How To: Paint a Surfboard with Paint Pens

Quite a few people have emailed me asking about how to add their own artwork to Surfboards, so here’s a quick guide for ya! Have fun and email me your work please or tag me in your pics ♯martyrobertson



Things you’ll need:

A Surfboard

Newspaper/Rags to cover floor & clean board

Water-based paint pens (I use Boardstix)



Sandpaper (300 grit)

Acrylic clear coat spray


    • 1

      Use a wax comb to remove any wax from the surfboard and prepare it for painting. If you are having a new board shaped, make sure the shaper doesn’t add a gloss finish over the final layer of glass. You want the surface to be matte so the paint will stick to it.

    • 2

      Pour some naptha (you can get at your local hardwear store) onto an old rag and wipe it over the board to remove any residue from the wax.

    • 3

      Pour some acetone onto a rag and wipe it over the surface to get rid of the naptha and any excess residue. Acetone is like nail polish remover and it cleans off all the gunk and dries the surface.

    • 4

      Dip a sheet of 300-grit sandpaper in water and lightly sand your board. Wipe off the surface with a clean rag.

    • 5

      Sketch out your design with pencil on the surfboard. Erase parts you don’t like using a rag soaked in acetone.

    • 6

      Start filling in your design with color using your Boardstix. If you plan on blending colors, make sure you work quickly, because the paint has to be wet for the blending to work. You will probably have to keep shaking the pens and pressing them down (on another surface) to keep the paint flowing.

    • 7

      Get your basic shapes colored in first — you can always go back later and add more detail and can easily put one color on top of another after the paint is dry. Try opposite colors next to each other for contrast, use white for highlights and black for adding depth and outlines. The more shading you add, the more 3-D your design will look.

    • 8

      Don’t forget to step back from your design to see how it is going every now and then. Rest the board against a wall and step back about 15 feet to see how you like it.

    • 9

      Once you are satisfied with your design, spray over it with an acrylic clear coat. It is best to do several clear coats to ensure the paint is protected.

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