DIY grip tape with Stefani Nurding
Animal rider Stefani Nurding, AKA The Concrete Chameleon, loves to mix-it-up, combining her passion for skateboarding, travel and fashion wherever possible; as she herself admits, she ‘will never be a pigeon in a hole.”
Aside from skating, Stef is well into her snowboarding, surfing, high diving and trampolining, whilst her style is similarly eclectic and very much her own.
We caught up with Stef earlier this week as she gave us a little rundown of how to create a genuinely individual DIY grip tape design. In her own words, it’s banging.
Things you will need:
- Spray mount adhesive or PVA glue.
- A sheet of grip in your chosen colour. You can pick this up at your local skate store for around £5.
- Magazines or printed images that have caught your attention.
- A Stanley knife/blade — kids; please get an adult to help do the cutting parts.
Step 1: Decide on your design and find images.
Collect up everything you need and find a good area to work in —I usually put down some newspaper or something to protect the floor from any mess.
Think about how you would like your grip to look.
My inspiration for this design was a Californian summer, so I just went through my magazine stack and picked images that reminded me of sunny days stateside, but you can choose anything you want. I find it best just to keep my design to a little section on the deck; it looks nice and doesn’t affect the areas where your feet go when you are skating. But if you want to go all-out, that’s fine too.
So follow through with your idea and just cut out anything you see which relates to your topic, this can be colours, shapes —anything that catches your eye really.
Step 2: Composition.
My inspiration for this design was a Californian summer, so I picked images that reminded me of sunny days stateside.
Arrange your images exactly how you want them to look on your board so you can check you’re happy with the design before you get sticking.
Step 3: Sticking.
Once you have chosen where you want your images to go, it’s time to stick them down. I just used my eye to keep them kind of straight but if you want a really accurate line you can always draw this with a pencil and ruler before you start.
Stick your images in place following the instructions on your spray adhesive canister or PVA glue, mine advises spraying both sides of the cuttings to be stuck and then waiting a few seconds before pressing them on. Please make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area—I don't want any of you passing out.
Step 4: Grip.
Take your sheet of grip tape but don’t peel off the backing just yet.
Measure out how much grip you need to cover the section of deck above your design and then, using your scissors, cut it out as straight as you can so you end up with a piece of grip big enough to cover the top part of your deck.
Carefully peel off the backing paper and place the grip onto your skateboard, keeping a nice straight line across the top of your design.
Carefully press the grip tape down from the bottom to the top, trying to make sure it is flat against the whole surface of the deck, with no air bubbles.
Now measure out how much grip you need to cover the section of deck below your design and repeat the steps above. Remember to stick the grip so you get a clean, straight line across the bottom of your design.
Step 5: Finishing.
Once you have stuck your grip tape down, you will see that you have an excess of grip tape all the way around your board, which you now need to trim off.
This can be a bit tricky so I would recommend using a file (if you have one) or even just the handle of the Stanley blade. Press the grip down all the way around the edge of the board. This should give you a visible white line showing the outline of the board, which you can then use as a guide to cut along with your blade. The image below helps explain what I mean.
Take your Stanley knife (or blade) and make an incision so you can hold your cutter against the edge of the board, underneath the grip and facing towards you. Please be careful, cutting towards you is not usually recommended I know, but you need to do it for this. Press the blade firmly against the board at a 45-degree angle and cut along your white line. Cut nice and steadily and you should get a good straight finish. If it’s your first time doing this it might go a bit skewiff, but don’t worry too much, you will get better at it with time.
Also, if you’re a child, then please get someone to help you with the cutting who isn’t.
Stefani Nurding xx