Introduction: Custom Paint Your Old Snowboard!!! (for Your Valentine Perhaps)

About: I have an uncanny skill of putting things back together without using that extra unnecessary screw that the company put in there . I really enjoy this website, and have been a big fan for a while now.

My girlfriend really wanted me to teach her to snowboard this season, so I decided that if she wanted to try, she might as well have some good looking gear. Since a brand new board/boots/bindings would be a bit out of my league, I figured one of my old boards would fit her perfectly, and I could make it look new this is how I did it. It's not perfect, but I must say I'm happy with how it turned out. Most importantly, my girlfriend LOVED it! She got it a bit early for Valentines day, but hey, ya gotta go when the snow falls.

I couldn't find any solid, picture-filled write-ups on the topic, so I figured I'd record my trials. I'm sure there's some experienced and opinionated painters out there. Hit up the comments. I'd love to here any pointers you may have learned along the way.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I used cheap and readily available materials for this project. From what I heard, the harsh winter elements would be the eventual ruin of the even best paint and painting. If the materials I chose are used correctly, I'm sure they can work great....I think I came pretty close.

Wants and Needs:
Old Snowboard (or an ugly new one)
A Design Idea!
Time....enough for complete drying
Well Ventilated Area
Lots of Masking Tape
Goggles and Mask -if you're painting inside you should use a respirator. I should have had one for this project.
Scotchbrite Pad
Sand paper in various grits
Dupli-Color Prep Wipe
Dupli-Color Black Primer
Dupli-Color Black Paint
Contact Paper (If you're stenciling)
Compass and Compass Cutter
CD's - guide for cutting circles
Rustoleum Florescent Pink
Rustoleum Sugarplum
Razor Blades

Step 2: ( )( )( )( )( )( )The Design( )( )( )( )( )( )

There are many ways you could paint the board. If you look through flickr you can find some hand painted and airbrushed varieties. Try what you know, or learn something new. I decided on the latter. I wanted to some sort of geometric pattern. I thought it might be easier, since this was my first try at a stencil this big (though it wasn't really that easy).

I used Photoshop to get my idea set and since it was a pattern, get some of my measurements down. I made a template in the shape of a snowboard that I could use to visualize different ideas. Its basically a white layer with a hole the shape and relative size of a snowboard that I could put over the graphic layers. Simple but effective. I included this file (photoshop elements 4) below if you want to try it yourself.

I decided on a sort of "modern 60's circles" design I found online (pic1). I decided to make the circles the same size as CD's, since I would be able to use them to help draw the circles on the board or cut them into the stencil. I knew that they were 12cm in diameter and my snowboard was 143cm long, so I just stretched the white layer out so it showed about 12 circles. This gives a pretty good idea of what it'll look like.
When trying to do anything with a pattern, its always nice to have a solid template, like a CD, to go off of.

Step 3: Prep-Work 1 - Knicks and Cuts

Since the board I was using was well loved, I had some kicks and splits I needed to fix before I did anything. The board had de-laminated on the nose of the board. Unfortunately I don't have any before picture to show, but the tip of the board had hit the ground, and snow (and dirt!?!) had forced its way in between the layers of the board.

-First you need to clean the dirt and fragments of the broken board out of the crack. I did this with rubbing alcohol, since it dries fast. I filled up a squirt bottle with rubbing alcohol and shot it in between the layers. With the board upside down, the alcohol could run out,hopefully with the dirt in tow. It seemed to work well.

-After the alcohol had evaporated, I spread open the crevice* as much as possible and filled it up with epoxy.

-Then I clamped it down with a scrap board on the top and base of the snowboard (pic2). Try not to get any of the epoxy on the top of bottom of the snowboard, or you'll glue the clamp boards to it. The extra epoxy will squeeze out, but don't worry it can filed/sanded off afterwards.

*after reading this I couldn't stop giggling, so I had to go back and remove the word crack a few times. Don't epoxy your crack, kids.

