How to Recycle Fins and Boards into Art

Australian artist Zachary Bennett-Brook is inspired by his Indigenous heritage. Natives of most countries were historically closer to the land than we are today, and we could all stand to learn a thing or two from their traditions. Primarily, they didn’t have as many things as we do and they didn’t produce as much waste. For his part, Zachary is creating art out of found and recycled materials, from his other inspiration, surfing. Boards break, fins snap, but the materials are still good for something. Take a look at this step-by-step guide for the next time you come across some cool broken shapes you aren’t sure what to do with. 

recycled surfboard art

recycled surfboard art

1. Find a surfboard. 

I often use recycled, old or damaged surfboards as my blank canvases to paint my artworks on. I start by cleaning and removing all wax, any fins and the tail pad. I do this by scrapping most of the wax off then pouring boiling hot water on the boards to remove any excess wax, which was left behind. Fins can be used to also paint on.

recycled surfboard art

recycled surfboard art

2. Connect the pieces

Once dry I then begin to put the board back together if it is snapped. I do this by using a strong high quality electrical or gaffer tape, which I wrap around the snapped area to fix the two snapped half back together. Depending on the damage, I sometimes stick timber dowel into the foam and wedge the two halves back together, which provides extra support.

recycled surfboard art

3. Papier Mache

After building up the layers of tape over any cracks and strengthening the board, I begin to use a Papier Mache technique to cover the board so it is ready to paint. I layer the board with numerous sheets of Papier Mache on both the front and back. For this, I create a thick glue/paste substance from mixing wallpaper glue and water together until it becomes thick. I then paint it onto the board with a paint brush and apply shredded paper building up the layers.

recycled surfboard art

4. Gloss

Once both sides are dry, I use a black gloss paint as a base coat and spray both sides of the board with roughly 3 to 4 layers of black spray paint.

recycled surfboard art

5. Paint

When the board is completely dry, I begin to paint my design. I use a range of different coloured paints depending on the colour scheme of the board. Before I start a board, I plan a design in my head and get creative with painting when I reach this stage. When the final design is complete, I let the paint rest for a day or two to make sure it is completely dry, then I use a clear gloss spray to finish the board, which gives it a nice shine and finish. When the clear coat has dried the surfboard is ready to be displayed for everyone to enjoy.

See more of Zachary Bennett-Brook’s indigenous surf art here: http://www.saltwaterdreamtime.com