My Girl's birthday is coming up so I needed to find something special to try and top her present to me a few months ago. She’s shown interest in learning to skate so I decided to build a custom old school skateboard for her to ride or use as decoration.
Step 1: Design
I wanted to create a board custom fitting to her style with a clean and simple design that would most importantly be safe and practical for her to cruise around on. The design I came up with called for a small old school style deck painted hot pink, with the shapes of the Hawaiian Islands silhouetted through the grip tape and a vinyl skin/wrap of a Hawaiian sunset for the underside graphic. I wanted light blue wheels and blacked-out everything else to try and get a clean sleek look.
(Photo cred. goes to the Birthday girl during our last hike to Kanea Point with an iPhone 5 panoramic)
Step 2: Acquire Components
After some intense searching I found the perfect old school 24.5" blank maple deck on eBay and ordered it pronto. I uploaded the panorama image to indigrip.com where I sized and ordered the skin/wrap for the underside graphic. When the deck arrived in the mail I headed straight to my favorite skate shop and had it fitted with the appropriate risers, trucks and wheels specific to the size and shape of the deck. I also grabbed grip tape, bearings and hardware then proceeded home to get to work.
Step 3: Paint Deck
First I used a medium 80 grit sand paper to remove the ugly yellow stain from the deck, then a finer 150 grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for paint. After wiping the deck with water I was ready to begin. In a well-ventilated area, on a large piece of cardboard, I used Krylon two-in-one paint and primer to apply 3 light and even coats across the deck roughly 20 minutes apart. About an hour later I flipped the deck and repeated same process on the underside. After waiting 24 hours for the paint to dry completely I sanded the deck again with ultra-fine 2000 grit automotive sandpaper and applied 2 medium coats of clear coat for an extra glossy shine.
Step 4: Griptape
Now that I have a pink deck it’s time to apply my griptape. I printed out a stencil image of the Hawaiian Islands I found online and cut them out carefully with a Xacto knife. Then I used a pen and my stencil to trace the Islands onto the underside of the griptape and used the Xacto knife again to cut them out. After wiping the top of the deck clean I peeled the backing off of the griptape, aligned the cut-outs then applied it carefully to the board. Using a razor blade I cut off all the excess material then pressed the edges down to make sure they set well and would not peel back.
Step 5: Skin/Wrap
Application of the vinyl sheet to the deck is very similar to that of the grip tape, however extra attention must be given not to create any wrinkles or air bubbles because they are impossible to get out. I used a rubber squeegee to assist me during this process to evenly apply the wrap in one long smooth motion across the entire underside of the deck. Again I carefully cut off the excess material with a razor blade and wallah my deck was complete!
Step 6: Assembly
I used a tiny Philips head screwdriver to carefully poke through the vinyl underside and grip tape where the mounting holes were located to help guide the hardware for the trucks through the deck. After attaching the trucks, I popped the bearings into the wheels then slid them onto the axles and secured them with the axle nuts. Now my board was complete and it was time to admire my work.
Step 7: Conclusion
Overall I was very happy with the way my setup turned out, hopefully she likes it too. Design possibilities for this type of thing are endless, so use your imaginations, get your hands dirty and see what you can come up with. Maybe one day you'll see a copy of my Kaena Kruiser at your local skate shop, but don't hold your breath.
Step 8: Parts & Price List
Deck – 24.5” (Blank) Maple Old School “Yellow Fever” - $17
Graphic – 9” x 33” (Custom) “Indigrip.com” - $29
Trucks – Independent 109mm (Black) “Hanger T Special Edition Tommy Guerrero” - $60
Wheels – Penny 59mm 78a (Cyan Blue) “Cruiser Wheels” - $35
Grip Tape – 9” x 33” Mob (Black) - $10
Risers – 1/8” Gel (Black) - $8
Bearings – Abec 7 Independent (Black) “7’s” - $18
Bushings – 100du Thunder (Black) - $10
Hardware – Independent (Black) - $3
Axle Nuts – (Black) - $3