Painting on Tagua Nuts

In my last post, I was carving some Tagua palm nuts to make some neato pieces. Like wood, Tagua nuts can be painted to artsy up a piece even more. I had cut a nice thick piece, and drilled a top hole to hang the slice as a pendant.

Sanded and ready to paint

For this project, I used my acrylic paint pens that I’ve used on my surfboards before. Small paintbrushes and toothpicks come in handy for detail painting too.

The brush on varnish I like to use with the acrylic paint pens I like

The important part is the varnish, though. Tagua is cellulose, so if you want your d’art to stay sharp and not bleed into the nut, put on a couple of thin coats on the surface before you start your creation. I sealed the entire slice before painting.

Once it’s completely dry, I can start painting whatever I want, building up color slowly.

Keeping just an accent

Happy little daisies

I made sure the acrylic paint was completely dry before painting two more thin coats of varnish to seal the piece.

I use my disposable contact lens containers for paint and varnish

I used some yellow Linhasita cord and some olivewood beads to finish this piece off into a necklace:

Happy and bright

Super easy, super fun, and if you hate what you painted, get out the sandpaper and start over. Hopefully the Tagua slice was cut thick enough.

I certainly got comfortable with sanding (not REALLY my arm, just a meme, haha!)….

Dude should’ve waxed before sanding

My Florida Halloween Pumpkin DIY

So last year, I painted a real pumpkin. Problem is, the weather here is supa hot, AND rainy, AND windy with extra salt in the air. I only got to enjoy my pumpkin for a week last Halloween, then it started to decay, and flecks of paint started to scatter all over my yard and driveway. Grody.

This year, I took’s advice, and bought a foam craft pumpkin to paint instead. I even thought it would be fun to cut a hole in the 

Step 1…cut a hole in da box

bottom for an LED tea light to be placed inside, so I wanted to drill some small holes in it too for the light to shine through.

Picked this up at the craft store for $5, these pumpkins are hollow foam

Next time, I’ll use a thicker acrylic paint.

The first layer sponged on

Starting to paint in some waves

I made sure to seal the paint job this time!

I marked the “stars” with a metallic Sharpie, and drilled them out with a 1/8” bit on my Dremel. The foam was thicker than I thought!

Drilling the holes

It looks festive covered in foam bits

To cut the piece out of the bottom for the LED light, I used a diamond bit for carving. I certainly didn’t get the smoothest cut, reminds me about how well I carve a real pumpkin….

I cut a section out of the bottom, then resealed for good measure

Horrible cut, but it’s on the bottom! I attached the tea light with foam tape to the bottom

I placed the pumpkin over the foam piece with the LED, and it fit back together well enough, I didn’t need any tape nor glue. Honestly, I’m so freakin’ lazy, that I’m going to leave the little LED tea light in the ON mode. During the day, you can’t see it, and I won’t have to remember to turn it on when it gets dark. Win.

This looks more beachy

Here it is at night, with the LED on

I recommend this project to surfers to want to try out working with paint pens before painting an actual board. The surface of the pumpkin foam is quite similar, and it’s a good creative outlet. Remember, there are no mistakes, just happy little trees, bro….

Paint what you see

Surfboard Cosmetic Surgery

If you keep up with this crazy blog (thanks to those of you who do- right ON!!), you’ve seen my badly injured favorite surfboard with the deeply cracked right rail:

I thought I was going to need a new board

I took it to my local surf shop to have it repaired, and they did a great job filling in the deep gash from a 9” Longboard fin- yikes. However, since my Mahi Mahi fade color paint job was on the rail of the board, the repair was a big obvious white splotch:

Solid as a rock, but obvious

Right side of the deck

The bottom of the board

As for the bottom, I picked up a couple more Mahi Mahi stickers to cover the discoloration, no big deal. I broke out my medium tip Montana paint pens from Michael’s, in shades of green, blue, white, and black to work on the rail and pin line.

Make sure the board’s super clean before starting

I actually re-did the black pinline first, it made a world of difference:

It already looks better!

