How to Paint a Snowboard

Style is an integral part of snowboarding and can allow you to express yourself as a rider. Your board can say a lot about you, so you want to make sure it looks the part. Painting a snowboard is a relatively easy DIY task that can give you customized personalization. 

I’m a lifelong snowboarder and a certified snowboarding instructor. I’ve used dozens of boards over the years, and I’ve also painted a few of them along the way. 

In this post, I’ll show you how to paint a snowboard. Whether your top sheet is dinged or chipped up or you just want a change, this quick guide will give you some easy steps to accomplish the task in an afternoon. 

Shake up those paint cans, and let’s get rolling. 

Things to Consider

This guide will show you how to paint a snowboard using spray paint. This is the most common DIY method for painting your board and the only technique I have used personally. There might be different paints to use, but spray paint is the easiest and most effective. 

Depending on your artistic skills and preferences, the sky is limit on the design you want to use while you paint. A solid color is basic and easy to accomplish but doesn’t give you much style. Be creative and have fun with it. More tips towards that end later. 

Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask while you paint. Spray paint fumes are not healthy to breathe in, and this should be avoided. You also need to make sure the paint is at room temperature for the can to spray effectively. 

All of the painting (and the steps to prep for the job) applies only to the top sheet of your board. You don’t want to mess with the edges or base, and you don’t want to get paint on these either.

Required Materials

Here is a quick list of everything you’ll need to paint your snowboard:

  • Snowboard
  • Newspaper/Cardboard
  • Cleaner/Rubbing Alcohol
  • Clean Rags or Paper Towels
  • Painters Tape/Masking Tape
  • Q-tips/Cotton Swabs
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Spray Paint
  • Clear Coat

How to Paint a Snowboard

Below are the steps to follow to get your snowboard painted. Remember that these steps are for spraypaint and will not fully apply if you choose another method to complete the job. 

1. Prep Your Workspace

The first step is to prep your workspace. Make sure you have enough room to walk around your board. Using a table to lift the board off the ground makes the job easier. Place cardboard and newspaper on top of the table (or ground) before setting down the board. 

2. Clean Your Board

You need to make sure your board is clean before you start painting it. You can use an ordinary household cleaner or rubbing alcohol for this task. Give it a good spray or wipe it down to get rid of any dirt or grime that can get in the way when you paint. 

Let any cleaner completely dry off or wipe it up before moving to the next step. You don’t need to worry about cleaning the base, but you can if you want to. If it’s really dirty, this is probably a good idea. 

3. Sand the Board

Next, you’ll need to rough up the board’s top sheet, so the paint has a good surface to adhere to. Use sandpaper and elbow grease to work your way across the entire board until it feels rough to the touch. 

You don’t need to go crazy with sanding. Just make sure you get similar coverage and pressure across the entire surface area of the board. 

4. Tape and Stuff

Once the board is sanded, you need to tape up the edges and fill the mounting holes, so the paint doesn’t get stuck to them. Using painter’s tape or masking tape, place tape over the metal edges. 

Try to be precise here, and don’t fold onto the top sheet. You can fold the tape underneath onto the base. 

Next, fill your binding holes with Q-tips or cotton swabs to prevent paint from getting in these holes. You could also use mounting screws, but I think using cotton is much easier.

5. Spray on Primer

Now it’s time to begin painting! Shake up your can of primer and spray it over the entire surface area of the board. You want to aim for even coverage, and it’s best to work in straight, even lines.

Primer is essential because it will give the main coat a good surface to stick to so it won’t mess up the paint job. You can apply a few coats of primer to make sure you have even coverage. 

6. Spray on Main Coat

Let the primer coat dry for a little bit, and then shake up your main coat paint can. Use the same even strokes to cover the entire length of the board. I like to go all the way over the edges and spray onto the cardboard or newspaper. This helps you get an even coat. 

7. Time to Get Creative

If you have any cool design ideas, this is the time to paint them on. You could use a stencil or cutout to get designs onto the board. Or you could use different colors of the main coat for a simple, multi-colored look.

There are a ton of possibilities with what you can do here. You can use tape to get stripes, cans for circles, or even stencil paper for more technical designs. 

8. Apply Clear Coat

The final step in the painting process is to apply a clear coat over the entire surface you just painted. This helps prevent the paint from chipping or fading and is essential if you want your paint job to last. 

You spray on the clear coat just as you did the primer and main coat. Be sure to get it even because this is a little thicker than the paint. You will probably want at least two layers of clear coat for adequate protection. 

9. Let Dry and Remove Prep Work

Let the board dry for 20-30 minutes (maybe longer if you went heavy with the paint), and then you can remove the tape from the edges and cotton swabs from the mounting holes. Your freshly painted board is now ready to ride! 

Final Thoughts

Painting your snowboard is not a very complicated task but taking your time and working slowly is key to achieving a quality paint job. If you rush through it, you are more likely to get uneven coverage. 

I think that having a design or multi-colored board is more interesting than a single color of paint. Take some time to experiment or look for creative ideas so you can get a paint job that reflects your style and personality on the snow. 

Have you ever painted a snowboard before? What colors or designs did you use? Let us know in the comments below.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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  • Cate

    Just wondering about the bottom… would it be best to just leave it… or could the process be repeated on the bottom once the top is dry? Or would it tear it up pretty quickly and not really be worth it?

    • Lorraine

      Hey Cate,

      I would not paint the bottom of your board. You would need to remove the base layer to get to the bottom sheet, where you could actually paint anything anyway. Doing that would cause a lot of damage to the board that isn’t really worth it if you want the board to perform well on the snow. If you just painted the bottom where the wax is, it would rub off all over the mountain, which wouldn’t be good for the environment, and it might slow you down or cause other issues while you ride. The tips and advice in this post are just intended for the top of your board.

  • Thomas

    Hey, just wondering what grade of sandpaper do you recommend, I paint surfboards as a job and I’m moving to snowboards as well.

    • Lorraine

      Hi Thomas,

      I think 180 to 220 should probably do the trick. You don’t really need to go super fine, although depending on the paint job, you might want to start with like 180 and work your way towards maybe 400 if you want a really smooth surface. I’m sure you know what you’re doing if you’ve done surfboards! What grit do you use on those?

  • Mignon Ritz

    hello! this article has been super helpful, but I just have one question. In your opinion what is the best method for doing detail work? Obviously, you can use stencils and stuff for spray paint, but if we’re talking super small details what medium would you use?

    • Lorraine

      Hi Mignon,

      So I’ve only really used stencils because I’m not that skilled of a freehand artist. But I bet you could use a paint pen or paintbrush to make more detailed work stand out on the board. Just make sure you do all of this before applying the final clear coat. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what type of paint is best for this. I’ll ask some friends to see if they have any more detailed advice than I can offer, but I hope that helps either way.