Step 4: Prep-Work 2 - So Fresh and So Clean

Before you can paint your snowboard (or anything) you have to make sure the surface is clean and will hold on to that paint.
The general concept is to sand the board, starting first with a rough grit, working down to a fine grit so the surface can be as smooth as possible. One consideration to make if you are going to try this, is what the surface of your snowboard is like. Some boards, like mine, have a very thin layer of color laminate (almost like Formica) that has a fiberglass-like layer just below. As in my case, you don't want to sand into this layer, so my sanding was mostly just with fine paper. Other boards have a much thicker gel-coat type finish, and I'm not sure what the best results would be. My recommendation would be to test-sand one area of the board first and see how it looks.
After sanding it'll be covered in dust. I wiped it all down first with a damp washcloth and after it dried with a rag with rubbing alcohol. I decided to try a prep-wipe (pic2) that the manufacture of the primer made. It seemed to work well , as the primer is still holdin on.

After this step rubber gloves might be a good idea to keep your greasy fingerprints off the board.

Step 5: Prep-Work 3 - Prepainting Setup

Now that the board is all smooth and clean, its time to start painting. To start need a place to paint. Since its cold in Michigan (though not enough to snow at the time of writing this), I did my painting inside.

-To protect my board from dust and the rest of my basement from aerosolized paint dust, I made a little paint booth. It consisted of two plastic painting tarps that stapled to the ceiling to make a little room. It worked pretty well and kept the dust off my board. The floor was also coated with old newspaper.

-I was also told before that if you spray a few squirts of water into the air with a fine misting spray bottle inside the paint booth, it'll knock down any of the dust in the air. Not sure if it really worked, but I had almost no problems with dust, so hey why not. Just make sure you don't leave the board in there if you do this. Keep the board dry.

-I didn't want to get paint on the bottom of the board or on the edges, so I masked them off with a mix of masking tape and newspaper. (pic2)

-I covered the binding inserts with the old binding screws. This did block a bit of the coverage around the holes, so you may want to plug them up with something else instead.

Step 6: Stencil and Paint: Step 1 - Prime-Time

Now its really time to start painting.

Nice easy smooth sprays. I started off the end of the board, and then sprayed back and forth tip to tail, tail to tip.....spraying past the ends each time to make sure I didn't stop in one place.

Primer then Black. Just follow the directions on the back as far as time in between.

3 coats primer and a whole (little 5oz can) of black.

Step 7: Overview of Stenciling and Painting

I'll go though it step by step with real pictures in the next few pages.
Come back to this step when you're done reading and it'll make more sense.

Basic Steps:
Paint base coat color (Black in my case, Gray for the little movie below)
Cover whole board with contact paper
Cut design
Peel parts you want painted Pink
Paint Pink!
Cover what you painted pink
Peel what you want purple
Paint Purple
Peel off all the rest of the contact paper, which has the base coat left underneath

Step 8: Stencil and Paint: Step 1 - Making Contact

After the black paint was completely dry (a few days in my warm dry boiler room). I began the stenciling.

-First step for me was to cover the entire top surface of the board with contact paper. I rolled it on and made sure to leave out any air bubbles.

-Since my design was a geometric pattern, I needed to make some general landmarks to go off of. I drew a line that went down the center of the board. I used a flexible meter stick, a compass and some high school geometry. After using all this, and still being crooked... I just used my eye's best judgment and drew my straightest line down the middle. It's harder than it sounds. Remember, none of the edges are straight.

-For my design, lines of circles were cut into the contact paper with a cutting compass, and their intersections were peeled off and painted. I used the center line I drew and started making the circles down the middle and worked off from there.

-For the edges of the board, where I couldn't use the compass, I used the CD's as guides.

-Since there was more painting to go over the top of this i didn't worry about the little dent the compass made in the middle of the circle. You can't see it in the final product.