I don’t have airbrush equipment, so I dotted green and blue shades of paint on the rail, blended the paint with a sponge brush, and then wiped the color away, leaving a stain. This was better than trying to color in the green directly, since that would be MORE obvious on top of the glass job. 

I wasn’t going to try to match the color exactly, I was just aiming to reduce the glare of the white, so I repeated this process until I was happy with it.

Comparing shades

Kinda just staining the board back green

As I was blending some bright blue, I decided to paint some bright fun dots concentrating around the repair area, and spreading outwards. My usual crazy doodling.

After allowing the paint to dry, I sealed it with 2 coats of sealant, and allowed it to dry fully for 24 hours before using it. I like to use the matte finish instead of the gloss, unless I’m coating an entire deck.

Stuff’s ok, but works well for this purpose

Woo-Hoo! Back to life again, ready to surf!

The dots help to mask it, and they look cool

A few more stickers on da bottom….


As far as the ding, play along and say you saw me do this out at the Cocoa Beach Pier last week. Yeah, that’s the ticket……

Scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Happy Halloween.

Painted Shell Necklace with Beads

In my last post, I had polished up a plain This was the original shellbleached shell to prepare it for painting.

First, I made sure there was sufficient varnish before I put any paint on the shell. Acrylic paints work well, but there can be some visible cracking sometimes as the paint dries. 

At least three coats of varnish on both sides to seal it- even before any paint goes on

My paint pens seemed to do a better job keeping the coat opaque and crack free. I had decided to choose two bright, fun beach colors to paint the shell. I chose bright green for the outside, with a sky blue on the inside. I tipped the outer edge of the shell with a metallic silver paint pen just to give it some detail. The metallic helps to “class it up” a touch, in my opinion.

These are the same type I use to paint my surfboards

Be sure to varnish after painting as well

Next, I used some FIMO clay large hole beads I made in fun swirls of color to make a cluster of pearls/barnacles/use your imagination/whatevs.

I made these with bits and pieces of leftover FIMO…trippy, man

I measured off some lengths of Linhasita cord, then braided the middle section to make a loop for the Pendant, then tied a simple overhand knot to secure it under the shell’s hole at the top.

The Pendant loop will be a simple braid


Fold the braid over, and knot it


I used the natural hole at the top of the shell

Next, I strung each bead on a couple of strands of cords at different lengths in the shell’s cup and knotted them off. I slightly melted the knots using a lighter (outdoors, of course).

Frontside of the Pendant finished

Using Kumihimo braiding, I made a matching cord for the necklace with the Linhasita cord, with a small toggle also made from the same batch of FIMO clay.

It’s waterproof!

It’s reversible!

A funky, freshy, beachy necklace from a simple local bleached out shell. 

This could have been a worse craft. I could have been like Lisa Simpson’s friends and bedazzled the surfmobile with shells. Yikes.

Sweet Merciful Crap.

Taking Color Wax Stains off of a Surfboard

Now that it’s January , I’m looking forward to getting back into regular surfing some, not just bodyboarding on my Beater board. One board that’s probably going to be on the bench for a while- while my ankle finishes healing- is my 6’10″funshape. I REALLY love this board, but I think I’ll need to break out the stable longboard more often until I build up some strength.

So, in the meantime, I wanted to paint some more sea creatures on it, since I just had the seadragon on it I painted this year, like what I did in my last post. It is like getting new tattoos, kind of addictive. But, no pain. The only tattoos I’ll be adding to is on the surfboard.

My friend and I waxed it with some blue  and yellow color wax to jazz it up some over the

Evil color wax…don’t go there

blazingly hot Florida Summer this year. I loved the colors, and it really stood out.

Now that I want to repaint it, the wax’s gotta come off. There’s A LOT to come off, but I scraped it off well.

Time to see what lurks beneath!

However, this groovy looking wax left a not-so-nice trace of blue tinge behind after scraping it off. Super. 

Tail of the board, where I had spray-on traction

Looking towards the nose

Tail of the board, you can see where the spray on traction starts!

