Pimp My Ride

Errr… Well, “Pimp my skateboard,” at least.

Do you remember this skateboard? We’ve used it as a prop few times in photos here off and on.

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This is the best "Before" shot we've got--we're always forgetting the befores.

As you can see, it’s pretty darn boring.The stuff on the back that looks like “wood” is actually a big decal printed to look like wood. So, armed with the contact paper stencil technique from Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand, I created a new look for my crappy skateboard.

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Cutting out the stencil. (That's our dining room table, by the way--it doesn't see many meals, obviously.)

First, I sanded off the sticker. Which was vinyl. Which made Sarah really annoyed, since I forgot to wear a mask. Wear a mask if you sand off a vinyl sticker, folks!

Then, instead of taking the path of least resistance and making a normal stencil, I made a reverse stencil of a wolf from an image that I manipulated in Illustrator. I spray glued the image to a large sheet of contact paper and cut out all the little, tiny pieces that made up the wolf.

Next, I stuck the pieces on the sanded board.

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Sticking the pieces of contact paper on the board.

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The wolf silhouette on the back of the board.

We have a large supply of wood stain products in our garage–not of our own doing, they came with the house. So, after some spot testing, I selected the fancy-sounding “Red Wood” color and started staining over the stencil. I applied four coats of stain. I also learned that Sarah knows a lot more about wood finishing than I do. For example, she showed me how to rub the stain in rather than just brushing it on so that you won’t get streaks. However, this was after I had already been a bit “aggressive” with the paint brush, so some of the small stencil pieces got stain underneath them. But, I was able fix this after I peeled off the contact paper by scraping the stain off with an Xacto knife. The staining component of this project took four days, because I let it dry thoroughly in between each coat.

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Following the first coat of stain, I was starting to wonder what I'd gotten myself into...

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Scraping off the excess stain from my overly-enthusiastic staining. I first tried this with the Dremel tool, which didn't work at all. The Xacto allowed me to use a much lighter touch.

After fixing the spots where the stain ran, I started the polyurethane process. two days and four coats of semi-gloss (which was also found in our garage) later, the damn thing was finished.

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After the fourth coat of polyurethane.

I reattached the trucks and wheels, and the skateboard was looking good.

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It's hard to take pictures when there's so much shellack--can't avoid the glare when using the flash.

The pathetic thing? I don’t have the heart to ride it now, because it looks so nice and took so long (10 days!). I’m going to have to get over that, I know.

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Done!

~Josh

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10 thoughts on “Pimp My Ride

  1. I wouldn’t ever want to scratch up this gorgeous board, either! Maybe you can mount it as a decorative shelf until you are over that feeling and ready to ride……

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