Picture of Bike Painting Tips
I have painted a couple bikes for my friends so I thought I would share some tricks I learned in the process.

Step 1: Frame Prep.

- To strip bike frames completely I use brush–on (not aerosol) Aircraft Stripper. With the brush on variety you can load it on, let it dry and get almost all the paint off in an hour or so. Be careful though, this stuff is EXTREMELY TOXIC!

- If you only want to sand down the current paint, my favorite method is to use 180grit wet/dry sandpaper. I keep a bucket next to me and rinse off the paper when its starts to clog with old paint. The wet sanding cuts through the paint pretty quick but it still takes awhile.

- I tape off all the holes and trim the excess with an exacto. I stuff a roll of newspaper in the seat tube because I’ve seen motorcycle builders do this so I feel cool. Get decent masking tape that sticks well but doesn’t pull off paint. I have found that the blue house painters tape doesn’t stick well enough for detail work but is fine for masking big areas.

- If you can, wait for a warm, dry day. It will help the paint bond well.
franalpo1 year ago

what kinda bike is this? looks like an older cannondale bike

cmuldoon1 year ago
How to get the faded first layer with the design? Would love to see some more detailed instructables on the detailing.
Can you post photos of the taping and painting process rather than just the final product?
barnhill1232 years ago
i should do this when i camo paint my bike
japanbike2 years ago
Is the wheel rim painted red in the first picture or just anodized ?
devein2 years ago
another option for "harder" coat is to have it painted using paint gun. The paint gun allows to use acrylic hardener, exactly like in professional coat in cars etc. it is impossible to add hardener to a spray can - the can content would turn into solid in hours.

cheapest compromise: make base and color using spray cans, and then take the frame for coating to car painting shop.

spraying over powder coating has one more advantage: powder coats are limited to RAL color palette (at least in Poland). you can fill cans (for spray or gun) with every car color possible or have a custom color, with pearl and metalic gloss.
nathan7013 years ago
My own painted bicycle light blue and all of the brown is real leather.
Link to instructable about it.

dorm7guard3 years ago
I am painting my bike. I sanded the bike, but only removed the front wheel. I am going to paint it by hand, using a sponge brush and a regular artist brush. I have a primer, but now I'm thinking that the primer is too light in color because I tested a spot and put the color I want over it and it came out a lot brighter than the card (where paint sample was on). So I guess I will have to buy a different color primer color? This is the best I can do with this bike. I would like to just take the whole thing apart and spray paint it, but I don't know how, and I wouldn't be able to get it back together. Any advice with this, would be greatly appreciated.
adnauseam3 years ago
I painted my bike with regular Rustoleum spray paint and found it chipping a little here and there. Especially when contacting metal when I locked it to various things (posts, racks, etc). In the future when I do this I will probably be using more expensive Enamel spray paint as I think it's much harder when it finishes. Also, I will be leaving it atleast a week, hopefully with some sun, to ensure it hardens well.
madugly8 years ago
Awesome paint, great write up. The guide is right: pick warm, dry, still weather. I've sprayed in cold, humid, windy conditions and won't do it again. One thing I didn't see in the guide was the reminder that spray can coats typically do not have the hardness of a decent powder coat. I've tried engine enamel (supposed to be harder and more resistant than, say, regular lacquers) with professional urethane coating on top, and it still chips far easier than powder coat. Again: great job on this post!
sarita madugly8 years ago
Powder coat? What's that? Is it comparable to the bike manufacturer's paint? I want to change the look of my new bike. I mean, who needs to ride around on an aluminum advertisement? But the question is, will the new paint job weaken my bike? Could I paint over the original stuff to keep the same amount of protection? Maybe I should slick with stickers.
heheheha sarita7 years ago
Powder coat is a type of paint; I believe that it is what all bike manufacturers use.You will NOT be able to replicate this; basically, a statically charged powder is sprayed onto the frame, then thrown in an oven to bake.
in other words you would have very little success replicating this at home, I would suggest not even thinking about it :/

Not entirely true. There are consumer level powder coat systems. With enough practice and patience, one might achieve a decent finish. Have not tried it myself, but the day is approaching . . .

yes, the sprayer for applying the powder coat is relatively affordable, but powder coating also involves baking, as far as i know.  an oven on the same website is $350, so not really consumer level...

