Removing Sharpie Art from a Surfboard

As you can probably guess, I love painting on things, especially on boards. But, like others, tastes change, and it’s time to move on from the Sharpie’d anarchy symbol on your board that clashes with the pimped out, child safe minivan ride you’re rocking these days.
To show a couple of ways of cleaning art or anything off a board that is permanent, I used my beloved 8’6″ Natural Art epoxy board. I had a little “tattoo” of a seahorse I had drawn a while back using a Sharpie black fine line pen, and gold paint pen over it. It looks kind of goofy, and I’d like a do-over on it.

A little seahorse, but off center- D’OH!


To clean my board, I got some non-acetone nail polish remover and a “magic” eraser brick. For the non-acetone nail polish remover, you will have to look at the label closely to make sure it says this. Non-acetone nail polish remover is used for women (or men- I don’t judge) who have artificial nails. Some types of these nails are fiberglass with a gel coat- sound familiar?- and using regular acetone will weaken the gel coat surface.

Cleaning tools.

I put a little of the non-acetone remover on a papertowel (or a microfiber cloth if you want to be extra careful), and simply wiped away the image. If you have sealant over the work, you may need to use extra to “peel” those layers off. If you have a really stubborn Sharpie paint job, get out another Sharpie and paint over the existing work. The new paint over it will reactivate the old paint and make cleaning it off much easier. Hard to believe, but it does work!

Removing the image
Removed! (Still needs a bit more to get some of the leftovers)

Now, the next thing I can use to clean stuff off of a board is a magic eraser. I love this invention. All you do is get the eraser sponge wet, and it will remove just about anything without chemicals. I have actually used them to clean a nasty, outdoor kept, little fiberglass boat we bought that had marks all over it. When I finished (it did take a while), the boat looked like new, and I actually sold it for about 30% more than when it was bought. Totally worth it.
I used a magic eraser on some black marks I had on the rail of my board that just wouldn’t wash off:

After wetting the eraser, it took about a minute of scrubbing to get these marks off, but it removed them cleanly:

Now, after all that, you may want to repaint your board. If you are looking for a way to do that, but that will hold up in the surf, look here. In that project, I did use regular acetone to initially clean the board, but that was to make sure I throughly dissolved any existing wax. Non-acetone nail polish remover would work OK as well to remove wax residue, and really is safer overall for the glass.
So if you repaint your board, have fun and get creative- just don’t paint stick figures of each member of your family on it. Save that for the minivan.

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