Step 9: Stencil and Paint: Step 2 - PEELPINKPAINT

-First off, the Pink! paint.... (pic6)... This Rustoleum was the only pink spray paint that I could find (they didn't make pink auto paint for some reason). It ended up working ok in the end, but it was incredibly thin. I used the entire can, and it still wasn't 100% covered. Also, foolishly, due to time constrains and general forgetfulness, I didn't spray a white base coat first. For florescent pink or other lighter colored paints (especially if they turn out to be thin) a base coat of white or silver first is really beneficial. Note it!

-First all the intersections that were destined to be pink were peeled off (I believe the shape that is peeled off is called an Asteroid...). Do this slowly, there was one area where the black coat peeled off the primer(pic2). Lucky for me it was black underneath, so it's not noticeable.

-I covered up the area that was going to later be painted purple with masking tape(pic3). I wanted to make sure the pink paint wouldn't seep into the cuts. I don't think it was necessary, but better safe....

-Spray and dry

*A warning if you use this or a similar thin paint; it made a TON of paint dust!! (see footnote, pic5) Even though I was in my "booth" it got everywhere. It was just dust and it cleaned up with a damp rag, but it was still a mess.

Step 10: Stencil and Paint: Step 3 -PEELPURPLEPAINT

-Basically the same process as the pink. The part that was painted pink needs to be covered up before the next color is sprayed though. I just used strips of newspaper and masking tape. (pic2)

-The Purple paint was much thicker and only needed two coats. It went on great, but with this type of paint(Rustoleum - American Accents pic 4), make sure you leave yourself enough time for drying before the next step. I was rushed and I suffered consequences later on. (Step 12)

-Looks pretty hot with just the stripes! (pic3)

Step 11: Stencil and Paint: Step 4 -PEELPEELPEEL

-Peel the rest off......for the next two hours.
-Giggle with joy

Step 12: Stencil and Paint: Step 5 - DRYCLEARDRY

Spray'll probably know what to do at this point. This time i plugged up the inserts with the tips of q-tips. It worked fine. There were a few little cotton fibers stuck around the edges, but they're covered by the binding anyway, so no problem.

I sprayed one entire can of clear. This dried for about 4-5 days before the board was used. I sprayed another can after the first ride just to protect it as much as possible. The longer you let it dry the better it'll be!

Important things to note:
This stuff is much worse than the rest as far as smell. Get a respirator (like $25) with some organic vapor filters. Seriously, two cans of this stuff is brain melting.

Make sure that everything that you're spraying over is completely dry. I left the purple to dry for two days, and it appearantly needed more time. It crinkled up after spraying the clear....D'OH (pic3)

Very disappointing, but it seems to be holding up alright still.
So give it as much time to dry as you possible can!!

Step 13: Ride It!.....or Give It to Someone to Ride!

Overall this was a great project! I'm very happy with how it looks....and it's very well-loved.

Step 14: Will It Last???

Who knows? Here's some pics from two days on the hill. One in pouring rain and one at 8F. It really seems the be holding up well. The edges of any board are going to get banged up, so some chipping on the edges isn't surprising, but so far no big chunks taken out.
Note: These chips are from rubbing another board with sharp metal edges, not just falling off my itself.

Overall it was worth the $50 that it cost for materials. The only reasonably cheap upgrades I can think of would be better paint. Consistent type of paints all the way through would help I'm sure.

Good Luck if you try it, and again, drop some knowledge in the comments.

Good Basic Reference Sites

Step 15: GET RIPPED OFF!!!

Ok, not really. If I think someone using MY pattern of overlapping circles is a thief, then I owe tons of designers from the 1960's some credit. The design isn't that unique, I think my grandmother's bathroom was wallpapered in a similar theme.
But annnnnyway....I happened to notice that K2 Snowboards happened to use a similar motif in their 07/08 women's snowboard models. Not to say they stole my idea (they didn't) but look at the facts.....girls snowboard....same design....sames!?......probably.
K2 makes some nice boards....but I had way more fun making mine!!

...but hey, if they ever want to repay me for the freelance design inspiration, I'm here.

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