Whether you’re trying to save the costs, or you just like the idea and challenge of doing everything yourself, nothing beats the feeling of customizing your own bike to match your unique style and taste. Painting a motorcycle is one easy way to change your bike to your preferred color and look while also helping to take care of rust, minor dents and old paint that needs to be repainted. You can do it yourself and save the costs but you may also consider having an expert do the job for you. Well if you're not opting for the latter, then here's a guide for you to go through.
Choose an ideal painting location
Choose a painting location that is in the open or enclosed. If it's enclosed, line the chosen place with plastic sheets along the walls to protect the walls. You can either choose to hammer with nails or use masking tape to keep the sheets in place. To protect yourself from the spray paint, get yourself a fan and place it in a strategic position to direct the paint and smell out of the room.
Keep the enclosed room lit up well by adding extra lights. Place lights on the floor and around your motorcycle as well because proper lighting ensures you see every angle of your motorcycle and see what you are doing clearly. If you're on a budget, the opt for reflective mirrors or aluminium sheets on the wall as they both has the same effect of increasing a room's brightness.
Prep your motorcycle
Get your motorcycle ready for painting by removing and setting aside the parts you want to re-paint. Arrange all the tools you will need for the dismantling process neatly next to you on the floor or on a table. If you have any parts that you do not want to accidentally spray on then a better alternative is to cover those parts with thick paper which paint an't get past. You can stick it on areas like headlights, taillights, the chair, wheels using a masking tape. The tank is the easiest part to begin with as it is flat and broad making it easy paint. You can use a sandpaper to rub off the old paint by scrubbing it in circular motion until the metal surface remains bare. It is a very tiresome process so prepare take breaks in between and switch sides of the arms.
Smooth the surface
Apply a layer of body filler (body filler is a kind of primer like substance that you have to apply before you paint on it) on the surface you have just sanded. Make sure the body filler is well mixed to make it liberated and easy to apply. Re- sand the surface of the tank again once the body filter has dried. When you are satisfied with the smoothness, move on to paint the tank. This process applies to all the other parts of your motorcycle.
Time to paint your motorcycle!
Before you actually start painting, make sure you arm yourself with a gas mask to filter the air that you breath as painting fumes are really toxic for your health!
Firstly, apply two coats of epoxy primer to make sure that the metal surface of your motorcycle is now protected against moisture and corrosion. Make sure you follow specific instructions on the epoxy primer’s packaging and go on to mix the primer with hardener. Spray on 4-5 layers for superlative results.
First spray lightly to cover around 40 percent of the surface. Spray a second and third time lightly to cover up to 90 percent of the metallic surface. For the fourth and fifth times spray heavily to cover the rest of the metallic surface.
The first to third layers will take around half an hour or more (please read the manufacturer’s specific instructions on the can) to dry. Repeat the procedure for each layer sprayed. After spraying your fourth and fifth layer, it may take up to 1 to 2 days to dry completely. The longer it takes to dry the better the results of your painting so be patient and let it dry completely before you colour it!
When your prime colours have dried to satisfaction, for a period of at least one and a half days, (the longer the better) choose a colour of your own liking and style that you are going to use to paint your motorcycle. Before you start the final painting, check to ensure that the surface is smooth to allow for the paint to be spread evenly.
Apply a clear coat and you're finished!
Polish the facade by using a fine gritted wet and dry sandpaper. Reapply the clear coat after sanding to finish on your painting and you’re done.
A clear coat takes one to two days to dry or more days (up to five days) if you want better results. Do not try to speed up the drying process of the clear coat as a clear coat is the actual finish of your painting. It acts to wrap all your painting to make your bike look brand new and ready for its first ride.