When I had my first motorcycle, I couldn’t wait to have a helmet that stood out from my friends. I was tired of going from store to store and finding the same designs everywhere. That’s when the idea to customize my own helmet came to mind. There was, however, no definitive way for me to do a complete paint job on my helmet because I did not know how to go about it. That’s how I ended up doing my research on the amazing 7 step process of how to paint a motorcycle helmet.
Here is what I found out.
- Painting a motorcycle helmet is an everyday DIY that you can learn and perfect.
- You can start a business where you paint helmets at a fee, or sell your ready-made designs.
- Not all helmets can be painted, so it’s important to know which ones can and the ones that can’t.
- Not all paints are good for your helmet. Some can actually corrode it, rendering it unsafe for use.
Now let’s get to the real stuff. If you haven’t guessed it yet, painting a motorcycle helmet is so much fun. But there is another side to it that I thought you should know. That is the safety side. Like any other DIY painting projects, a motorcycle helmet paint job requires some safety precautions.
Your Safety First
Don’t worry, I’ll get to the steps once we are all safe and good to go.
Don’t let this DIY project compromise on the safety of your helmet. If not done well, some of the steps explained below can weaken the protective shell of the helmet. That is why some manufacturers insist on leaving the motorcycle helmet as it was when you bought it (but we know that’s impossible for now). Anyway, there are some helmets currently on the market that are marked as good for painting.
Some of the paints and thinners used in repainting helmets are thought to compromise on the quality of the helmet, thereby exposing a motorcycle rider to injury in case they are involved in a crash. However, the good news is that there are paints and primers that are friendly to your helmet’s shell and pose no real threat.
If you are not sure whether you have the right primer and paint, consult a professional first. I always insist on using water paint as it is the safest option. Also, ensure that the sandpaper you use to sand off the shell is very fine. Otherwise, you will scratch the helmet and the results will not be as good as you thought they would be.
Finally to the steps. So, here’s what you’ll need for the job.
- A raincoat
- Transparent goggles
- An old newspaper
- A piece of fine sandpaper
- Sticking plaster
- Flexible stencils
- Paint spray
- Water paint
7 Step Process on How to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet
First, look for a well-ventilated room or a good spot in the open, but make sure you choose a place where dust won’t easily get to your helmet. Then, bring out all the things you need and have them within your reach. Now, put on the raincoat and the clear/transparent goggles.
This will prevent the paint from splashing on your clothes and eyes. If it does, you might as well discard the clothes because paint doesn’t wash off quickly. Your eyes could really get hurt if they got any contact with the paint.
After everything is set, get the old newspaper and spread it down on the ground. Place the helmet on the newspaper and make sure it is well seated on the ground or surface on which you’ll work on. Clean the helmet and make sure there is no dust or grease on it.
Gently sand the shell of the motorcycle helmet so that the paint job can adhere to the surface properly. Wipe off the dust and use the sticking plaster to cover the areas on the helmet that you don’t want to come into contact with the paint in the next step.
The third step involves using the paint spray or painter’s airbrush. The reason I insisted on water paint is that it doesn’t pose any threat to the protective quality of the helmet. Work on the motorcycle helmet according to your preferred art. Let the paint rest and leave for at least 25 minutes for it to dry up.
This is the point where your artistic skills really matter. After the paint has dried up well, use the markers to sketch the skeleton of your desired picture. If you are not that good in drawing, feel free to trace it from a printed design onto the motorcycle helmet.
Make sure the skeleton is legible enough for you to retrace back the lines without straining. Once the skeleton is done, use the paintbrushes and water paint to work around the skeleton that you have drawn. Take your time to have a good job done.
After you are satisfied that you have done your best, allow the paint to dry. Leave it for 3 hours in a dust free place. Don’t put it in the sun to dry as best results come when it dries in a cool shade.
6. Final Spray
To finish up your artwork, spray the helmet with transparent/colorless paint. This will give the motorcycle helmet a smooth shiny finish. Remember to allow the final spray to dry well. A well-executed customization will often come out as if the helmet was brand new.
Now remove the sticking plaster and boast after work well done. Take some precious photos of the new helmet because and start making a gallery of your own customized helmets. I promise you that this will not be the last helmet you’re painting.
One more thing that I would like to add is that; the best motorcycle makeovers are done on helmets that are plain colored. The best helmet to customize with new paint is usually a plain white or a plain black. Even so, it is possible to pull off an amazing job on a helmet that had another design.
So, yeah! This is the big secret on how to paint a motorcycle helmet.