How to Put Graphics on Skateboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Putting graphics on your skateboard deck will make your board a little more exciting and customised. You can put graphics on a skateboard using several different methods, from decals that you apply yourself or pieces of coloured grip tape you cut yourself. There are also websites that let you design your deck and graphics which you arrange yourself, or you can do it yourself. You can paint your board using templates, one of the better ways to stylise your deck. There are a few things you should know when you use painted graphics and templates.

Sand down your deck to remove any old graphics, using a high-grit sheet of sand paper and power sander.

Draw your graphics on a piece of paper. Make them as detailed or as simple as you like. Then make several copies of the drawing using a photo copier. Line them all up, and punch a hole in each corner. Then trace this hole in the corner of your master templates on poster board.

Cut out each section of the drawing that has a different colour, including all the black lines you want to create. Place all the black lines, or as many as you fit, on one template. Keep in mind that you need to fit these on your master template, so don't cut out full shapes. The cutout lines have to be completely surrounded by paper to work properly.

Attach each separate colour onto the poster board master template or other sturdy paper template. Mark off the hole punch ares and line up each one. If you have one-sided plastic velum that sticks and is low-tack, use that, as it makes a strong template. Otherwise, just cut out the templates on the best paper you have.

Apply the first template to your board. It is best to paint all the black lines first, so you can line up the colours easier. Stick the template to the deck using double-sided tape or regular masking tape. Wrap the template tight to the board. Secure all the edges of the template to the board so they do not move. Then lay the deck over newspaper, flat on the ground.

Spray paint the colour you want inside the template using fast, even swipes of the spray can. You can also use regular paint and a brush. Apply the paint in even strokes over the template, careful not to spread the paint under the edges.

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until you have created the entire image. If you want, after the final colour is on the board, reapply the black template, and redo your black lines. This will define your drawing and cover up any smudging or run over on your colour areas.


Keep your template tight to the board when you spray paint. If you have trouble lining up the templates, use more hole punches, or trace marks on your board.

Things You'll Need

  • Poster board or paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Pencil or pen
  • Spray paint
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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.