How to Apply Grip Tape to a Skateboard

by Kyle Ayling July 27, 2020 3 min read

A skateboard deck after we apply Cloud 9 Griptape on it.

So you got a new skateboard deck?

And now you need to learn how to apply grip tape to a skateboard? Yeah, you're in the right place.

Listen. People outside of skateboarding don't know that gripping your skateboard is an art and a badge of honor.

Every skater has their own way of making their skateboard setup, unique.

And it's super empowering once you learn how to do it.

With that said, today you’re going to learn how to apply skateboard grip tape, like a PRO.

You can use this guide if you're removing your old grip tape and replacing it with a new sheet. Just make sure your deck is in good shape.

This also works when putting grip tape on longboards. Or when using different types of skateboard grip tape. Even if you want to cut your grip up to make cool art or designs.

You may feel a little odd jumping into this today. No worries, you got this! (Bonus points for adults: your kids will think you're super rad.)

Tools You'll Need to Grip a Skateboard:

Prep Your Skateboard Deck

Let's get your new skateboard ready to use.

Remove any plastic wrapping, stickers, or packaging that came on your skateboard deck.

You want it to be clean and gunk-free.

Remember, you can't put grip tape on top of grip tape. It won't stick.

Place Your Grip Tape on Your Skateboard

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 1

Grab your sheet of skateboard grip tape and peel off the backing paper to expose the sticky adhesive.

Save the backing paper; you'll need it later.

Hold the grip tape longways and hover over the top of your new deck. Make sure it's centered.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 2

Stick the grip tape to the nose of the board, then to the tail.

This will allow you to see if you're centered or need to readjust it.

Press Your Grip Tape in Place

If you love how it looks, then you're ready for the most critical step.

Grab your backing paper and lay it over the top of your grip.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 3

Begin by pressing down in the center of the board and rub your hands outward.

Do this until your grip is 100% applied to the top of your skateboard.

File and Cut Your Grip Tape

It's time to file your grip. Take the flat file and rub it around the edge of your skateboard.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 4

It'll leave a white guideline to make for easy cutting.

The more you file it, the easier it'll cut. Don't get carried away, you can file through the grip. So use caution.

Take your retractable blade knife (or razor blade) and poke it through the bottom of your grip tape.

Place it along the edge of your skateboard at a 45° angle.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 5

You can cut the grip in sections or one full piece, whichever is more comfortable for you.

Follow the edge of the board with your knife until your board is all the way cut out.

Assemble Your Skateboard

Take the excess grip and rub the grip around the edge of your skateboard.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 6

You want to make sure your grip is 100% applied to your board. This will keep it from peeling up later.

Now look over your fresh gripped skateboard for any air bubbles and pop them.

Put your board on the ground and step on it. The pressure can find and release air pockets your eyes can't see.

Now, take the pointed tip screwdriver and poke the holes for your truck hardware.

How to apply grip tape to a skateboard - image 7

Always do this from the top of your skateboard, down.

Pick up any garbage you created along the way.

Recycle anything you can. Everything else... throw it in the trash.

Now put your skateboard together. Add some cool stickers to make your board more personal. And that's how you put grip tape on a skateboard.

One more thing... If you're new to skateboarding, we wrote an in-depth article that will help you learn to skateboard - at any age.

Now we'd like to hear what you have to say.

What’s the #1 you took away from this?

Or do you have a question about something?

Either way, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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