Painting Artwork on Fins

I have some white FCS fins and am very bored with no surf in Florida. I decided I wanted to paint something on them. I’m just going to clean them with acetone, paint with acrylic, and seal with an acrylic spray. Does anyone else do this? What would you put on your fins? It seems like an easy way to further customize your board.

I might consider using RIT dye. It can be used to dye the plastic of a lacrosse head so it would undoubtedly work on a plastic fin.

acetone can react with those plastic fins. Clean em off with a ‘pickle’. you can paint on them, but dont be too bummed if the paint chips or rubbs off in some spots after time.

I tried painting the K-fins cause of the stupid dots on them.

The paint I used didn’t work that well, it was that new Krylon Fusion spraypaint, that supposedly bonds to plastic. It covered them well, but it has started flaking off, you mentioned spraying acrylic, that might stop the chipping? If it would then the Fusion paint is great, its sprays powdery though.

It is amazing what a flat spell in FL will do to you, that’s when I did mine.

Hey Sean,

Go for it. You sound like you know what you are doing, and when it comes to stuff like that there are no rules. Even if it doesn’t stick, you will learn something. Have fun.

I won’t be painting any masterpieces on them, so chipping won’t be much of a heartbreaker. It just seems logical to me that a clear acrylic spray might preserve it longer, since you can paint on a gloss coat and seal it with acrylic.

If it all works out maybe I can make a few bucks doing custom fin art for friends. What kind of stuff would you like to see on a fin? Aquatic scenery? Basic pinlining? Gradients? Just thinking out loud…

Not big white dots or blue dots, that is THE dumbest thing I have seen.

But seriously, pinlines would be sweet in my opinion, just because it goes with the fin more than say a scene or characters. A mix of gradients and pinlines would look really nice too. All my opinion though.

Good luck.

If it all goes well I will post pictures and descriptions of what I did for all interested parties.

In the water and from a distance bold stuff would be good. Up close fine stuff would look good. Apart from that it’s your art, do what you like.


Go for it.

But…in Florida, with bright colors, aren’t you just trolling for Bull Sharks?

You can paint fins with no problem.Make sure you rough them up with some red scotchbrite pads so the paint will stick.We have used acryic spray cans,acrylic paint,tempera and india ink with good results.Finish of with a couple of coats of clear acrylic.I even guilded one (gold leaf)…it looked really nice.

LeeDD, when the surf is low I go out, painted in bright colors, with a 10-inch machete, hunting for sharks.

Not to mention that a lot of boards have bright paint jobs anyway.

We have painted a few FCS fins to match a clients paint job but no matter what we do eventually they scratch up! Looks good for a little while anyway.

I came up with this concept. The bottom of the board I use is painted in a gradient - the blue color in the tail to the light green in the nose. I put the blue at the base of the fin so it will look like it kind of grows out of the bottom of the board.

I will dye the entire fin the green color with RIT Dye. Then I will dye the base of the fin the dark blue, moving the fin up and down in the dye to get the gradient effect. Next I will cover everything I do NOT want black with hot glue. Then I will dye the entire fin black, peeling or scraping off the dried glue last.

This is just a theory, of course. There will probably be a lot more black space than is depicted in this concept illustration.


edit Alternatively to the hot glue method, I could just randomly draw black lines with something like a Posca pen, but it might be difficult to get the same look: just an easier avenue to go down.

Another easy effect is using string bags, onion bags, orange bags, whatever. Some leave some really good patterns.

Good luck with the gradient… sounds like it might be a little more complicated than it seems. You might consider investing in an airbrush.

BTW… I’ve done sprays on a couple of fins and protected in acrylic… it doesn’t last long at all. You might try to find something a little more robust.

I decided to use dye rather than acrylics. The gradient is easy to do and the colors won’t fade except over a very long period of time with UV exposure.

I’m using on a method from E-Lacrosse.Com, explained in detail in their article: “Unlocking the Mystery of the Dye” (

I’ve done something like the dye job I’ve described and conceptualized (minus the final steps with the hot glue and black dye) to a lacrosse head of mine, so I hope it will easily translate to a plastic fin. I think that I will be avoiding a lot of the problems people may have had in the past, adding colors and designs to their fins, by using dye rather than paint.

Is lacrosse sticks made from the same type of material as an fcs fin? If so I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Seems pretty cool. I might have to try it myself. Thanks Sean.

The plastic in a lacrosse head flexes much more easily than that of a fin, so my guess is that a fin is more dense (? true ?). I haven’t tried it yet, but probably will in the next week or so. Maybe I’ll leave the fin in the dye longer than normal to allow better saturation.

Oh, and for those wondering, RIT Dye is fabric dye (though it works on [at least most] plastic). It is available at JoAnn’s Fabric in Central Florida and I’d imagine a number of other fabrics/crafts type stores. It’s also available online from the manufacturer at


Sean, the board is solid opaque, and doesn’t reflect to eyes underwater very well.

The fin, on the other hand, would be close to transparent or at least translucent, so light will show thru from the other side, and project a luminiscent image to any creature below the surface of the water.

Two totally different animals here.

But if you like to use your machete’s and samori swords, go for it. You might actually attract some sharks away from the other surfers.

Don’t know if you are a fisherman, but the best lures are florescent colored, slivered in lighting effect, and luminescent.

Hey, it’s your life to live, don’t listen to the naysayers!