My favorite wax remover is the Pickle. Essentially, it’s surfboard foam dust in hosiery. I’ve actually made some in the past, it’s a super easy DIY, but for some reason, I’m partial to the Pickle. It must be the hosiery they use, or the grade of the dust, who knows? I just like them better. Dennis at Core Surf even had one for me that was *like* the Pickle, that I used for this project, so it’s RED instead of green. Boo. It’s called the “Fireball.”

The holy Pickle couldn’t take off the stain!

It did okay, but the blue stain remains, especially the stripe over the seadragon, and over the area on the tail where I had applied spray traction (Monster Grip). Sheesh. Lesson learned, no more color wax for me.

But, I did get to do some research on what would get a stain off! First, I tried some Sticky Bumps Wax Remover. I’m not thrilled about using any chemicals, but I thought it would be best to give it a shot.

Dennis told me to poke holes in the foil so it all doesn’t come out at once

Got some blue up, but not much. I started to suspect this might be a baked in STAIN from all the Summer heat. I even tried NON-acetone nail polish remover. Got some more off.

I also found out from Dennis at Core Surf that my surfboard is sealed even after it’s glassed. Because of this, I could get away with a *hair* of sanding.

Enter the Magic Eraser (or whatever melamine sponges are named these days). Not my first pick to try to remove a surfboard stain, but I was willing to give it a go. It technically micro-sands the surface, which is why it’s effective at cleaning.

I had to end up using a fresh one to scrub, and I mean SCRUB. Like I’m fine sanding it. Which, in essence, I am.

It worked very well. The stain was greatly reduced, but I can still see it. That means a bigger repaint job’s going to happen soon.

On the very tail of the board, I had to scrape the spray on traction off with a blade, since the traction stained VERY easily.

I did more scrubbing/sanding with the Magic Eraser, but figured that was about as good as it was going to get for me to paint it. I’m going to have to get creative with my coverup paint job. Looking forward to it. 

After I paint, I will need to use spray sealer to keep the paint job in place, so anything I scraped/sanded off in the cleaning process will be replaced.

So, in my best Mommie Dearest voice, 

“NO MORE COLOR WAX!!!” Hehe. Kinda.

Painting My Surfboard


***Originally published on 19th February, 2016.***

Since I can’t ever leave well enough alone, I wanted to paint my new 6’10” funshape surfboard since I haven’t painted one in a while.

The paint pens I used for this project.

This time, I used fine point Montana paint pens, since they were up at Michaels’, and they have the 40% off one item coupon. Not kidding you, I got a lot of my markers one at a time over a couple of weeks so I could use the coupon. Paint markers are pricey. I’ve “heard” Poscas are the best, but they do not take sealant very well if you need to preserve your item (which you do). I used to use Painters’ Paint Pens- they sell them at craft stores and WalMart- but ever since Elmer’s Glue bought them, they’re pretty awful.

Some people will recommend sandpapering the area of the surfboard you want to paint, for it to “stick better”, but I think that’s a quick way to ruin a good paint pen nib, and gives you no way to undo errors cleanly. I just make sure the board is clean, wax, water, and chemical free!

I had a few aquatic photos of seadragons I wanted to try and paint for inspiration. First, I sketched out the main body and the head in pencil so I could get an idea of the overall proportion I wanted.

My sketch of the head. Yikes- I need that mail-order art class

Next, I started filling in with color (I started on the eye in the photo above). These are pump-style markers, so you have to press the nib down to get them to feed more paint, so I keep a scrap of paper nearby to start a new feed of paint.

Scrap paper to start new paint pens

These markers are pretty decent, I did need to go back over the main fields about 3 times to get the really bright colors. To shadow and highlight, I found it was fun to bring Pointillism back! Paint pens are perfect for this, and blending colors is neat-o. Just remember to let the paint completely dry before moving on to the next layer, and DON’T lay it on thick- it should go on kind of marker-like.

Shading and highlighting with dots of paint

Showing off the phat marker collection

Technically, when these markers dry, they’re waterproof. And yes, if you kept a light coat of wax on this (if the painting’s on the deck), and kept it from getting scratched, it MAY not chip off for a while. But it will. And that can be a good thing, especially if you’re concerned about resale.

