How to Paint a Design on Kayaks

How to Paint a Design on Kayaks
Kayaks are usually quite durable, but every once in a while they require some touch ups. Even if your kayak is not particularly scratched, you might want to paint a unique design on the hull to make it look better or make it easy to recognize. It can be expensive to hire a water-sports shop to detail your kayak for you. A more affordable option is to paint your own design on your kayak. It is fairly easy as long as you take the right approach.


Difficulty: Moderate

Painting Designs on a Kayak

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rubber gloves
  • Polyurethane marine paint
  • 50 grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brush
  • Soap
  • Bucket of water
  • Rag
  • Sketchbook
Step 1
Sketch your design ideas on a piece of paper. Outline the shapes, colors and approximate sizes of each design element. When you have your concept ready, flip over your kayak and assemble your project materials.
Step 2
Scrub the kayak surface you will be painting. Use sandpaper to file down rough edges if necessary. Fill your bucket with soapy water and wash the kayak, making sure that no debris is left on the surface to be painted. Dry the area with a towel and wait 20 minutes for the surface to completely air dry.
Step 3
Use masking tape like a stencil to outline the areas you want to paint with your designs. Put ample tape around the perimeter of each design, leaving the middle area open for the paint to be applied. This will help your design look cleaner and more professional.
Step 4
Put on your rubber gloves to start painting. Use slow and smooth brush strokes to apply the waterproof polyurethane marine paint to your kayak. Allow the first coat of paint to dry for 1 hour before adding a second coat of paint to finish the job. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours before submerging the kayak in water or exposing it to weather such as rain.

Tips & Warnings

You might want to apply a marine wax to the kayak after it is dry. This can help give a glossy appearance and protect the fresh paint job.
Always paint in a well ventilated space to avoid inhaling paint fumes.

Article Written By David Thyberg

David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.

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