All About Making a Custom Penny Board & Nickel Board
Penny boards have become one of the most popular boards for younger riders. Older riders ride them too because they are useful to get around on and convenient to carry or store. Bigger riders should get Nickel boards because the decks and trucks are larger. They will be able to fit their feet on the board better and the Nickel board will be more stable to ride. We have seen some big riders on the tiny Penny boards though. Penny as a brand has gotten many people on board who are happy to be skating and might not skate otherwise.
There is a lot of potential to change the look and feel of your Penny or Nickel board. Buying different colored parts is also a popular way to change the color scheme of the board. There are also DIY projects you can do to change the color and even make your board ride better for next to no cost. Upgrading it with better parts is common. They also make stickers for the board called skins. Making a custom Penny board or Nickel Board can be fun and rewarding. It can change your whole skating experience for the better.
Love at First Sight
Some customers who buy Penny or Nickel boards fall in love with their board at first sight. Seeing a kid hugging the board all the way out of the store is an awesome thing to watch. Others like the board in general, but would like to change something to make it exactly how they want it. Usually this involves changing the color of something. Penny and Nickel boards come in different color schemes, but riders might still want something changed or added to the one they pick.
Stickers & Skins
The easiest way to customize your board is to put stickers on it. There are large stickers called skins you can buy designed to fit in the gaps on the bottom of the board. They have cool patterns and can make a board so much better looking. Penny makes them or you can get them from other makers.
Changing the Colors
Changing the color is a common way to make a custom Penny board or Nickel Board. The best way to change the color of the parts is to buy new parts that are different colors. This is usually not something people want to spend money on when they’ve bought a brand new board though.
There are ways to change the color of the board you already have, but it can mess up your board. Do these DIY projects at your own risk:
DIY Color Changes
Using spray paint , you can change the color of your Penny or Nickel deck. You can also paint your trucks.
Spray Painting Your Deck
Penny board decks are flexible plastic boards that do not get water logged like wooden decks. Unfortunately, this makes it harder for paint to stick to them. If you spray paint directly on your plastic deck, the paint can chip or flake off and look crummy.
The beauty of the plastic board is that if the board gets scuffed, it won’t show the original color underneath. Skaters have long felt this pain when having a popsicle deck that’s painted white even on the sides. Eventually it looks crummy because the white paint is scratched off and the brown wood is showing through. Some custom Penny boards and Nickel boards might look cool to you with a different color showing through though.
Preparing your Board For Paint
Take your trucks off the board before attempting to paint your deck, especially if you want to paint the top and the bottom. The top of the bolts are colored and unless you want them painted the same color, you should take them off. It’s also important to take the trucks off because it will help you get even coats of paint across the whole deck and do a better job in the wheel wells. It will also avoid getting paint overspray on the other parts of the board. Use a screwdriver and wrench or get yourself a Unit T-tool to take the trucks off of the deck.
You can do designs on the bottom of the deck in between the trucks like this guy did and avoid taking anything apart.
Clean your deck with soap and water to remove any dirt. Let it dry completely before moving on.
If you are repainting an old deck, use a key to go over where the plastic is messed up. You can use sandpaper, but there is a chance that it will leave scratches in your board which will show through the paint anyways. Some people might think to use sandpaper to sand down the whole board before painting, but we don’t recommend this.
Painting the Deck
A lot of people go straight into spray painting their deck after cleaning it, but this is not ideal. If you want to reduce the chances of having your paint chip and flake off, you can spray adhesion promoter primer on the plastic before spray painting. Adhesion promoter is used on the bumpers of cars and helps paint stick to plastic better. You can get it at your local auto parts store or online.
Paint in a clean environment away from dust.
Follow the directions on the back of the can and spray the deck with your adhesion promoter primer. Using a primer, especially one made for plastic, helps your paint stick and might also be a lighter color than your board. This makes the color you are painting it stand out more. Either way, you will have to apply enough coats of paint to cover the plastic color completely. Adhesion promoters are usually clear.
You will have to do multiple coats and flip the board over to paint the other side. You can lean the board up on something and spray both sides, but will have to go back and paint the parts you couldn’t hit, like the part touching the ground. If you’re not painting the top because you’re applying grip tape later, then still make sureto coat the sides all the way to the top, barely painting into the cross hatch part where the grip tape will go.
To paint the deck, apply light coats and follow the specific directions on the back of the spray paint can you are using. It will give you information about things like how far to hold the can away from the deck while spraying, how long to wait between coats, and how many coats are recommended. Some people like to apply a coat of clear paint after the layer of colored paint. Spray that layer on after. Follow the directions on your specific can. Do like the others.