If you want to lock your creation down, and protect it from sun, sand, and wax comb scrapes, I recommend sealing it- no matter what side you painted.

This is where is gets tricky. A lot of people claim that paint pens bleed badly when you put sealant on them. I think this typically happens when the paint is put on too thickly, or the painter didn’t leave enough time between sealant coats to let it dry. 

To set up for this, I took the surfboard out to the garage with the door open, fan on, with my FILTER MASK and SAFETY GOGGLES ready to don when getting ready to spray (HINT). I taped off the board with Frogtape (painters’ tape) and butchers’ paper to prevent any other areas from getting sprayed.

Covering the areas I didn’t want sprayed

I used a “2 in 1” Rustoleum “Ultra Cover” spray, but I still used 2 light, even coats. I had no problem with running or bleed with the Montana markers.

Pretty decent stuff, you can get it at the hardware store.


Gee, I hope I like the board. It’s all mine now, like a tattoo on the butt.

DIY Gifts for Surfers: Here’s Your Sign

Since today’s going to be a long day for most Americans, I thought it’s an excellent time to work on some gifts for the Holidays- after I voted, of course!

img_0641One of my best friends wanted me to make her a little “surf sign” to hang up on a piece of bamboo gate she’s got over her couch. She’s been wanting to make a few of her own, and hopefully this will give her some inspiration to make some in her own style too.

My thought for the sign was a double sided one, instead of the common “Margaritas Served Here” (they NEVER are. Liars.) Maybe something useful for when the surfer girls come over, or maybe a fake out if you need some surf me-time.

I picked up these little balsa wood cut outs at a craft store, but you can always use scrap wood, or even wood shingles from the hardware store.

To make these look a little more legit, I used a water-based stain in Mahogany. The water based stains paint on with a foam brush easily, and are not nearly as gnarly as actual wood stains. I’ve had this tube forever, a little goes a long way. Put too much on, and you might as well have painted it brown.


This type of stain I only found at the hardware store. If you do small crafts, a tube goes a long way.

Put a light coat of stain on one side of each sign, let it dry completely, then stain the other side. Don’t forget to cover the edges. If you get a little sloppy, no biggie, our friend sandpaper will make a reappearance.

This part is fun- you kind of mess up your work by sanding it with a coarse piece of sandpaper, especially on the edges:


Before I began painting the sign, I put one thin coat of spray sealant on the sides to be painted. It smooths the surface a bit, and also prevents your paint pen work from soaking into the balsa.


Sealing the base stain before decoration

Time to paint!

For this project, I tried to use my “craft” level paint pens. Painting balsa will TEAR UP your good pen nibs, so beware. You can use stencils, copy fonts, or just freehand it like I did (groovy, dude). I thought it would be good to give a simple surf report:

“Surf’s Up”img_6002


“It’s flat”.



I used pens from wide size down to micro size, and you can go nuts for donuts too. If you are a surfer or skater who doesn’t own a set of paint pens,

WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?!?! You need to try this bowl of happy, kids.


“Painters” paint pens are ok for this project- don’t use your GOOD pens that you use on your Surfboard!

Of course, once I finished up the design, I sealed it one more time with the spray, in a ventilated area, with a mask and goggles preferably, unless you’re into that sort of thing. Then the next steps will be rough for you to follow. Yikes.


What the hell does that say???

This sign needed a hanger, so I used some nice off white cotton macrame cord that looks like nautical rope. You can also use hemp or twine, just don’t make it too thin if you want the double overhand frayed knot decoration peeking out at the bottom between each half. I did this on each end, then lined up the hanger and glued in between the two halves. You can clamp these together, or put heavy objects on it, like I did.



Yep, they’re big paperweights now.

After allowing the glue-up to dry like this, it’s ready to go.




Lemon face :..(

I hope this gives her some painting stoke. It’s a stokeless desert around here since Matthew. Come back fun waves!