i don't know of powder coating that doesn't involve the heat for curing the coating, but i may be mistaken.  i'll stick with spray paint on my $30 bike : )
Panda Face (author)  sarita8 years ago
If your frame is aluminum it will be fine with or without paint. If it is steel you want to keep all the bare metal covered to prevent rust. DIY paint jobs will chip easier so you will need to retouch from time to time.
panda face,i am going to strip down and paint my cervelo,it is alluminum,what do i prep it with to accept my primer and paint,it keeps peeling on me.HELP
Panda Face (author)  dorsey8 years ago
With aluminum you can sand it down or use a stripping chemical. After sanding make sure to leave it a little rough so the paint will stick. If you use a chemical stripper then make sure to wipe off the excess. After that just use a good quality primer and paint with many light coats, drying in between. It is hard to avoid some amount of chipping because rattle-can paint doesn't cure or bond as well as professional spray gun paint.
static sarita8 years ago
Aluminum does corrode and where the corrosion will leave black marks on clothing and skin that rubs on it hard enough, I have the believe your bike frame has some sort of protective finish, possibly the frame has been anodized or has a clear coating. or even an aluminum colored powder coating. Often it isn't practical or even necessary to get back to a bare metal surface if the current finish has a solid bond to the metal and may be a suitable substrate for a custom finish. You will need to decide what fish method will bond well with the current surface finish. So many variables it's almost impossible to cover them all in an instructable
i second the dry, warm and still weather policy. 2 years ago when respraying my motorbike i had hell of a time picking still days. Living by the coast is a killer for me. For steel i spend forever getting the surface cleaned up and degreased, A few layers of primer, many coats of paint and then a few coats of clear lacquer. Unfortunately for my mobike i forgot to use petrol resistant lacquer. For alu, stripdown to the metal and plenty of polishing. Remember, LOTS of THIN coats.
 like he says, "THIN COATS" 
gfernandez23 years ago
Do you think I can do this in two weeks?? Also, do you think it will last a two month cross country bike tour?
gold fish3 years ago
are we suppose to use 180 grit or 600 grit sandpaper?
Both. 180 grit to remove paint. 600 grit to even out paint between layers.

The 600 will be very smooth paper compared to the 180.
SamGerald3 years ago
This is great advice for someone like me who wants to spruce up the look of their bike. Thanks for the guide!
mga123 years ago
Thanks for the info! Here's a shot of my newly painted bike (please overlook the dirty tires). I also found that it was useful to use a drill with a wire brush to take off what paint the stripper missed.
pcorbett3 years ago
That's a little plaid. This is a lot of plaid
johannalee7 years ago
you could also ask the sticker or sign shops for odd pieces of vinyl. They run huge sheets that come wrapped around a tube through plotters and there's always ends that are usually too small to use for anything. there are a lot of extra pieces lying around our shop all the time. even mis-cut vinyl could be used for some cool paint effects. This is such a cool idea. I've wanted to do this for so long but never really thought about the right way to do it or the right materials to use. Love the plaid. Are there glittery spray paints?
Yeah, they make aerosol cans of spray glitter. It's basically glitter suspended in a clear coat. I don't think it's super strong itself since it's kind of cheap and not really meant for high abuse jobs like bikes. I used it once on a bike that I was painting white but wanted to have a little metallic shine. I sprayed a coat of white, then a coat of glitter, another coat of white, glitter again, white a final time and then a few coats of clear. It came out pretty sweet, the glitter isn't overbearing but adds a nice touch and it has held up well.
It's funny, when I saw the pics of Panda Face's bike, I just assumed that the plaid pieces were printed vinyl. I did something similar with my bike using JavaSigns.com and was pretty pleased with the way the vinyl decals turned out once I was done applying them. Still, I gotta say there's something more impressive about doing it the old fashioned way. Kinda cool to see someone do by hand what I used Illustrator to do. Bravo!
so, i want to paint my handlebars like a candy cane i.e. white with red spirals. would it turn out fine if I used white primer, taped it up like white swirls, did the red, took the tape off and clearcoated it? would that look terrible cause on some parts it was only primer and clearcoat?
I could not agree more with @fastback570....GET RID OF YOUR TELEVISIONS!
Just finished my bike. Thanks for posting your instructions it was really helpful. I stripped the paint off, repainted a gray-blue base coat and used mod podge to glue on blueprints. The blueprints are from Rankin Steel Mill in Pittsburgh. They're schematics of blast furnaces and other parts of the steel mill. The mill closed in the 80s so these prints sat around for 20+ years which is why they are faded and have water blotches.
That is fantastic! I love how it turned out too. I may have to try this out with my Mountain Bike!
I decided to do another bike a couple months ago. This one is covered in wallpaper. I used matte Mod Podge and then sealed it with a uv protective sealer. This time I mixed a paint color that matched the wallpaper and painted parts of the bike that I didn't want to cover in paper.
did you do anything before the mod podge or just mod podge straight on the bike frame? u should do an instructable...lol
Lol. That's a good idea.

