This year I really wanted some new graphics under my feet. After hunting around a little, and listening to the advice of some good friends I opted to draw my own on my old skis instead of investing in new sticks.
I've been wanting to do this for a bit and looked around and didn't see any really good info so I thought I'd wing it and then make a thread with some tips.
First: You're gonna need skis. I used my old Shreditor 112's because I've already gotten plenty of use out of the ski and I don't really care what happens to them since the bases aren't in the best shape.
An option I was tempted to try was to snag some new ON3P's with the custom white topsheet and paint those, but honestly that was an investment I couldn't afford. I double dog dare you to try it and post your results though!
Pop the bindings and remove any stickers, a razor blade works well for this.
Then sand the living heck out of them. I used a pretty heavy grit paper so that it would leave some scratches, I sanded in an oval pattern so that it would look a little like woodgrain.
Then tape your bases, well. I also had to tape the tip and tail rivets so no paint would get in there.
Hit them with a few coats of plastic spray primer, make sure to read and follow the instructions on the can.
(Hint: don't do this in your living room)
Once your primer has dried the proper amount of time hit those bad boys with your base color. I chose brown because I love the idea of wood grain skis. I did four coats of brown, lightly sanding in between, then I let them dry for 24 hours.
Now you need to figure out your design. I've been doodling and playing with designs for a few months now so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted, here's some sketches and mockups I did:
Then I used chalk to sketch the design on the skis. i used chalk because it is easy to wipe off if you make a mistake, which you will, translating a design from paper to your skis is hard.
Then I went over my chalk outline with a sharpie and wiped the chalk off with a damp rag.
After this I was left with the difficult decision of what to color them with. I ended up going with a combination of Folk Art Enamel and Posca paint pens, both available on Amazon.com. I chose those because that's what several people had successfully used to paint surfboards.
I put down a base coat of the main colors with the Enamel over my sharpie outlines and let them dry overnight:
The next night I finished up the Enamel. It doesn't fully cover the brown base, it's a little opaque which I like, I feel like it gives them more texture.
Then I filled in the details with the paint pens. They are a lot brighter and more precise so they pop very well. Finally I outlined everything with the black paint pen and added some details with a Sharpie. Here's the finished product:
It's meant to tell the story of the dude at the bottom as he travels the mountains and grows into the bearded Old Man Winter.
Nix is the Latin word for snow.
I also included everywhere important I've taken these skis. That's supposed to be Hood, Hellens, Adams and Bearhat (with NS member Literature skiing it) in Glacier National Park. As you can see geography is not my strong suite.
Next is the Tetons, where I live now, with Schweitzer, what used to be my home mountain, below. That's a bad drawing of my buddy who got me into skiing hitting the kicker.
Then the tails end with more Schweitzer, and the first NZ member I met, Caleb_E, also at Schweitzer. That transitions into the rolling golden hills of the Palouse, where I grew up. There are also some shoutouts in the outline of Idaho, and some snow ghosts, cause I love those.
Now I just need to seal them. I'm thinking I'll just use a gazillion coats of polyurethane and just know that they are going to chip a bunch. I'm not too worried, they're a tool, not a decoration.
However any sealing tips would be great.
So, anything I missed? Any tips for next time? Questions?