How to Paint Your Surfboard with Dish Soap

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Today, you can actually choose what surfboard art you want on your brand new stick. Aside from the dims, some shapers also give you the option to either choose from the stock designs they have available or hand over your own. And in approximately 6-8 weeks (longer if your specs are complicated), you’ll receive your brand spanking new surfboard.

A dish soap painted surfboard | Pinterest

Sure you can get your board professionally painted but where’s the fun in that? Have you considered painting it yourself? There are actually a lot of ways to DIY and here’s an easy one to achieve that perfectly splattered paint design.

You’ll need:
– Painter’s tape
– Acrylic spray paint
– Acrylic clear coat
– Construction paper or newspaper
– Sandpaper (220 or 500 grit)
– Acetone
– Dish soap


  1. Lightly sand the area where you want your design to go. Wipe it with acetone afterward to remove any residue on the board.
  2. Layout an area for color and tape it. To avoid overspray, tape some construction paper or newspaper around it. If you chose an area where the logo is and you’d rather not have it covered with paint, place some tape over and trim around it.
  3. Spray on your base colors. This is the color that will show through the soap streaks. You can skip this step if you’d rather have the original color of the board as your base. Let it dry for a few minutes.
  4. Once the paint dries, soap your board. You can go as random or as precise as you want. There’s a tendency for the dish soap to run so do this as quickly as possible.
  5. Spray some paint on your soap design and leave it to dry. You can use a blow dryer to shorten your waiting time but just be sure to set it on low heat and keep it moving around so you won’t damage the fiberglass.
  6. When the paint is completely dry, rinse off the soap. Remove the tape and construction paper or newspaper, and wipe the board dry.
  7. Finally, to make sure that your design doesn’t come off easily, spray it with some clear acrylic paint.

And you’re done! All things considered, painting your board is fairly easy. If you’re not confident DIY-ing your new surfboard, try it on a few of your old ones first. This way, you get some practice and give your old boards some new life at the same time.

The dish soap technique offers endless design possibilities. And because it’s pretty random, the chances of you finding another board with a similar design is very slim. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Just let your creativity take over, and you’re all good.

Here are some short tutorial videos (if you prefer those):

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to shape your own board, we have a beginner’s guide right HERE.

Have you tried painting your board with the Dish Soap Technique? Share your tips below!

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