I used an angle grinder with a wire brush to get most of the orginal paint off the bike. I also used an eco friendly stripper that I found at home depot. Next I cleaned the bike and then primed it with a metal primer. Next I would cut a section of wallpaper and modpodge the backside strip of wallpaper and the section of bike frame. Once that dried I would give that section a sealing coat of mod podge.
Soo, i bought this bike and it has a pretty solid black paint on it... like real bike paint (idk what u call it) and i dont wanna strip it because 1) time 2) unsure how to do it right 3) scared lol ... if i just like... cleaned it good (wtvr that means?) could i modge podge OVER the original paint????.... do you think? orrrrr what would u recommend for not wanting to strip the bike.
damn dude, that is just, wow
your bike looks sick! I love it, awesome concept! did you have to spray the blue prints with acrylic sealer before mod podging it?
Thanks! No I just put mod podge directly on the blueprints. It acts as a sealer. I then spray sealed it a few times. I should have put a uv resistant sealer because the prints faded a bit with time. Though it still looks good - just more of a light blue / green now.
Wow, that's a really good idea; I'll probably have to try this with sheet music or something. . .
heres what i did with sheet music and mod podge.
Sweet! I love it.
SICK blue print bike This is a bike that belonged to my mom from about 1964... 69 Camaro Hugger orange with a Dodge Off white . PPG Paint.
9-5-09 001.jpg
This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

Thanks for using instructables!

Amazing job
I love the texture! Awesome job.
it looks like the paint is coming off is it?
nope. the blue prints are layered and burned on the edges
is it pasted on or is it a paint design?
I pasted on old blueprints with mod podge.
did you put anything over the blueprints like a clear coat? or does the mod podge protect it (I have no idea what mod podge is). By the way, sweet bike, I have one almost exactly like it (old fashioned shifters too) The whole wall papering your bike with old blueprints is very original.

On the mod podge website it says a woman decoupaged her vw bug w/ mod podge

The topcoat of mod podge does protect it but I decided to also spray it with a high grade clear coat. I think I sprayed it 5 times.

Nice, what brand of clear coat did you use and what did it cost?
Nothing special. A clear coat that I found at Lowes.
What a speedy response.
I try
asofia3 years ago
Here are a few things we have painted/ powder coated/ pin-striped/ made designs on for our www.villycustoms.com customers :)
fastback5705 years ago
The plaid Looks great. Check this variation..
Mar-24 002.jpgMar-24 013-b.JPG
dabasseb dude!!
Wanted to reply to the guy above with the 1964 beach cruiser to say that is an awesome restore job! Also I like this one too!
TSC fastback5704 years ago
That's cool!
How in the hell did you do that?
reminds me of the conago/ futura 2000 collaboration
 maybe one of the best looking bikes i have ever seen. great job!
that looks awesome, did you just put pieces of tape half on and half off?
Wow, nice! How long did that take?
this is what happens when you don't own a TV,  good stuff.
i don't remember exactly how long it took but i was only gonna do one tube like that at first but i figured what the heck and went all in.  project over a couple days.
Very nice, might just get my baseball bat out and get rid of my television, no, distraction. In style.
cmanahimik4 years ago
is that a cannondale 3.0? sexy paint. not what i wouldve done, but great none the less!
sriley24 years ago
Hiya everyone! Just read this method as Im trying to get into designing different things like surfboards , bikes and all, Im still a little confused, for example , what kind of paint do you use, spray paint? for detailed work, I guess i can use permanent markers? or markers like "posca" which I used on several of my boards`? And this "sticky paper" I take it i can only use permanent markers? or how? and atlast ,,,, IF I do detailed work without sticky paper or so, would I need to use an acrylic cover to protect it and give it some gloss? :)

Its all a little hard as I live in Spain,, and products like naphtha or so I cannot get here...

