Introduction: How to Make a Custom Grip Tape Template for Your Board
This is a tutorial to create a template enabling you to print custom grip tape for any board. Your template will be accurately scaled to the size of the printed sheet. If your board is electric, there's a chance there's already been a template made for your model.Go to this page's sister Instructable.
These templates use an Adobe Photoshop file, but can also be edited in Gimp, a free and open source photo editor. For more info and where to download Gimp, check Step 3. These templates are intended to be used with Splattergoat's custom grip tape, although as long as the grip sheet is the same size, any manufacturer should work.
Made by Reddit user u/lightswitchgirl28. I do not work for SplatterGoat.
If you have questions for them, contact them directly at: https://splattergoat.com/pages/contact-us. Additionally, if these instructions have gone out of date please contact me! To see more of what's going on in the custom grip community, check out this guide's corresponding Reddit post.
Step 1: Measure Your Deck
Creating a template is actually relatively simple. They are simply an accurately sized .psd file containing the outline of each board; you'll be creating the outline you’ll use as a guide from scratch. To do this, we first need to know the length of your deck.
It’s often easier and more accurate to simply find your deck length via your manufacture’s website. If you cannot, simply measure your deck with a tape measure.
Step 2: Pick Your Template
Splattergoat offers two skateboard sheet sizes - 9in x 33, and 11in x 44. Select the size appropriate to your deck, then download the correspondingly named .psd.
Step 3: Using Gimp Instead of Photoshop
The instructions in this Instructable are designed for Photoshop. If you are using Photoshop, you can skip this step.
Gimp is an open source photo editor that has the ability to open .psd files. It’s pretty straight forward, but it does divulge from the above directions in a few minor ways. Gimp is available for free download here: https://www.gimp.org/downloads/
Opening PSD’s and Other Images
When opening the template in Gimp, you may be asked to convert the color space to sRGB. Since the template is monochromatic and will be removed anyway, you can click ‘Convert’.
Disabling the ‘DISABLE ME’ Layer
I’ve found that on occasion the ‘eye’ icon to the left of the ‘DISABLE ME’ layer is unresponsive. If this is the case, you can simply delete the ‘DISABLE ME’ layer instead.
Saving & Exporting
While it’s recommended that you save your .psd file in case you want to change and reprint in the future, you’ll need to export your design as a JPEG to upload. To do so, go to ‘File>Export As’. Click to expand the section labeled ‘Select File Type (By Extension)’. Select JPEG and export in full quality.
Step 4: Obtain a Photograph of Your Board
In order to create the template, you’ll need a photo that is a bird’s eye view of your deck. As with measuring, it’s often easier and more accurate to simply find a straight on, undistorted bird’s eye view of you deck via your manufacture’s website. It’s extremely important that the photo is taken directly above the center of the deck and is undistorted by angle. Professional product photos often achieve this.
If you are unable to obtain a photo of your deck online, you’ll have to take one yourself. Hold your camera as high as possible directly over the center of your deck. Don’t worry if your deck does not fill the entire frame side to side; the priority is to be far enough away from the deck as to eliminate distortion many wide angle smartphone cameras create at short distances.
Step 5: Crop Your Photo
Before sending the reference photo to your computer, crop it to each end of the board exactly.
Step 6: Import Your Photo
Copy the image to your computer, then drop your image into the template you downloaded earlier. Then, align it to the left side of the canvas. In Gimp, use the Move Tool (M).
Step 7: Scaling Your Photo
Next, grab the right side handle of your image and start pulling it to the right. As the image gets bigger, extend it to the real life length of your board using the ruler. In Gimp, this can be achieved by switching between the Move (M) and Scale (⇧S) tools. As you expand, the left end of the image may shift from zero on the ruler; ensure you have an accurate measurement before moving forward.
Step 8: Center Your Photo and Lower the Opacity
Now that your board is scaled accurately, move the image to be centered. Then, lower the opacity of your reference photo so that it isn’t too distracting.
Step 9: Designing Your Grip
Now that you’ve scaled and lowered the opacity of your photo, the template should be a relatively accurate reference to the end product. Create your design in a new layer on top of the shape of your deck. Be sure to use a new layer (⇧⌘M), as you’ll be removing the reference photo and measuring guide layer when you’re finished. You can toggle the visibility of your reference photo and the measuring guide as you work by clicking the ‘eye’ icon to the left of the layer, or by toggling the opacity.
Let unimportant parts of your design spill off the edges so you’ll have breathing room in the final product. It’s recommended all text/essential graphics stay within a ~1/2 inch ‘safe area’ around the edge of the deck.
Step 10: Disabling Unused Layers
Now that your design is finished, disable the layer titled ‘DISABLE ME’ by clicking the ‘eye’ icon to the left of the layer. Disable your reference photo as well; you will now be left with only the design itself, all references to the outline of the deck should now be gone.
Note the ‘REFERENCE TIC’ layer. These are guides intended to be printed to help you find the exact center of the sheet while applying. If your design or deck infringes on them, simply disable the layer.
Step 11: Save & Export
You’re now ready to export, yay!
Navigate to 'File>Save As'
Under ‘Format’, select JPEG. Save in full quality.
Keep your .psd around for future use or reprints; your JPEG is not editable after the fact.
Step 12: Upload to Manufacturer
All of these templates currently use Splattergoat's custom grip tape. While Splattergoat is recommended, any manufacturer will do as long as their grip tape is 11x44 or 9x33 inches.
Now, read Splattergoat’s design guide, specifically step five: https://splattergoat.com/pages/how-to-upload-a-design-software-file
Once you have a good understanding of how it works, navigate to the corresponding product page:
Upload your template and span it to fill the work area in the browser. Note that pixilation in the work area is normal.
You can now order your grip tape.
Step 13: Applying Your New Grip
Remove your old grip tape with a hairdryer; be sure your deck is clean. Then, watch Rat Vision's application Tutorial.
Step 14: Share Your New Template With the Community
Now that you've made a template for your board, share it with others so they can use it too! To do this, visit the corresponding Reddit post to this Instructable.
These templates are made by the community, for the community. Spread the love!