Watercolor Galaxy setup on a new skateboard deck.

How to apply griptape to a skateboard

This is a step by step guide teaching you how to grip a skateboard - like a pro.

So if you just:

1. Got a new deck.

2. Got new skateboard griptape.

3. Or you want to learn how to do it yourself.

Then you’ll love the actionable tips in this guide.

Let’s get started.

3 tools you'll need to grip your skateboard

1. Flat file

2. Retractable blade knife

3. Pointed tip screwdriver

1. Prep your skateboard deck

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

You want it to be clean and gunk-free.

Pro tip: you can't put grip on top of grip. It won't stick.

2. Place your griptape on your board

Grab your sheet of griptape.

Peel off the backing paper to expose the pressure-sensitive adhesive.

Save the backing paper; you'll need it in the next step.

Hold the griptape longways and hover over the top of your deck.

Make sure it's centered.

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

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

Pro tip: if you didn't press it into place you can pull your grip up to readjust it.

3. Press your grip into place

If you like how it looks then grab your backing paper.

Lay it on top of your grip and begin pressing it down in the center of the board.

Now push your hands out towards the nose and tail.

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

Pro tip: put your board on the ground and step on it to let any air bubbles out.

4. File your griptape

It's time to file your grip.

Take the flat file and rub it around the edge of your skateboard.

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

The more you file it, the easier it'll cut.

Pro tip: don't get carried away, you can file through the grip. So use caution.

5. Cut your grip

Take your retractable blade knife (or razor blade) and push it up through the bottom of your griptape.

Use the edge of your skateboard as your guide.

Tilt the blade to a 45° angle and cut.

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

Assemble your skateboard

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

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 freshly gripped deck for any air bubbles.

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

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

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.

If this is your first time gripping a board or you're learning to skateboard, you got this!

Grip a skateboard FAQ

No. Please don't put grip on top of grip. It won't stick and you'll be out the money for the grip.

Yes, you should put grip tape on every skateboard deck, regardless of what you plan on doing with it.

All skateboard grip tape has a pressure-sensitive sticky backing. Peel off the backing paper to expose it. Stick it to the top of your deck. And apply pressure to secure it in place.

Pro skateboarders do use grip tape when they set up their skateboards. While the style, brand, and customization may vary from pro to pro, they all use it.

Sure, but please don't. You won't get the precise cut you would with a retractable blade knife or a razor blade. Also, you'll run the risk of the grip peeling up.