How to Print Your Own Skateboard Graphics – A Short Guide
Are you a passionate and creative skating enthusiast? What would be better than printing your skate graphics on your board? Showing the artistic side has become an integral part of the skater culture. You will probably ride your board for a while, so why not deepen the bond with a creative twist? Learning how to print your own skateboard graphics may be beneficial for you!
Now, if you want to minimize the cost of printing your own skateboard graphics; you can print it on your own. Of course, there are a lot of skateboard manufacturing companies that can do all this for you. It may cost you more, though. Good news is, it has become much easier to design and print your own skateboard graphics with the help of computer software.
Let me show you how to print your own skateboard graphics in a few steps!
Step #1: Create Your Own Design
Now, if you’re an artist yourself, we would recommend using the print industry standard software, Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Photoshop. When digitally designing your own skateboard graphics, pay attention that you convert the design to vector format. Vector graphics can be easily scaled to the dimensions of the board, without the loss of quality.
Also, if you don’t want to dive in the complexity of these two tools, you can find a graphic designer. Designers can either design or transfer your graphics in a design program.
Step #2: Make a Digital Print
By this step, you have your skateboard graphics in digital format. Now, you can digitally print the graphic. Print your skateboard graphic on a film surface, like vinyl or veneer. That will allow for your graphics to transfer to your deck.
Most inkjet printers can print on transparent surfaces like film already. If you haven’t got one, head to the local library and get your graphics printed. Now, you are ready for the next step in the creative process.
Step #3: Coat the Deck
In this step, you are making the canvas that captures your imagination! Get ready to color your board as a base for your design. Try to blend in the colors that will complement your custom skateboard graphic. And of course, let your imagination run wild!
Make sure to coat every part of the board to your liking. Once you glue the graphics on the board, it will be harder to paint on that surface.
Step #4: Transfer Your Design to the Board
Now that you have coated your board with colors of your preference, it is time to utilize the heat transfer printing. Heat transfer is the industry standard when it comes to printing custom skateboards.
Basically, the heat transfer process involves screen or digitally printing ink on layers of thin plastic. The plastic layers are then adjusted on the board. Then, the layers are processed through the heated silicone roller machine. The machine will then transfer the ink, essentially forming a chemical link on the board. This method will transfer your own skateboard graphics almost flawlessly, with the quality of design virtually untouched.
How this process looks in practice:
To put it in a different perspective, how can you do this by your hand? For the beginning, apply your board with glue developed for skateboards.
Afterward, apply your graphic with a heat machine. The machine effectively transfers the graphics that you have printed on a film surface. What’s most important is that this machine presses your film on the board. That gives your graphics a cleaner finish!
Step #5: Finalize the Design
Now that you have your own skateboard graphics on your board, there is still something left to do. You will probably use your skateboard for a while, which in turns tears down the coating on your board incrementally. Simply put, you will want to protect your custom graphics from the various elements.
Use a clear-coat spray to coat your skateboard. The spray will protect your graphics from scratches that may incur during skateboarding sessions. Also, it will give your graphics a smooth finish, which is beneficial for the overall design of your skateboard.
Whether you do it by your own hand or with the help of the professional, as a serious skateboarder, you will probably need to print your own skateboard graphics. Now that you know the process, nothing stops you from transferring your creative vision on your skateboard!
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