Painting a sail graphic? - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 08-25-2011 Thread Starter
1968 Pearson Wanderer 30
ilikerust's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 212
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Painting a sail graphic?

I just recently had a brand-new main sail made by SailCare. We tossed around some potential graphics for the sail, but I finally decided the cost was prohibitive (given what I'm already spending fixing up my old 1968 Pearson, not that SailCare's prices for its services were excessive).

I've seen sail graphics that appear to have been painted on. I've got more than a little bit of artistic/creative ability, so I'm considering hand-painting on a big sail graphic.

I'm wondering what paint would be good to use - I obviously want something that will last a while and withstand some sun and sea, but I also want something that won't harm the fabric of the sail. I'm assuming that a solvent-based paint, such as Rustoleum, would be bad.

I've sent an e-mail to SailCare, asking this same question, but I figured I'd see if anyone here has any experience with applying your own, home-made sail graphic.


- Bill T.
- Richmond, VA

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
ilikerust is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 08-25-2011
Senior Member
RichH's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,319
Thanks: 40
Thanked 235 Times in 222 Posts
Rep Power: 18
Since most painted sails are woven dacron or laminate materials and which are virtually chemically inert, 'paint' used on such sails is only a temporary proposition ... ultimately resulting in flaking off and cracking, etc. of the grafix. Thats why the numbers and manufacturer insignia are not painted on sails.

An alternative would be the use of a adhesive backed lightweight 'insignia cloth' - the adhesive backed cloth that is used for sail numbers and insignias ... if the graphix is not too large. Such can be applied then the edges oversewn to keep the cloth in place.

The best time to do extensive graphics is when the sail is being assembled/sewn, then you can insert properly dyed sail fabric, do the necessary 'applique', etc. on relatively small unassembled panels/pieces ....... VERY hard to do on a fully sewn sail because of the 'bulk' under the sewing arm of a sewing machine.

BTW that 'eagle' on the spinnaker on my avatar was made by 'slashing out' the panels, and inserting 'the black' to make a uniform panel with aligned 'bias' to the cloth, ... the 'details' are adhesive-backed and sewn down 'insignia cloth'. You have to get the 'fiber alignment' correct with the inserted so that the panels stretch the same ... otherwise you will get 'puckers' when the sail is fully windloaded.

Last edited by RichH; 08-25-2011 at 12:33 PM.
RichH is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 4 Old 08-25-2011
Barquito's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2,740
Thanks: 1
Thanked 55 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Maybe not such a good idea on a new sail, but, I love to see more expressive boats out there.
Attached Thumbnails
Barquito is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 4 Old 08-25-2011
Senior Member
overbored's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Dana Point, Ca
Posts: 1,856
Thanks: 1
Thanked 120 Times in 119 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Sails can be painted or more correctly inked. there are severeal ways that it can be done. it can be painted on with a brush or roller they can be slik screened. they also can be dyed or printed with a dye. to do dye sublimation printing on a sail it is done before it is sewn together. some have used the dye with air brush. it does matter which sail material you are using as the dyes and inks are designed for the specific material. heres a spinnaker that was hand painted.
Attached Thumbnails

overbored is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
nmea output from Raymarine Graphic j34035 Gear & Maintenance 19 07-12-2016 05:15 AM
Beneteau Horse logo graphic jasonmaude Beneteau 8 05-15-2011 07:46 PM
By Amanda Callahan Staff Writer (Banner Graphic) NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-17-2006 01:15 AM
Painting a sail? danwalsh Gear & Maintenance 1 01-15-2001 07:27 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome