I've noticed a lot of threads popping up asking how to paint. I figured i'd put together a fun "how to" for you guys. I've been painting for 13 years now (not only bicycles) so i've typed out the easiest method to do it, this method is one that EVERYONE can do.
Before we start, here's an important reminder. Spray paint is not durable, there's no way to argue it. Spray paint was meant for looks and not durability. You will scratch your frame/parts after you paint them, it's gonna happen and the only way to avoid it is to put your bike in a glass case and never touch it. I use a lot of clear on my frame and main parts to help reduce the damage but the only way to scratch proof your bike is to powdercoat it or raw it, that's the only way.
lets get started, kiddies.
what you little bastards are gonna need for your new project:
-Sandpaper (220, 320, 600, 800, 1000+)
Do yourself a favor and get GOOD sandpaper from an autoparts store, get the "wet/dry" sandpaper.
-Green pads (equivalent to like 220 sandpaper it is)
-Rubbing alcohol, you'll see why
-GET A GOOD PRIMER!! Not that cheap shit from Walmart or wherever you Non-U.S. residents buy all your shit
-GET GOOD PAINT!! Stay away from the cheap spray paint, you know what stuff i'm talking aboot. Get some Krylon, it's good shit but go to an Autoparts store that has 3M paints or Dupont paints, they stick better, dry better and can take a little bit of beating compared to regular spray paint
-GET GOOD CLEAR!! I know they make cheap clear, it sucks and you'll hate yourself
-Get some Aircraft stripper, you don't NEED it but i highly recommend it.
REALLY, REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT PROTIP: KEEP THE NOZZLE/TIP OF ALL YOUR SPRAY CANS CLEAN, PLEASE DO THIS. Keep a q-tip with some rubbing alcohol on it and clean the nozzle every few minutes, if that shit clogs up then you're fucked and you'll get huge paint globs all over your bike and you don't want that.
here's the steps to paint, quick fast but never hurry
1. disassemble the frame, like everything has to come off
2. aircraft stripper, use it and use a lot of it, i mean use it until ALL the paint is off.
3. green pad, scuff the frame up but make sure everything is smooth, the primer will cover the light scratches
4. rubbing alcohol, go over the whole frame with rags and rubbing alcohol, this will take off everything after the stripper
5. hang the frame up with metal clothes hangers, you'll figure that out
6. tape everything off that you don't want painted, self explanatory
7. primer, light coats, the first one should just be a dusting, you wanna make the surface tacky
8. 10 minutes after the 1st light coat, hit it with a heavier coat but DON"T MAKE IT THICK!
9. your 3rd coat should be to make sure there isn't any bare spots of metal
10. this is when you start using the paint, 3 coats of primer should be good, if you have to use 1500 grit sandpaper to take off any imperfections in the primer, put another light coat of primer on if you have to do this.
11. first coat is the base coat pretty much, make it light, this is why i use white primer when i paint with anything but white, if you paint in white then primer in grey.
12. second coat is a little heavier, cover up a lot of the bare spots but make sure it's not caked on there
13. third coat should be your final one, some people do 4-5 coats, that's not necessary if you use good spray paint.
14. let that shit dry for like, 16 hours. leave it hung up in room temperature conditions, too hot will make it tacky and too cold won't let it dry.
15. clear coat, the first coat is your light coat, every coat after i like to go a little heavier...i mean not heavy heavy to where it drips but you want the clear coat to be the thickest out of everything, can never have too thick of a clear coat... i like to let that shit dry for an hour in between coats. I seriously like to use about 6 coats of clear.
16. once your clear is dry (allow a full 24 hours, guys, don't rush this!) then you can hit it with a 2000 grit sandpaper to get all the garbage out of the clear that fell in when the bike was drying...like hair, dust, bugs, fingerprints, etc.
after all this you'll have a nice frame, i've painted so many frames in the last few years that i'm a pro, seriously i do this shit as a side job.
some random notes:
1. wear shitty clothes and shoes
2. buy gloves, latex works great and it'll save your skin from the stripper (lol, latex never fails with strippers, bro) it will also keep you from leaving fingerprints on the bare frame before you primer it.
3. spray 6-10 inches away from the frame, don't be all up on the frame because you'll drip that shit..
4. watch for the tip on the can to get clogged randomly, keep the tip clean or you'll get large spray drops all over the frame and it'll look like shit.
5. PROTECT YOUR THREADS!!! Don't let paint get in any holes that a bolt needs to be threaded into, so if you need to go to Lowes and get some grub screws, i just break off the heads of q-tips and shove them in the holes and then remove them with tweezers later.
Of course there are other people who have their own methods and they work as well, but my method comes out nearly perfect as long as you follow the steps.
use this stripper:
here's some shit i've done:
metal flake on a Sunday stem
i have some more on my old computer but honestly i don't feel like firing that piece of shit up, lol.