Either way, would be great to get some answers! ,

Hallmar4 years ago
Wow that's an awesome paint job, but does the paint scratch easily?
jthill44 years ago
What's a good clear coat? I bought Valspar "Premium Enamel" High Gloss, but I don't know the difference between that and a polyurethane or something else.
Batness4 years ago
BEAUTIFULLY painted bike!
thirdtrip24 years ago
hey is it alright to paint your bike in cold weather? its not warmin up anytime soon but i need to finish my paint job...
ultihacker4 years ago
Did you paint your chain? Won't that affect the cycling? The chain probably doesnt run smoothly. My bike's chain and gears are rusty so i was considering this option.
This is a fantastic instructable. Thank you for sharing this! I repainted my sky blue metallic frame with silver aluminum metallic powder mixed into polyurethane. Proving pretty tough so far.
pierrre5 years ago
Really job paint. I repainted my bike too but I do have an issue… the paint scratch easily. Did you used a specific paint in order to prevent this?
When i painted my frame i kinda went all out anticipating that scratches would happen. I sanded the frame really good before the paint. Then 4 coats of primer, with wet sanding between each coat. 4 coats of color...again with wet sanding between each coat. And for coats of semi gloss protective seal. With wet sanding between each coat. I used valspar paint, primer, and protective enamel. So far, no scratches or wearing. its holding up great.
I also found I have the same problem, I think there are two things I went wrong with: - Using cheap spray paint - Spraying layers there weren't thin enough I'll see how it holds up, and if not try again. On the other hand it shouldn't be such a bugger to get all the paint off again :)
myrotron7 years ago
I found this paint stripper at home depot called klean strip. you can get it as a spray on. This stuff works really well on metals, about 2 applications that's if the paint not heavily layered. i'm using it on stripping a guitar too, that takes a bit longer due to the five-billion layers of varnish on top of the paint. Be careful as everyone says, this stuff is pretty toxic and irritates your skin when it comes in contact, just rinse it off with water and you should be fine.
 Most paint strippers require something besides water to neutralize the chemicals.  The water may move it away or off your skin but the chemicals are still active.  Read the label carefully before you use any product like paint stripper.  </disclaimer>
Also forgot to say chemical resistant gloves NOT the surgical type, asked your local hardware store for the above.
I did not read all the comments below, but MAKE sure you all wear safety goggles and an approved respirator mask of some type. Wear them while using any stripper/cleaner and the painting stage. Not trying to high jack your instructable, just trying to be safe :) . Sweet paint job though!!!
bboydru5 years ago
 For this part, did you use the same paint? Did you just carefully spray it on or do it by hand?
Toulouse5 years ago
 Thank you for the fantastic instructable! those bike you have done look awesome! I'm going to try this as soon as I can on my fixie conversion
tbcross5 years ago
Wow I love this! I have tried to paint my kids old bikes over the years and never had much luck am gonna definitely give this a try we have 3 old ones that the kids got too big for will start on one of those (just in case my usual luck kicks in) Thanks a bunch!!
nosemeat5 years ago
Dig the instructable. Those patterns on the brown are great.
I have a friend who's looking to repaint her bike from purple to acceptable, and we were wondering if you (or anyone) had any experience with regular brush-on paint. She feels she may not be the best with a spray can.
Thanks in advance!
jeff-o5 years ago
Do you have any problems with dust attaching to the wet paint?  I always seem to have trouble with that...
BrockGrimes5 years ago
Give Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy paint a try.
I use it on anything metal, it bond better than most paints and hold up to beatings.  I sprayed a Jeep frame and axles and suspension parts, and they held up great to offroad abuse.

Remember like most things the key is prep.

If you want black, use a product called POR-15 then cover it with their chassis black.  It needs no primes and can be put on straight over bare metal as it's a rust preventer.  This would be perfect for a mountain bike.

I've also sanded the stock paint to give it texture then sprayed it with various liners. (Rhinoliner, Line-x, etc.)  My favorite is Raptor liner it's tintable and can be matched to your paint.
Troph5 years ago
acetone or denatured alcohol bath works very well between sanding as a grease/dust remover between coats. and is dirt cheap
This information matters not at all but might be useful if you are looking for American Accents.  It has been discontinued and is now Painter's Touch.  If you find American Accents it is old stuff.  You will now find all the great colors in Painter's Touch.  ACE Hardware carries most of them.
poop poop5 years ago
does the tan bike with red rims have any brakes?
I'm pretty sure it's a fixie. You brake by pedaling backwards. 
taken677 years ago
Great Bike! I just attempted my first rattlecan job, and like you used Rusto products. However when I put my clear coat on the paint started to crackle in some areas and not in others. Did you experience that at all?
 the paints are curing at different speeds. The clear is drying and shrinking therefore it is cracking. sounds like a lacquer on enamel. enamel takes a long time to cure.. days, I would probably let it sit for a week before I put anything on top of it.
Panda Face (author)  taken677 years ago
I've had that happen on some wood furniture I was painting. Basically you should wait extra long between the last color coat and the clear. Also remember to use thin even coats. To much clear on 'not quite dry' paint is what causes the color to separate and crackle. Sometimes that can look cool though.
mrclean52627 years ago
I have an old bike that has been stored away for a long time. The bike frame needs to repainted,and the rust taken off. It seems the rust might be heavy(maybe) When I go and srtip paint,what do I do with the rust? What type of sandpaper do i USE,and how do I treat the rust before I prime it.
 Get some Naval Jelly from your local hardware store and brush it on the heavily rusted spots. Your still going to have to sand it with some low grit paper to smooth it out but Naval Jelly will get rid of the rust. Use whatever grit you need. I would use paint stripper first on the whole bike and then hit it with some 150/200 to rough it up good. Wipe it down with wax and grease remover. Then use a tack cloth to grab anything extra and PRIME!
This was a nice instructable and I just repainted my bike. Stripping was definitely not an easy job but I did paint my bike two colors. It took quite awhile overall but I was happy with my results .... until I noticed that when I set my bike up outside against a wood post, it totally chipped this huge line across one of the main tubes of my bike. It looked nice but now it seems like a gust of wind will take off the paint. I added quite a bit of clear coat too which didn't really seem to help out at all. Used rustoleum paint as recommended. I am going to hate touching up like once every month so is there anything else I can add to make a protective layering?
I think you used an acrylic lacquer over an enamel finish. Enamel paint never actually "dries" (enamel is oil based, it will cure to a certain hardness but that is it). This means that the lacquer clear will create a hard shell on top of a malleable/soft layer of paint. Think of Skittles..

