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How to properly spray paint your bike

8/27/2012 6:21 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/11/2014 10:45 AM

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.

8/27/2012 6:36 PM

:D Nice.

Check out my youtube channel!! http://www.youtube.com/user/mikel8149

8/27/2012 6:45 PM

So if I were to ship my frame all the way over to you, you could paint it and send it back? :D

Latest Bike Check/Update





Bought from: adam1234, tomdon (2), oscarbmx, the balt, smokesmokesmoke

8/27/2012 7:19 PM

lol, yeah, i could, i've done it a few times

8/27/2012 7:36 PM

Pretty thorough, bro! The stripper we use on landing gear and stuff will eat right through latex gloves though. I'm not sure about the stuff in a can. I would recommend the thicker butyl rubber gloves. Great instructions!

Refs: Tito24, RiverSideRider, Stussy, Nettyspaghetti, Daniel24, Freddydapice, BrokenBMX, SuperstarDK, HardBMX_Tim. There's more, but I'm too lazy to look them up, haha.

8/27/2012 7:43 PM

i couldn't use the vinyl and stripper joke...haha.

seriously tho, stripper will eat through pretty much any thin layer of latex, rubber, vinyl, etc...

8/27/2012 7:52 PM

Also kids, don't use stripper as lube for fapping!

Refs: Tito24, RiverSideRider, Stussy, Nettyspaghetti, Daniel24, Freddydapice, BrokenBMX, SuperstarDK, HardBMX_Tim. There's more, but I'm too lazy to look them up, haha.

8/27/2012 7:55 PM

Chuck8273 wrote: Also kids, don't use stripper as lube for fapping!

Yeah! It can melt that layer of foreskin right off!

Latest Bike Check/Update





Bought from: adam1234, tomdon (2), oscarbmx, the balt, smokesmokesmoke

8/27/2012 8:08 PM

This is exactly the steps(I think I saw a thread that had similar steps) I used to raw my bars and forks minus the priming and painting and green pad scuffing..

My clear is bubbling, should I have scuffed it? I'm thinking this is where I went wrong. Any suggestions on how to fix without having to strip them again?

8/27/2012 8:43 PM

what clear did you use? You need to scuff your bars for the clear to stick to it.

8/27/2012 9:02 PM

sbc785 wrote: what clear did you use? You need to scuff your bars for the clear to stick to it.

Valspar satin

8/27/2012 10:02 PM

don't use a satin clear unless you want a matte finish to your paint, which you wouldn't wanna do over raw either.

8/28/2012 1:20 AM

Nice....I painted my eastern two tone Orange n white not too long ago and did it all the same way you described except for the alcohol. Gotta remember that next time.

Refs~ scamhype x 3, pikachu, kroller, Ivan, kingcitybikeco, powerhouse, and traded w/ Jr Faw &Kevin Burnette
Sold 24" complete to some kid on here Chris....something I think.

8/28/2012 1:48 AM

isnowyaznV2 wrote: So if I were to ship my frame all the way over to you, you could paint it and send it back? :D

i can paint your frame too, and shipping wouldnt be so bad! haha. well, i used the same exact method here. I just think painting is so fun lol. I've painted at least 15 bike frames, and they have all came out great using this method.

8/28/2012 2:03 AM

sbc785 wrote: i couldn't use the vinyl and stripper joke...haha.

seriously tho, stripper will eat through pretty much any thin layer of latex, rubber, vinyl, etc...

You could say bitches like when you use rubbers.

Good job. My frames getting pretty scratched and the stock pain aint all the great.

8/28/2012 7:55 AM

next i will be Plasti-dipping a frame...i don't expect amazing results but it will be entertaining to try

8/28/2012 8:11 AM

sbc785 wrote: don't use a satin clear unless you want a matte finish to your paint, which you wouldn't wanna do over raw either.

That's what I wanted, a dull bare metal look, I got the look I wanted but it's starting to bubble after about a month of having done it.

8/28/2012 8:13 AM

sbc785 wrote: next i will be Plasti-dipping a frame...i don't expect amazing results but it will be entertaining to try

That should last a good while, how would you compare that to powder coating?

