How To: Apply Griptape To A Skateboard Deck

If you’ve never gripped a deck before it can seem pretty daunting, but worry not it’s a fairly simple process and with some handy tricks & tips you’ll be gripping & ripping like a pro in no time. You can get really creative with different grip colours, graphics and cut-out designs but we’ll just cover the standard slab of griptape on a deck and leave the creativity up to you - make your own rules!

Firstly you’ll need a sharp blade or knife, box cutters / stanley knives or single use razor blades are quite accessible, note that as you’re cutting griptape, it will damage the blade - so best not to use your go-to kitchen knife or a prized collectors item, something cheap and disposable or a blade designated the sole purpose of gripping boards is a good idea.
Second, you’ll need (ideally) a skate tool, alternatively a hard piece of metal that you don’t mind getting scuffed up a bunch while outlining the deck for cutting.

Step 1:

Remove the sheet of griptape from it’s paper backing, make sure the grip doesn’t stick to itself & the backing doesn’t tear (this helps with the end of this step), put the paper backing aside and carefully line up the grip over the deck, when you think it’s centred, press the grip down along the central vertical line of the deck, from one side to the other (e.g. tail to nose) making sure it’s pressed down firmly and not creating any air bubbles (if you do get air bubbles, you can sometimes pull the grip back up to push them out, alternatively you can pierce the air bubble and work to flatten it from there). Grab the paper backing you peeled the griptape off and place it over the gripped deck shiny-side on the grip - this creates a barrier for you to make sure it’s pressed down as firm as possible all across the top of the deck without shredding your hands in the process.

Step 2:

Make a cut from the outer of the griptape sheet to outer nose & tail deck bolt holes, or where the nose and tail start to curve around. Use the shaft of your skate tool (or whatever other piece of metal you’re using) to outline the shape of the deck through the griptape - this both allows you to see exactly where to cut and wear down the grip along the outline to make cutting through heavy sandpaper way easier. Once you’ve got a good outline, cut off all the excess grip from the slits you made before (practice makes perfect, or not… it’s going to get scuffed and beat up anyway so don’t stress if the lines are wonky, just make sure there’s nothing hanging off the edge that can get caught and peel up the grip).

Step 3:

If you haven’t gotten too distracted using the offcuts as a moustache, use it to buff down the edges of the grip to create more durable edges and avoid the aforementioned peel up.

Step 4:

Almost done, now you just need to locate the deck bolt holes and piece them with something sharp, if you’ve got a good eye you can do it topside with the blade you used to cut the excess off, but an easier way is to use a screwdriver or allen key through the back of the holes, then going back on the grip side to finish making the holes bigger.

Viola. That’s it. Now you just need to Set Up Your Skateboard and you’re ready to roll!

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