How Printing on Skateboard Decks Is Done?

printing on skateboard decks
printing on skateboard decks

As a skateboarder, one way to show personality in your skateboard is by having a customized deck. But what is the process behind making a boring deck into a work of art? Let’s find out.

There are different types of machines that do the job of printing on skateboard decks and each with its printing process. While there are a  variety of skateboard printing machines available on the market, we can divide them into three kinds:

  • Screen Printing
  • Heat Transfer Printing Machines
  • UV Printing Machines

These machines utilize complex technologies and materials to provide the consistent and best possible results on skateboard decks. Let’s take a glimpse into the specifics of these skateboard printing techniques.

Table of Contents

Screen Printing

Screen printing is the traditional method of applying graphics on a skateboard. The main advantage of this process is its low cost since screen printing does not need any expensive and complex technology. It is pretty straight forward and here’s how screen printing is done.

  1. To start off with screen printing, you will need a frame on which a mesh will be stretched that will serve as a foundation of the graphics. The mesh and the frame combo is called the screen.
  2. A stencil is made by blocking the part of the screen where the graphics will appear as a negative image.
  3. The screen is placed on top of the deck. Ink is put on the screen and a squeegee is used to form the graphics in the mesh holes.

As you can see, the screen printing process only does one color at a time, so this technique is best used for one or two colored graphics with simple details. Most skateboards are made simple because this is the most common technique used.

If your design has intricate details and has three or more colors, it is best to use the two following techniques.

Heat Transfer Printing Machine

Heat transfer printing machines are also called a digital printing machine. It is commonly used in printing skateboard graphics because it is efficient in transferring designs with intricate details and multiple colors.

The heat transfer printing can be broken down into two major phases: printing the design on a transfer paper, and transferring that design from the paper to the deck with the help of high heat and pressure.

  1. The first stage is pretty simple. Designs are made on computer software and it is then printed on a special transfer paper.
  2. After the graphics are ready on the transfer paper, the heat press is heated between 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. The skateboard deck is placed on the plate and covers the transfer paper with a thin cloth for protection.
  4. Pressure is applied to press the transfer paper and the deck together. The thicker the transfer paper is, the less pressure is needed.
  5. The usual time for heat transfer printing on skateboards varies from 25 – 60 seconds, depending on the design complexity.
  6. The film is peeled off while the transfer paper is still hot, leaving the full graphic on the board.
  7. Finally, any excess paint is scraped away from the edges with a sharp knife, leaving a neat edge and a professional finish.

The main drawback of heat transfer printing is the cost. Transfer paper may be costly but, you can do so much more with the graphics, its colors, and details, than with the screen printing method.

UV Printing Machine

A newcomer to the skateboard graphic printing market is the UV Printing Machine. It merges both old and new techniques: inkjet printing and UV printing technology.

It works in a way that prints the UV ink directly on the surface of any material, in this case, the wooden skateboard deck. Then, the ink is cured by a UV lamp to dry in an instant, forming an image. Here’s the process of printing with UV ink.

  1. First of all, the UV printing machine uses piezoelectric inkjet technology that does not come in contact with the surface of the substrate.
  2. It sprays the ink onto the surface of the deck with the help of the internal voltage of the print head. For this to work, a software is used to control hundreds of print nozzles precisely.
  3. The UV curing phase is important because it improves the speed of the ink drying process.

The biggest advantage of using UV printing machines is that you can apply this print technique on materials that are not strictly paper. Additionally, UV ink can directly be printed on materials such as wood and plastic, making this printing machine ideal for skateboards.

The main disadvantage is the cost itself, as this process is highly complex and uses expensive technology.


Whatever the graphic transferring technique is used, the important thing is you are happy with the design and it can show your personality on your deck.

In VZG, we will handle all your graphic designs and it is our mission to exceed your expectations. It is long-lasting and vibrant with a professional finish.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the best printing method for your skateboard graphics, feel free to reach out through our email, or send us an email through here.

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