8/28/2012 8:16 AM

sbc785 wrote: next i will be Plasti-dipping a frame...i don't expect amazing results but it will be entertaining to try

andrew rs wrote: That should last a good while, how would you compare that to powder coating?

i've plasti-dipped wheels for my car before and it worked quite well, i just know that plasti-dip doesn't like too much abuse, it'll start peeling.

8/28/2012 8:28 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/28/2012 8:29 AM

Excellent how-to. Bookmarked. It should also be noted that gloves will keep oils from your skin from getting on the bare metal.

8/28/2012 8:30 AM

Fondue wrote: Excellent how-to. Bookmarked. It should also be noted that gloves will keep oils from your skin from getting on the bare metal.

very true, which is also why i recommend wiping the frame down with rubbing alcohol before you primer it, the oil from your fingers can get on the frame and the primer won't stick right.

8/28/2012 11:27 AM

There's also a how to in the How To section if anyone has any more questions about it

trails are not skateparks, they exist solely from the work and dedication of local riders. so next time you start complaining about not having local trails to ride, you only need look at yourself.
Bike check?

8/28/2012 2:52 PM

my way kicks more ass haha jk

8/28/2012 2:59 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/28/2012 3:04 PM

I think this should be stickied. It's much more thorough and descriptive than the other one. Plus it has more pics. Thanks for the upload; I'm sure it'll help people out.
EDIT: Do you have any idea how to do a translucent paint job? I think trans blue and trans red frames look awesome, but I don't know if they can be done with spray paint or if they have to be done professionally.

Refs: element4all, kroller

8/28/2012 3:06 PM

Refs: element4all, kroller

8/28/2012 4:07 PM

SIRE wrote: I think this should be stickied. It's much more thorough and descriptive than the other one. Plus it has more pics. Thanks for the upload; I'm sure it'll help people out.
EDIT: Do you have any idea how to do a translucent paint job? I think trans blue and trans red frames look awesome, but I don't know if they can be done with spray paint or if they have to be done professionally.

they make translucent paint or they have paint that you mix into the clearcoat and you spray it over a white or silver base coat...i've done some translucent pink over silver before and it gives it the candy look.

8/28/2012 4:14 PM

Does it really matter what color primer you use? Just wondering ahha. I'm getting some frame off this guy and I want to paint it black, as long with forks. But another question, would you recommend doing that same teqnique when painting a rim? I've painted before and I'm good but it's never all thatt great on rims.

Reps:JakeSalbert,Stephan.yupthatsme,bmxrider4lyfe,cb4130,mactive818,Broughton,Dream,Kymike
~I have more reps, I just can't remember exactly who...lmao

"Because gray is all there ever is nothing is ever black and white.”-Tom Dugan

8/28/2012 4:17 PM

not really, you won't find anything but grey primer in cans anyway unless you go to a specialty paint store. Some people recommend using "self-etching primer", i don't use it because i don't really feel it's needed.

8/28/2012 4:29 PM

I see, but what about rims? I'm buying this profile wheel with a orange shadow rim. Don't bitch, i just don't care. If it's a nice paint job I'm satisfied. Lol

Reps:JakeSalbert,Stephan.yupthatsme,bmxrider4lyfe,cb4130,mactive818,Broughton,Dream,Kymike
~I have more reps, I just can't remember exactly who...lmao

"Because gray is all there ever is nothing is ever black and white.”-Tom Dugan

8/28/2012 5:03 PM

bmx wrote: I see, but what about rims? I'm buying this profile wheel with a orange shadow rim. Don't bitch, i just don't care. If it's a nice paint job I'm satisfied. Lol

are you buying it from here? If so i know what wheel it is, lol.

to paint the wheel, just scuff the paint, tape off all your spokes, spray it with primer and then do a few coats of whatever color you want and then follow up with clear coat. Wheels are harder than frames and components just because of the spokes and hub that you'll need to tape off or make a cardboard guard around the entire wheel to keep paint from getting it where you don't want it.

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