Griptape is the rough layer on the bottom of a skateboard deck that makes it easier for your shoes to stick to the board. You can either take your board to a skate shop or do it yourself. Replacing your grip tape makes you safer and helps you get better, so heavy skaters should do it often.
Getting prepare for the Board:
- Buy grip tape
- Put your skateboard on a clean, flat surface to work on.
- Use a Stanley Knife blade to cut off any grip tape that is already there.
- a hairdryer or a heat gun
- Give your skateboard a full clean.
Putting up tape
1.Place the grip tape in the middle of the skateboard deck.
Start by lining up the tape with the board. This way, you’ll know how long it needs to be and it won’t be stuck on wrong. Once a mistake sticks, it’s hard to fix it. Make sure the grip surface is longer and wider than your deck. You will cut off the extra tape when you’re done. If your grip has a design, move it to where you want it.
Some people don’t like the “classic” grip, so they choose other ways to hold the object. For example, you can cut your grip in half before attaching it so that you have a line of grip-less space across your board, or you can draw a “silhouette” and cut it out so that you have an icon on your board.
Imagine that the middle of your grip tape has a drawing or design, and you don’t want it in the middle of your board. Just put the drawing in the middle of where you want it (e.g. the nose or the tail). You’ll probably have a part of your deck with no grip, but you’ll also have a big piece of grip hanging off the other side. Cut out this piece and use it to make up for the “missing grip area.”
2.Peel the paper guard back a few inches and put it on one end of the board.
Smooth out any small bubbles by pressing and pushing in the direction that the tape is going. If there are big bubbles that could cause a crease, you will need to very carefully pull back on the grip tape to get rid of them. Make sure the glue doesn’t stick to other things.
Use both hands. This takes time and patience, because you don’t want to rip the tape.
3.Smooth the whole grip onto the deck with care.
Start slowly at one end of the board and work your way across, pressing down on the tape to get rid of any air bubbles. Some brands of griptape already have small holes in them to prevent air bubbles, but you should probably flatten it anyway. Put the grip tape flat against the board’s edges.
You can pull the grip tape up and try again any time. If you do this more than once or twice, the grip tape might lose its stickiness.
4.Make sure the grip is in the right place on the board.
Make sure the griptape covers the whole surface, unless you want the wood to show in some places for style. Some of the griptape may go past the edges of the deck, but don’t worry—you can cut off the extra with a knife or razor.
Completing the Board
1. Clean the edges.
You’ll notice that the edges of the deck give you “extra” grip. Use a screwdriver, a metal file, or something else with a flat edge to scrape along the board’s edges until the griptape gets a white edge. This is how you can seal the griptape’s edges. If you do this right, your grip will have a white outline of your deck. This outline shows you where to cut off the extra grip tape on the side of your skateboard.
Make sure to use long strokes instead of short, aggressive ones, or you might tear up the sides. Also, be careful not to remove the shine from the edge of your board by filing it.
2.Cut off any extra tape with a knife or a box cutter.
As a result of sanding, the edges of most boards are curved, so you should cut the tape past the curve along the edge. For the best result, make cuts that are slow and steady. Remember to hold the blade at a slight angle toward the edge of the skateboard so you don’t get a small line of grip sticking out. Use the outline of your grip as a guide: you need to cut along the sides of the deck and around the nose and tail of the board.
Make sure that your fingers are always out of the way, as the razor blade can easily slip out of the material.
It will be easier if you use both hands. You don’t want it to dig into the deck of your board by accident.
3.Flatten out air bubbles.
Once all the tape is on the board, check for small air bubbles. Cut small holes in the grip tape with a knife or razor blade. This should get rid of any bulging air bubbles. Smooth over the cut so the grip tape will stick to the deck easily.
4.Make holes so the trucks can be screwed on.
If your skateboard doesn’t have trucks yet, use a screwdriver to make eight holes in the griptape where the trucks’ screws will go. If you already have trucks on your board, you can wait to poke these holes until you replace the trucks, or you can poke the holes this way:
Take a second deck of the same size with no trucks on it and use it as a “guide” for where to poke the holes. Use a pencil to mark the spots or make a small hole. Now you can use a razor blade to cut a big enough hole around the screw to unscrew the trucks. Take each one off and put it back on to make it look “cleaner.”
Try to guess where the holes go if you don’t have a second board. Try putting a needle in and “following” the screws. If you poke the needle in the middle of the deck, it won’t move very far. If you poke the screw, the needle will move further, showing you where the hole needs to be.
5.Make the edges look nice.
Your first try might look a bit messed up, so go around and smooth out the bumps. Run the Stanley knife, box cutter, or razor blade along the outside edge of your skateboard to get rid of any extra pieces. As the deck gets older, most of the flaws will become less noticeable. Take a small piece of extra grip or sandpaper and lightly rub the edges where the grip is stuck to the board. This might keep the grip from coming off the board in the future.
6. Add any last-minute touches of style.
While you have the knife out, you can cut a small triangle or other shape between the screw holes on one end of the board. Some skaters do this so they can tell which end of their board is the front or back. Cut a circle or a hexagon out of your board to make it look different and give it interesting ways to ride. If you want, you can draw designs or patterns on the grip tape with paint markers or colored Sharpies. Try new things!