Surf Sticker Art

So, like most people who surf, or have ever surfed, or who have been within 2 miles of a surf shop, surf trade show, or surf contest likely have a few surf stickers they’ve picked up over the years. I’ve seen these stickers everywhere: on cars to cover the chipped paint, on the man cave shed, on the special fridge in the garage, etc.
I have certainly picked up a lot of these stickers, or postcard style flyers with some really nice colors and artwork on them that is certainly unique to that particular item or store. While I’ve given a lot of my stickers away to the kids in the family who come to Florida to visit, I’ve kept quite a little collection that didn’t end up on my Bubba Keg for my Diet Coke (flashback to the 80’s, except this time I don’t have a sticker book, I collect them on a 40 oz mug for my caffeine addiction). Some I even peeled off other things around the house, they weren’t staying on anyway. Even if they got a little ripped or torn completely while removing, that was OK and you’ll see later why.

That’s a lot of stickers.

So, I thought instead of randomly placing them around the house where they would be an eyesore, I would make focused art. I used an old 14″ by 11″ canvas that I had- I wasn’t crazy about how the painting was turning out- so I painted over it with a thick coat of rich color blue. Of course, you can use a large scrap piece of wood, a junk cabinet door, or even some heavy cardboard glued together in a few layers. Really, it depends on how many stickers, labels, and cards you have piled up the size you make your picture.
After letting that dry, I painted a layer of Mod Podge over the blue paint to use as an adhesive to ensure all of the stickers would stay in place, since some of the sticker adhesive was gone or dried out on a few, of course.

Mod Podge glue layer painted onto the canvas for use as an adhesive first.

From there, I could arrange my stickers/cards however I wanted. For me, I started with the larger pieces first in the center, and rotated stickers around the perimeter so that the canvas could be hung at any angle and it wouldn’t matter. After letting the Mod Podge dry under the stickers, I put a layer of Mod Podge over the whole thing to seal them in. Be careful with this- it’s easy to move and lift corners and edges, and if you have any pieces that have inks that may run, the Mod Podge will smear it, so just a caution. I did let stickers hang off of the edge of the canvas as I placed them, but those were trimmed flush by turning it over and using an Exacto to cut the excess after drying. The stickers may bubble a bit, but that’s okay, they’re stickers, it’s not a solid smooth poster. After trimming, I took the canvas out into the garage and sprayed it with some gloss sealant, but I’m not finished…..

Getting there….

Remember those little surfboard shape templates from the Shape Your Model Dream Board project? I used them to cut out two more balsa fish surfboards from some more scrap I had. They would give the art a little dimension, I thought, and be something to break up what would be just a flat collage. I painted each of these wood flat shapes black as a background.

Left fish is painted, right one is ready to go

For the little surfboards, I held aside my collected wax labels to use on those only. I put Mod Podge on the shapes just like I did with the canvas, and cut up the labels to fit, or I let them hang off the edge to be cut off when dry.

Surfboards with wax labels trimmed

Around the edges of the boards, I used a paint marker to paint the edges and a little of the outside edge outline of each board so it would be a little more visible on the chaotic canvas. I glued them down flat to the canvas with quick cure cement with an offset placement. After that, I gave the whole picture a couple of more rounds of gloss sealant. Here’s the finished picture drying now almost ready for hanging:

If you stare into the picture long enough, you can see a boat….just kidding.
Here it is, finally on the wall. 🙂

So there’s some fun surf art this week to make with all your stickers you have stories and memories about, and it’s a touch less goofy than one of those cutesy scrapbooks. Now, get the stickers off of your back windshield, you keep cutting everyone off!

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