How your art is turned into a custom skateboard deck graphic.
I am sure it is a mystery to most of our customers how their digital artwork gets turned into a printed custom skateboard deck. This video gives a quick run down of the steps:
- The artist separates each color in the graphic into it’s own layer.
- Each color in the graphic is printed as a film positive.
- The film positive is aligned to the screen.
- The photosensitive emulsion coated screen with film positive attached is placed in the U.V. light unit for exposure.
- The film positive blocks the light from the U.V. light unit allowing the unblocked emulsion to harden.
- The screen is then placed in a washout unit. The unexposed emulsion is washed away allowing a stencil to form for the ink to go through.
- Ink is mixed in proper percentages to match Pantone colors as well as catalysts added to promote adhesion.
- The screen is prepped and aligned in the flatbed screen printer.
- Each color is printed to a plastic carrier sheet allowing for time to air dry between switching ink colors. Sometimes up to 24 hours is needed for a full cure.
- After the ink has cured on the carrier sheet the transfer is aligned to the skateboard deck according to the confirmation.
- The skateboard deck with transfer is run through a transfer machine. Through heat and pressure the ink transfers from the low adhesion carrier sheet to the special high adhesion varnish on the skateboard deck.
- The custom skateboard deck is trimmed and cleaned.
Our custom skateboard decks are printed using the ‘screen printed heat transfer method’. This is the method nearly all high quality, professional skateboard decks are printed with (a few old-school skateboards are direct screen printed and a few low volume ‘one off’ companies offer digital transfers). It takes many steps and a lot of technical ‘know how’ to get this process correct. So don’t hassle us too much next time you pay for your set-up/screen fees!