Introduction: How to Make a Skateboard Stencil

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…

As one of my interests is to continue expanding on art techniques and skills, I wanted to try my hand at spray paint art and stenciling. With this method, you can stencil on almost anything - Canvas, wood, tables, skateboards, walls, etc! What i can show you is how to create a stencil and use it on something oddly shaped, such as a skateboard. How about we give it a go?


- A computer with Photoshop

- old Skateboard

-orbital sander

- Work bench (optional)

- reference picture

-cutting mat

-white spray paint

- Black Spray paint

-light adhesive spray

- 3 different shades of paint such as light blue, medium blue, and dark blue

- pile of heavy items such as rocks, lug nuts, washers, etc.. (these are to hold down your stencils)

-exacto knife with several blades

- posterboard or comic cardboard

Step 1: Skateboard

  • First, you will need a skateboard. I had an old one that still worked really well except the picture was all scratched off. (Pic 1)

  • next, you want to remove the trucks and wheels. (pic 2). You will have to decide if you want to use this skateboard as a showpiece to hang on your wall once completed or if you want to ride it again after it's sprayed.

  • If you are lucky enough to have a work bench with clamps, this works quite well for the sanding portion. Clamp your board in. (pic 3 + 4).. If you don't have a bench, you can probably just clamp the board onto a work station using a C clamp.

  • Using an orbital sander, start sanding off the old paint. Make sure to get it as smooth as possible and never leave the sander in one place. Always keep it moving. (pic 5 and Pic 6)

  • Your board should be nice and clean and bare. (pic 7)

Step 2: Reference Picture and Photoshop

  • Now to get your reference picture. Since i am stenciling on a skateboard, it is helpful to find a picture that is long and vertical. I am using a picture of my handsome pitbull dog, Vince (pic 1)
  • There are a number of tutorials online on how to create layers in photoshop. Basically it involves taking your picture, stripping of it's color, and basically turning it into several black and white pictures with manipulation of it's shadows. I personally like Simply Sara Art and her tutorial.
  • For my stencil, i had to first measure the length and width of the board.
  • In following Sara's tutorial, she uses 5 layers/5 stencils. Since it's a long canvas and based on the size of the skateboard, i split my stencils in half, printed them on regular paper, and them taped them together (pic 2-5)
  • Next, i took my comic cardboard an i taped them together so they created long boards.

Step 3: Sticking and Cutting Your Stencils

  • Now that you have your paper stencils and your comic cardboard/ poster board prepped, Take your light adhesive spray and spray directly onto the cardboard. then line up your paper stencil and stick them to the board.

  • Now here is the grueling painful part. Take your exacto knife and your cutting mat and cut ALL of the black out of EACH stencil. your first stencil is your base layer and that is just a big blob.. i think the most tedious layer to cut out is the 3rd and 4th layer. You will go through several exacto blades during this time. (pic 1 + pic 2 are examples)

  • Once all the black is cut out of the stencil, you can peel off the paper from the top of the cardboard/ poster board.
  • Here are the stencils of all 5 of my layers (pic 3)... pic 4 is a closer picture of a few of them.

Step 4: Spray Painting

  • Line up your stencil on your board. Once you got it to where you want it, i take a few heavy objects - rocks, washers, lug nuts, etc- and lay them miscellaneously on the stencil to weight it down.
  • I grab a long skinny wire (you can use your exacto if you want). and i hold down the really flimsy pieces while i spray the entire thing.
  • I immediately take off the stencil and then let the board dry for a good 20 minutes, depending on the temperature outside. It is definitely not advisable to spray paint when it is cold or wet, as it will take forever for the paint to dry.
  • Work your way though all your colors and go lightest to darkest, white being first and black being last.

Step 5: Finish

That should be it!

A few things to consider:

  • spray with a clear top coat to give it some added protection
  • If you are going to use it as a functional skateboard, re-install your wheels AFTER you spray with the clear top coat.
  • You can experiment with different color combinations, but I personally am a fan or the light to dark method.
  • If you do want to use this as an actual skateboard, know that the picture will get scratched in due time. But if you have your stencils in good quality, you can redo the whole process again.

Added to this tutorial are a few other examples of what you can do with stencils. Enjoy!

Thanks for checking it out and more pictures of my all current art projects through my facebook, instagram, and tumblr.