Let your painted deck dry all the way.
Your custom Penny Board or Nickel board paint job will eventually get scuffed up and worn off. You can go back and touch it up with your spray paint. Always use multiple light coats even on a small spots to make the paint blend more evenly and avoid dripping.
Painting the trucks is also a good way to make a custom Penny board. It will look great, and will cover the unpainted Penny logo on the truck.
Use your skate tool or a wrench to take apart the truck by taking off the wheel nuts and the kingpin nut. Remove the wheels, washers, and bushings. Clean everything while its off the board. Don’t use any cleaners that will leave residue before you paint. Spot clean them with semi-wet paper towels, soap, and water avoiding the metal parts.
You will need to cover the wheel axles of the hangers and cover the kingpin on the base plates before painting. Ideally, wrap them with blue painter’s tape around the metal as close to the metal as possible without touching. or some kind of tape that will come off. Removable blue painter’s tape is ideal for covering these parts because it will provide a clean seal around the axles and kingpins very close to where they connect to the hangars and baseplates. It also won’t leave sticky tape residue behind. Still, it is smart to clean and oil your axles before you put the wheels back on.
Once they are clean and dry, paint the trucks the same way as the deck. You can make them two-tone by painting the base plate and hangers different colors. Trading base plates or hangers with someone else with a Penny or Nickel board is a better idea than painting anything though. Penny and Nickel trucks are different sizes, so don’t trade Penny trucks for Nickel trucks. There is always a chance when you paint your board that you won’t like it or it won’t look as good as you had thought. It also might look great!
If you need to remove the paint for whatever reason, it’s doable.
You can use paint thinner to remove paint. A soft wire brush or the abrasive side of a sponge might help. If you had painted over the whole deck top and bottom before, focus on cleaning the bottom and the sides, then apply grip tape over the top. The cross hatching plastic ridges on the top can be difficult to clean old spray paint out of. We suggest not worrying about it and upgrading to regular skateboard grip tape.
Adding Grip Tape
Penny boards do not come with grip tape like normal skateboards do. Instead, they have plastic cross hatched ridges built into the top of the board that help riders grip the board. This plastic surface is nowhere near as grippy as a sheet of skateboard griptape. Adding grip tape is a great upgrade.
You can buy pre-cut grip tape for your Penny board. Penny makes many different colors. Make sure the board is clean and dry before applying the grip tape so it will stick better. Avoid putting glue on your board. Line it up and stick it on by hand. Press down on it around the edges and step on your board to make sure it’s stuck down all the way to the cross hatch ridges.
You can also put on a sheet of any skateboard grip tape. It involves sticking it on, filing around the outer edge with a file or edge of a screw driver, and cutting around the board with a razor blade. Avoid filing the inner edge where the cross hatching begins, just file around the outside of the board so it’ll stick better and provide more grip.
There are many different colors of grip tape out there, some with graphics, and some with patterns. Some people like to cut pieces out of different colored grip tape sheets and combine them into a design on their board. You can cut lines or patterns out of your grip tape to customize your grip job, but keep the pieces fairly large so they will stick better. Black grip tape on any Penny or Nickel board is completely acceptable and looks fine. Making a custom Penny board or Nickel board with griptape is a functional upgrade and looks great.
If you ever want to remove the grip tape because it gets old or you just don’t like it anymore, simply peel it off. You can use a hair dryer to melt the glue so that it will be easier to peel off.
Painting on Grip Tape
Customizing your board by spray painting the grip tape with stencils or creative designs works well. Just make sure not to paint too thick or the grip tape won’t be grippy. If you want to paint the whole grip a solid color, let it dry completely before applying the grip to the deck.
Compliment your grip tape with colored hardware. Hardware is the nuts and bolts that hold the deck to the trucks. Choosing a custom hardware color can be one of the best ways to add the finishing touch to a custom Penny board.
Punch them through some kind of leftover box like a cereal box. Then paint the heads. You can use adhesion promoter primer first, but there is a fine line between having too much paint to where the screwdriver doesn’t work anymore and scratches your new paint job. They will get messed up easier than some of the professional bolt paint jobs, so be careful with the screwdriver putting them back on the board. Use mostly the wrench side to tighten it. Putting blue painter’s tape in between the phillips head and the bolt head can help avoid the screwdriver scratching the freshly painted bolts. Painting your bolts is not worth it because bolts are cheap to replace.
Buying new hardware that has different colored heads is definitely the way to go instead of painting them. Penny makes colored bolt sets. Penny bolts are 1.125 inches. 1 inch sets will work.
Having a custom Penny or Nickel board that matches or is just your style is important- look good feel good.