Whether it’s for fixing up an old dartboard or simply giving it a new look, many people have questioned whether it is possible to paint a dartboard yourself, including myself. After all, no matter how well you take care of your dartboard, eventually, it will become worn out from all the darts that have pierced through it.
Can you paint a dartboard? The answer is a sure yes. However, it is not as simple as painting on paper as you would want to make sure that the paint does not chip off or fade away. Also, the paint to use should be compatible with the materials the dartboard is made of. Otherwise, the quality of the dartboard may change and end up unusable.
Acrylic latex paint is the most common type of paint used to paint dartboards. Besides, it’s popular for having the best quality over other latex paints. It is water-based and is 100% fully acrylic latex. However, acrylic latex is not the only type of paint you can use. Some other alternatives are oil, acrylic, and latex paints.
But before anything else, you need to get familiar with the components of your dartboard. Is it the classic cork dartboard? Or is it something else? By determining this, you would get an idea of effectively painting its surface without damaging its quality.
There are 4 types of materials used in making dartboards: classic cork, plastic, wood, and bristle, and each one of them have their own precautions to note for. A lot of times, certain dartboards will need something more than the plain old acrylic alone.
Before the actual painting process, you need to coat a classic cork dartboard with primer to preserve its natural texture and surface. Cork dartboards are made up of highly porous material, and because of this, paint alone will harden the surface as it will fill the cork holes. In this case, your darts will not be able to pierce through the board and will just bounce off its surface, making it unusable.
Afterward, section the areas by covering masking or painter’s tape over the areas you don’t want to paint yet. Consider using an airbrush or spray paint instead of a brush as it gives you a cleaner and more even finish.
Food coloring and clothing dye is also a valid and practical alternative according to most people. You wouldn’t need to prime your board with these, as these are made specifically for porous materials. Plus, it’s safe to use, just like how you would with paint; you cover all areas you don’t wish to paint, then apply the dye in layers until you achieve the ideal opacity.
Plastic dartboards are easier to paint compared to others as their holes are already set in place. However, it is best to be careful as you might accidentally fill them up. Using airbrushes and spray paint is the best way to avoid clogging up the holes.
Avoid using oil paint as this will not set well on plastic and might bead up. Remember to cover up the areas you don’t want to paint, and to keep the area clean, lay down the board on cloth or newspaper.
You can use brushes if you prefer, but this may eat up more time than needed. Ideally, small and narrow brushes should be used for the details. This method is best for meticulous people, so if you aren’t the patient type, I suggest you opt for the spray method.
Paint works well on wood or paper dartboard. However, these may glaze or harden its surface, just like with cork dartboards. Because of these, you would need to incorporate primer into the process as well, but in this case, the process may be a little more complicated as you would need to do several layers with mild sanding after every layer.
The number of layers you do depends on your preferred texture, which may leave a rough texture once dry. After doing so, you may proceed with painting the board without affecting its overall surface quality.
Bristle dartboards are like cork dartboards which are made of porous material that hardens with latex, acrylic, and oil paints. These dartboards are manufactured with hemp or sisal fibers, and unfortunately, although primer work on cork dartboards, this will not help with bristle dartboards.
Thus, you just have to go for food and fabric dyes instead of paint altogether. This won’t be a problem, especially when these dyes are a lot more practical and easy, not to mention there’s no need to prime the surface.
When the time comes when your dartboard has become too worn out to be used in regular games, instead of throwing it out, how about repurposing it? The most popular way to reuse an old dartboard is by turning it into a side table for your new darts board or a unique piece of furniture for your home.
However, there are a few things you need to consider before deciding to do so. First is that you cannot put wet or objects that may sweat on darts tables. The darts table should be kept dry at all times as it may deform, bulge, and get damaged if damp. Keeping the dartboard as it is will prevent you from placing hot food or cold beverages on it.
If you ask me, that kind of negates the purpose of a table doesn’t it? Thus, to turn it into a multi-purpose table, you need to follow some preparatory steps to protect the sisal fibers from water. Here are two ways to do so:
- By covering the dartboard with Plexiglas or glass
- By layering with epoxy resin
By following either of the two you get to seal the fibers and enjoy the dartboard at its full glory. It is best to air dry the dartboard for at least 24 hours before following either of the two to assure that no moisture is kept in it.
A lot of people would rather give away, sell or simply throw away their old dartboards, but for some people who value their boards, it is best to use them for something else. Luckily, aside from making a darts table, there are also other ways to use old dartboards if you don’t want to give it away or sell it.
Here are some other creative ways to repurpose your old dartboards:
- Like how you can create a new table from an old dartboard, you can also create a darts stool to match.
- Use it as a darts holder where you can store your darts. This is great for people with more than one dart set.
- Turn it into a food or beverage tray by following the same steps as making a darts table.
- Turn it into a unique and decorative piece that will give our area a certain spice to it.
Painting a dartboard may not be easy, but it’s not an impossible feat. In fact, you can turn it into a fun activity with your family and friends. If your dartboard is beyond saving, you could always repurpose them.