I decided that I do not like my current skateboard graphic, and I should probably be riding around on my own art on general principle... so here is my grand skateboarding experiment!
First make sure you have the proper wrench and screwdriver (or skate tool if you have one) to remove the trucks. Keep track of the screws and nuts - I put mine in a plastic bag to keep them along with the riser pads, so I would not lose them. At this time it is also a great idea to find a drill bit that is the proper diameter to perfectly match the holes in your deck. You do this because paint / varnish will be going in the holes as you paint, so this will allow you to re-drill them when you are finished.
The next stage is essential for getting a nice surface to paint on, but will be a lot of manual labor if you do not have an orbital sander. These little hand sanders take most of the hard work out of getting the original graphic off. Make sure to start with very rough grit sand paper, and work your way down to a finer grit for the smooth finish.
Now that the wood is ready, it is time to prepare it to take paint. Acrylic gesso does a great job, but it took me a number of coats to fully hide the wood grain. Try to follow the grain of the wood with your brush strokes, to keep an even surface texture for painting.
The final part to this step is to sand down the top layer of gesso with a very fine grit sanding block (any sort of manual sanding device will do). Once you have done so, your deck will be beautifully smooth and ready to paint.
Many skateboards have very graphic imagery on them - which consists of solid colors. My graphic will have six colors, so in an effort to keep them consistent, I pre-mixed them before i painted with them. I only mixed one at a time because I used acrylic paint, but made sure to mix more than I thought would be necessary - so that I would not run out before the graphic was complete.
I began with a base coat of grape.
The rest of the painting was relatively straight-forward, but I took special care to work slowly and carefully so i would have clean lines and solid colors. Many of my large areas of color have two to three coats on them - especially the orange which was painted over top of the darker purple colors.
After adding the final lines with a paint marker (acrylic is best, because oil can bleed when you put the finish on), the painting is done! woo!
The next step is to add 5-6 coats of clear varnish to the surface for protective coating. I have been told that a two part "bar-top epoxy" creates an even stronger surface, but the local hardware store did not carry such a product.
Re-drill the holes in the deck if necessary, and reattach the trucks. I changed out my wheels, but that is optional
there you have it, your very own skateboard! ready to ride!