Dude! Laser cutters rule. Just ask anyone that's ever been to a Tech Shop. You can easily etch and/or cut many materials with the laser cutter. I am only going to cut in a small area... etching wouldn't really be effective for several reasons on this project, especially since we are going to cut from the backside of the material. I made this at Tech Shop (Pittsburgh).
Laser cutter (or Tech Shop membership)
Stock sheets of skate board grip tape
Vector based graphics program (I prefer Adobe Illustrator, but I will use Corel Draw for this project)
Job Control software (or whatever software that is used by the laser cutter you have access to)
Manual laser focusing device
Step 1: How to customize skateboard grip tape (laser cutter)
Create the art/design of your choice in the vector based graphic software. To cut using Corel Draw you want to convert your outlines to "hairline" thickness. Tech Shop’s trotec laser is set up to recognize the color red as a cut command, so we will also make sure to convert our outlines to red at this time. For the skateboard grip tape we will be cutting from behind, so you are going to want to reverse or put your design in “mirror” mode.
For this project I used a stencil style font and typed "Plankeye" since I was making these for my buddy's shop, Plankeye Board Shop. As a design tip, you want to make sure what your cutting is going to look right. Example: the inside section of an “O” is going to fall out if you don’t design it in a way that allow the inside section to connect to the remaining material.