How to make your own surfboard rice paper logos

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Building great looking surfboards is partly science and partly art. Whereas science forms the bulk of great board design, it is the artistic bit that makes a great design look aesthetically appealing. All the same, everyone has their own personal taste and preference. In that spirit, today we will look at how to design surfboard rice paper logos.

The history of Rice Paper

In ancient Xuanccheng, just at the onset of Tang Dynasty, a fine paper was created using rice straws and the bark of Wingceltis. The Chinese people named it “Paper of Xuancheng” after the town where it was first produced. For the rest of the world, it is called “rice paper” after the raw material used to make it.

Years after it was discovered, local painters still preferred silk over rice paper (since the paper was barely a foot long). However, painters were intrigued by the papers’ property with ink and it didn’t take them long to start producing big papers. The big leap to paper for painting was on.

Artistic representation of a fish on a Japanese Rice Paper

Artistic representation of a fish on a Japanese Rice Paper

What is Rice paper made from?

Modern Rice paper is made using cellulose fiber. Cellulose fiber is available in various forms. Manufacturers have thousands of plants they can use to extract cellulose fiber. The choice of fiber to be used depends on;

  • the length of paper needed
  • the availability of the plant
  • the ease of harvesting

The most common plants used to make modern Rice paper are; Rice, bamboo, Wingeceltis, Hemp and Mulberry.

As much as we have many classifications of Rice Paper, we can classify it into two broad categories based on its porousness; sized paper and Unsized paper. The latter is porous and absorbent while the former is less absorbent. The level of absorbency may be affected by the different plant fiber used. For instance, mulberry paper is less absorbent while bamboo paper is very absorbent.

Make your own custom surfboard Rice Paper logos

In the early sixties and late fifties, surfboard logos were mainly screen printed. Being screen printed meant that the varieties were limited to a few water slide decals. Anyone who has ever made one will agree that there were quite temperamental.

Vintage Surfboard screen printed logos

Vintage Surfboard logos

With the advancement of print technology, screen printing progressed with technology. Direct printing on rice paper became possible – such that, when the decal is glassed on the surfboard, the material assimilates the resin and turns transparent.

Despite being expensive, screen printing remains the perfect choice of adding solid inks, like white, to surfboard logos. Also, it comes in handy in instances where we need to replicate the same surfboard logos design in large quantities. Today, you can have almost any decal glassed onto your board as early as the manufacturing stage or later.

Getting the surfboard rice paper logo to your board.

After ordering your surfboard rice paper, you will receive it a few days later in your mail. The material will feel rather flimsy and thus you have to handle it carefully. By now, you should have glassed your surfboard. If you are handcrafting your own surfboard, you can get some great glassing ideas from GreenLight Surf supply.

Trim the decals carefully allowing a 5mm edge. You will need to use a small amount of resin on the surfboard to hold the rice paper in position. When the paper is correctly held on the board, pour more resin on the decal.

Next, carefully spread the rice paper to remove any creases or trapped air. A squeegee will do this perfectly but you can also use soft, cylindrical plastic. You will realize that when the paper absorbs the resin it becomes transparent.

You Surfboard rice paper design is now in place. To protect it from the elements, use fibre glass cloth to cover the patch. Pour more resin on the fibre cloth and use the squeegee to ensure it is properly spread

For longevity, you may opt to cover the whole board with a clear resin hot coat. In case you want it to have a glass look; apply a clear gloss coat followed by sanding and buffing to give you the high gloss finish look. You can get inspiration from Lab Jackson on high quality gloss finishes.

Your board is now ready to catch some waves. However, before going wave searching, it is important to read about the Common mistakes to avoid before surfing. This is more important if you are a beginner. If you liked this post, keep the discussion going on and share with your circles.


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