paint is not recommended for surfboards as it may not adhere properly and could damage the board's surface.

Can you paint a surfboard with enamel paint?

It's not advisable to use enamel paint on a surfboard, as it can damage the board's surface, making it brittle and discoloured. Use acrylic paint instead for a safer and more durable option.

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