How to do a surfboard design with posca pens

Surfboard designers have been using Posca Pens for years to create custom and intricate designs that paintbrushes simply can’t. The waterproof artist pens made by Uni come in over 15 colours and five sizes, allowing endless combinations and creativity. When finished with an acrylic top coat, the art will be preserved and the custom design will be able to withstand the weathering of ocean life. Save money by making or buying blank boards and ensure you have a personalised board by designing it yourself.

Begin with a sand-only finished surfboard. This means that the board has been sanded past its original fibreglass stage but has not yet been given an acrylic top coat.

Use trace paper to create a sketch or draft of what you want your design to look like. This allows you to visualise spacing and design-fit on your board.

Lay the surfboard on a flat work surface. Face the side to be painted face up.

If you cannot freehand your design, create stencils or templates using the trace paper. Print shapes, words or other design elements onto trace paper using a computer. Cut out stencil or tracing elements with scissors and arrange them on the board as desired.

Begin painting your freehand or stencilled design with Posca Pens. Work with the largest elements and markers first -- pieces that require broad and filled-in strokes. Let this layer dry completely or continue while wet to create blended colour designs.

Add dimension to the design by layering colours and stencils, building upon large, colour-filled images. Let each layer dry completely to create contrast or continue while wet to create blended colour designs.

Outline designs to give elements definition. Use finer tipped Posca Pens to add thin and intricate detail to designs. Let dry completely.

Optional: Repeat the preservation and paint application steps as indicated on the reverse side of the surfboard.

Use an acrylic paint to preserve both design and durability once the Posca Pen design is completely dry. Apply a thin coat to the top of the surfboard to seal the fibreglass, preventing water absorption and design damage. Let it dry completely. Flip the surfboard over. Repeat to seal the bottom side of the board.


Different sized Posca Pens have different purposes. The 1/16-inch and 1/8-inch pens are suited for detail work, while the 3/16-inch is great for signatures. The 5/16-inch and the 5/8-inch pens are the largest and provide the most coverage for fills, great for large broad strokes. Any type of clear acrylic paint can be used to seal the design and surfboard. Brands like Krylon and 3M even provide acrylic sprays for easier application.


Remember to only apply Posca Pens to surfboards that have already been sanded and are still unsealed. Using them on unsanded fibreglass will result in pen tips denting the porous foam-like material of the board and using the pens on an already-sealed surfboard can result in design bleed.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand-only finished surfboard
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Optional:
  • Trace Paper
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Styling since 2004 and obsessed with all things fashion for as long as she can remember, Melissa has extensive designer, trend, and DIY knowledge. Writing professionally since 2008, Melissa has married her retail and communication backgrounds to establish a career in fashion copywriting, marketing, and blogging.