New graphics? Get your spraycans & acrylic out

PUATB’s Fiona Cuickshank shows us how she made a boring old deck look bright, shiny, new and generally awesome in this how-to guide & video tutorial…

Fiona's PUATB Mountainboard

A while back I bought an MBS Leon Pro 16 from a friend; I loved the feel of the board but the graphic left something to be desired. Deciding that it was time to spruce the look up a bit, I searched around on the internet for some helpful tips. I found very little to work from but had to make do. So I figured as I’ve been the guinea pig and so far the method has held up quite nicely, it’s time to let you in on how I did it.

Electric Sander (Preferable), Sand Paper (medium + fine grit + wet & dry), Plastic Primer, Gesso Primer, Acrylic Paints + some brushes, Clear Lacquer, Grip Tape.

(Little extras)
Blue tack, Masking tape, Sponge, Bowl, Newspaper, patience, new-art plan, some artistic talent lol

Note: I wouldn’t recommend doing this on a brand-new board as the original graphic is likely to hold up better, and I wouldn’t paint the bottom of your board if you do a lot of board slides as I haven’t tested how well it copes with continuous scraping, but it’s completely up to you. Give yourself plenty of time to do this (you won’t be riding it for a wee while), like a week, more if you wish to paint both sides.

custom mountainboard deck graphics1. Remove the trucks & bindings from the board. Peel of the grip tape too if you’re planning on painting the top as well as thebottom. I know many of you will be stickered up, but they gotta go! Try to peel them off as best you can but when some of mine wouldn’t budge I just had to take the sander to them, just watch out though as this clogs your sandpaper up with glue. Basically your board needs to be bare.




custom mountainboard deck graphics2. Next I sanded the board lightly with an electric sander. Many people advised me not to do this: there was talk of it splintering the fibreglass or damaging the board…but I did it anyway and for me it turned out fine, so that one’s up to you, it’s defiantly a faster method. As it was difficult to sand the edges I just sanded them by hand. Continue to sand the board until the ‘shine’ is removed and it is clean and smooth.




custom mountainboard deck graphics

3. Next I filled any large gashes in my board with some filler/putty. I know it sounds daft but it actually made life a fair bit easier when it came to spraying and painting the board as it didn’t all pool in the gaps. Plus it just gives it a nicer finish. Just follow the instructions on the tube and once you fill a gap, try to scrap away excess to keep the board level.




custom mountainboard deck graphics4. Next stage of prepping the board is wet sanding it to give it a smooth finish while leaving a ‘toothy’ surface for the primer to stick to. Dip your sandpaper, preferably a grit of P800, into some water. Lightly sand the board from one end to the other. Then wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.





custom mountainboard deck graphics5. If you wish to protect the graphic on the opposite side of the board, mask it with newspaper and masking tape. Fill all screw holes with blue tack or something similar to protect the threads inside and prevent them clogging up with paint.






custom mountainboard deck graphics6. Time to spray! Ideally buy an automotive plastic primer, however I sprayed the bottom of my board with ordinary primer and it’s fine. Follow the instructions on the can.

You will need to spray the board around 3 or 4 times to get a good cover but some of the old graphic may still show through, don’t worry though as the white gesso will fix this. Try to spray the board outdoors unless it’s too windy and make sure the area is clean…something I failed to do so the dog contributed some of her coat to the artwork, but it’s all good!

At this point you could spray your deck graf style, maybe bust out some stencils, then jump to step 10. If you’re using acrylics, read on…

custom mountainboard deck graphics7. Break out the Gesso primer; this primes the surface specifically for acrylic paint. You can find this in most art shops- the downside is it only comes in big old tubs which are not the cheapest; I managed to get mine for £12ish, but saw some for £30 so make sure you look around… probably a good idea to split it with some of your friends if they want to do this too.

Make sure your primer is fully dry, best to leave it for 24 hours before applying the gesso. Follow the instructions on the tub; your board should need around 2 coats, simply apply with a brush.

If you just want to spray paint your board -ie graf style, maybe using stencils etc- then the gesso isn’t needed, but for acrylics I would suggest this as the acrylic may not paint on very well and it would not last as long without it.

Wait the stated time for the primer to dry, normally 24 hrs, which you can use for step 8!

8.  Design your graphic and choose your colours!
custom mountainboard deck graphicscustom mountainboard deck graphics

Then lightly sketch your design onto the mountain board and begin painting away! Acrylic is quite thick & plasticy, perfect to use straight from the tube, and dries quite quickly. Don’t rush painting your new graphic, this is the funnest part!

9. Okay, so when you’re happy with your masterpiece (& it’s properly dry), it’s time to waterproof it! Get some automotive clear lacquer: this not only protects the paint from water, dirt and scrapes but makes it look all shiny & new.

As always follow the cans instructions, spray the entire board with a generous even coating and don’t forget to spray the edges. Apply several coats of lacquer; the more you do, the more protection you provide. Let dry between coats!

Remove the blue tack from the threads, it can be picked out easily, you may want to neaten it with a Stanley knife but the bolt heads will cover any messy edges.


10. Give the lacquer time to dry before re-attaching the trucks. Then you need to apply your grip tape before bolting on the bindings. This is easy enough to do; you can always use your old grip tape as a stencil, or cut the grip however you wish. Make sure you apply it slowly and smooth it down as you do to avoid getting air bubbles underneath the grip. Bolt on your bindings and you’re ready to go boarding!

I hope you have found this helpful, if you have any questions feel free to contact me, I’m totally stoked with my board it was nice to make it a bit more personal. Fingers crossed you will enjoy doing this as much as I did, I even ended up painting mine while sat on top of a canal boat in glorious sunshine, so you can pretty much do this anywhere! I look forward to seeing more personalised boards out there, be confident in your creativity, it’s gunna look sweet!

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VIDEO! If want you want to know how to customize your board with acrylics but would rather watch how it’s done, then check out Fiona’s video tutorial
on Youtube… Afterwards check out some of the related vids for more inspiration.

Okay so I have now been riding this board for a good few months. Paint job has held up really well! It is completely waterproof, the ride still feels the same and it still looks ace.

There are a few scratches across the board, some of which chipped down to the surface of the board but it has not affected the surrounding paint, nor is it continuing to peel or chip away…

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So apart from a few scrapes the new graphic has held up nicely and even coped fine with a few board slide attempts here & there! I’m still very happy with the outcome so I don’t regret doing it in the slightest 🙂
Happy Customising!


To find out more about PUATB (Plymouth Uni All Terrain Boarders) check out their website.

Words, pictures & video by Fiona Cruickshank (& PUATB)