Many people look at motorcycles as art, whether you like it or not. They are an exciting form of transportation that looks cool and extremely practical.
If you ride a motorcycle, chances are that you’ve thought about painting your helmet—but maybe you never actually did it. But here’s the thing: If you’re not careful, it can be tough to get your paint job just right!
In this article, we’ll walk through a step-by-step process on how to paint a helmet such as a German motorcycle helmet. Or you can go with an old vintage style.. We’ll start by talking about the process itself—and we’ll show you precisely what steps you need to take to create the perfect helmet paint job.
How to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet?
Helmets are often overlooked, but they are a big part of keeping yourself safe on the road. They’re about more than protecting your head, though.
Your helmet should reflect your personality and personal sense of style. It should be a reflection of who you are and what you represent. So, assuming you already have a design concept, here are the things you need to do to paint or customize your helmet.
Prepare the following:
- Airbrush or spray gun
- 400-grit sandpaper
- Matte spray paint
- Clear Coat
- Primer and a flat black quick coat
- Masking tape
- Scotch-Brite abrasive pad
- Latex Gloves
1. If you plan to paint your helmet, you should carefully select quality paint.
Some paints contain chemicals that may harm the base material of your helmet. Only buy colors from reputable outlets, such as those who work closely with the manufacturers of the products they sell.
2. When painting your helmet, always be sure to do so in a clean and safe area.
Therefore, work in a space that isn’t occupied. If you work on a cluttered surface like wood or cardboard, chances are that you’ll have to clean off all the debris before painting, which could take time.
Step 1: Take the helmet apart
You have to disassemble the parts of the helmet before you can start painting them. The screws, the visor, the inner linings, and the strap that goes under your chin need to be taken out first. After removing them from the helmet, keep them away from the painting area. If, however, you cannot remove certain parts of the lining, do some masking before you start painting.
Step 2: Preparing the Helmet
Wash the helmet with water and soap. The goal is to remove any dirt and grease on the helmet surface. Another way to ensure that it is free from oil is to give it a good wipe down of isopropyl alcohol. Wear a pair of latex gloves to avoid contaminating the helmet surface with your fingerprints.
Check the helmet for dents or scratches. You may have to do extra steps to repair these damages before you can start repainting the surface. If the surface is spotless, proceed to the next step. Of course, you need to remove any stickers on the helmet.
Step 3: Getting rid of the old paint and sticker glue
That’s where the 400-grade sandpaper comes in. Rub it on the surface of the helmet thoroughly until you have covered all areas of the helmet exterior. If you fail to do this step, the helmet will look terrible when you’re done. For the best result, run the sandpaper along the grain instead of against it; this ensures that the new paint sticks to the helmet surface.
Step 4: Masking
Masking is necessary to protect the areas you do not want to be touched by the paint. Here, you can use masking tape and old newspapers, scrunch them up into a ball and place them inside the helmet. Use the masking tape to secure them in place.
Step 5: Adding a primer as your first coat
Spray the undercoat to the helmet surface. Once done with the first pass, let it dry overnight. Never apply another coat of paint if the previous one is still wet.
Apply 2 to 3 coats of the primer.
Remember: paper absorbs paint, so do not spray beyond the masking tape; it will stain the helmet lining.
Step 5: Spray a Guide Coat
Apply a quick coat of flat black paint and let it dry. Then, soak a block wrapped in 400-grit sandpaper in warm and soapy water. Carefully sand the helmet down using the block.
The flat black guide coat will tell you if the sanding is even or not. If it’s dark in certain areas, focus there until everything looks even.
Once done, wash the helmet. Use a wax and grease remover on a cloth, and wipe off any dust on the helmet surface.
Step 6: Painting the helmet
Clean the surface of the helmet of any dust particles before you begin.
If you’re using an aerosol spray can, shake it thoroughly. If you’re using a professional spray gun, mix the paints you’re going to use.
Start by spraying away from the area to be painted. Approach it precisely and continuously. To avoid runs, don’t stop in the middle. Stop spraying outside the painted area, then resume when you make the return pass. Repeat this motion from left to right until the entire helmet is coated with paint. Ensure that you have enough paint to cover 3 to 4 coats.
Let the coat dry and apply another one as soon as the previous one is dry. Again, never apply another coat if it’s still wet.
Step 7: Apply a clear coat
Spraying a clear coat on a finished paint project eliminates the need for buffing.
You can apply the clear coat as if you’re applying paint (as instructed above). Apply 2 to 3 layers of clear coat to give it depth, then dry for 24 hours.
Once dried, smooth the helmet using 1500-grade sandpaper to give it an excellent finish.
Step 8: Remove the masking tape
Remove the masking tape along with any debris. Peel back the masking tape and the newspaper lightly, ensuring that you do not damage the freshly applied paint in the process.
Step 9: Reassemble the helmet
When the helmet is completely dried, reinstall the parts you removed, then tighten all the screws. This will ensure that they do not come off during a ride.
This article assumes that you’re just using one color to paint your helmet, hence, the straightforward process. If the design is more complicated, there will be additional steps, such as applying different stencils on various sections. Therefore, the steps will be more detailed, so plan accordingly.