Introduction: How to Make a Custom Printed Vinyl Skateboard
Add your own custom art to a blank skateboard deck and stand out with a board you can't get anywhere else!
Don't want a custom deck? Stick around and learn how to assemble a skateboard!
Step 1: Video Tutorial
Watch this video instead of the written tutorial, or use it to see the steps performed while following along!
Step 2: Materials and Tools
Printed Vinyl: Check your local sign shop to see if they can print on to vinyl. You could also check with any companies that do vehicle graphics/wraps. Printed, laminated vinyl the size in the video should run you about $40. The deck I used was 7.5" wide, but the normal deck size is 8". Give yourself an inch of bleed room in your design. I attached a template for you to use.
I haven't used them, but FedEx sells vinyl if you wanted to order online.
Make your own soft squeegee with an old gift card and soft Velcro, or buy one here.
Step 3: Applying the Vinyl
Placing the Vinyl:
Lay the vinyl over the board and adjust your design by feeling out the edges on the left and right side. Next, feel for the top and bottom making sure the design is in the right place. Secure the vinyl with a piece of masking tape down the middle.
Lay the Vinyl:
Pull back one side of the vinyl making sure it doesn't crease. Remove the backing and cut it off with scissors. Pull the vinyl taught and squeegee down the center, moving towards the end. Then, starting from the middle moving out, squeegee the top and bottom edges.
If you have any problems with air bubbles, don't worry. Take your Exacto knife, or something sharp and poke tiny holes in the bubble and push the air out.
Now that one side is applied, we can remove the masking tape. Pull up the vinyl on the unapplied side and remove the backing about half way. Pull the vinyl taught and squeegee down the center until you reach the backing. Now remove the rest of the backing and continue squeegeeing down the center towards the edge. Just like the other side, apply the top and bottom by starting from the center and moving out.
Trim the Vinyl:
With your Exacto knife, trim the excess vinyl by angling it at 45 degrees and guiding it along the board with your finger. Unless you're an expert, the edge isn't going to turn out perfect, so don't let it bother you. The edge will get beat up when you start skating anyways!
Step 4: Applying the Grip Tape
Laying the Grip Tape:
Pull off the entire back of the grip tape and pull it taught. With your fingers, feel for the lips on the left and right side of the board. Tack the grip tape on to those lips and push down onto the middle with both hands. Work your way from the center to the outside, tamping down the tape. If you have any problems with air bubbles, use the same technique we used on the vinyl.
Scoring the Grip Tape:
With the metal piece in our skate tool, score the edge of the board by scraping the grip tape. When that's finished, pull up the grip tape a little bit on the edges of the board to make it easier to cut.
Cutting the Grip Tape:
With your Exacto knife, cut a line from the edge towards the board. Then work your way around the board trimming the grip tape the same way we did the vinyl.
Sanding the Edge:
With one of the scrap pieces of grip tape, sand the edge of the tape applied to the board. This will stop it from pulling up.
Step 5: Attaching the Trucks
Take one of the screws and push it through the grip tape side. Place the truck over top of it and hold it in place by threading a nut onto the screw. Do this for the other 3 holes and tighten them using the skate tool and screwdriver.
Repeat this for the other truck.
Step 6: Attaching the Wheels
Bearings usually have a shield on them. Some have shields on both sides, some have it on one. If yours have them on both sides, don't worry about the orientation.
Place 2 bearings onto an axle, shield side down. Take a wheel and place it onto the axle. Push down with some force so that the top bearing gets stuck in the wheel. Flip the wheel over and do the same for the other side. Take the wheel off the axle and place a washer onto the axle. Put the wheel back on and secure it with a washer and nut. Use the skate tool to tighten the nut.
Make sure that you keep the wheel loose enough that it can spin freely. You want to ride fast don't you?!
Repeat this for the other 3 wheels and the board is done!
Step 7: Ride!
Get outside and test it!