Either that or you simply didn't let your paint coat dry before you put the clear on.

Sorry buddy, but your best bet is to strip it down and repaint again. I wouldn't add anymore paint layers to it. 

I would use dupli color acrylic lacquer paint. 
use krylon fusion and make sure you strip it well pm with your results
It is possible you did not rub down the bike enough to get rid of residual paint stripper or you may have painted in too high of humidity.
use a spray polyurethane. It also sounds like there was a problem durring prep. I use Valspar and Krylon. (Lowe's) . i always suggest alleast 1 week "sitting" time after painting for the paint to completely harden. Also remember that cold weather can cause paint to dry slower... always paint between 60 and 95 degrees. also you can try drying in the sun...
OhWheelie7 years ago
details would be nice here. Do you rinse the frame after sanding or just wipe it off? How long do you dry between primer & paint, and between coats of paint? I can never get paint jobs to take, so I want as many observations as possible from someone who can.
I'll be finishing my instructable for my bike soon. I'll have detailed info on how to get a quality finish that sticks and looks good too.
2wice7 years ago
Any recommendations on painting over a brand new paint job? A light sanding, primer, then color?
 no primer needed on a fresh paint job, just rough it up with 600 grit. Or even better get one of those 3M maroon scuffing pads and give it a good sanding. wipe down with wax and grease remover and allow to dry. Be careful when choosing paints, I use duplicolor automotive lacquer because all of there automotive lacquers are compatible with each other. Good luck!
when putting the primer on you should put it on really wet, but be careful not to run it, then sand it with 800 grit WET until you get the orange peel off then use 1000 grit WET and then finally use a wax and grease remover, dont use anything silicone based or your paint wont stick, also after painting your bike you should put a few coats of clear the next day, so that the solvents in the paint have time to vaporize.

 as in silicone paint you mean? enamel?

as far as putting the primer on, lighter coats with flash time between coats is the best for adhesion.  If your finish is rough and you need to build a sandable coat I would definitely lay down thicker coats. A few light coats of primer works great, I would say less is better (you don't need to empty a whole spray can, just 3-5 LIGHT coats). When sanding I would use a 600/800 dry ( with wet sanding you have to let it dry and make sure its completely dry before painting. I would say atleast 24hrs of dry time). Then wipe down with wax and grease remover and allow time to dry completely (some wax and grease removers evaporate very slowly, MAKE SURE IT IS DRY OR YOU WILL KNOW IT LATER). Hit it with a tack cloth right before your about to paint and your good to go!
I am buying a bike off craigs list as my other one just got stolen. A 1985 Fuji for $160 which I think is pretty good. I'm just afraid to take it apart. Is it hard to get back together and stuff? I just don't want to break it.
 I wouldn't worry about breaking it. There are very few things which you could break at best. I took basically my whole bike apart with an adjustable wrench and channel locks. Everything is pretty basic, just put nuts back on bolts when you take it apart, keeps everything together and organized.
If you are concerned about taking it apart, rest at ease.  Take the bike to your LBS (local bike shop) and have them take it apart for you.  Take a container (I use a big rubbermaid tub) to put all the parts you aren't painting.  Your LBS will charge you, but it won't be too bad.  I got a quote for $30 for a full dissassembly.  I was able to do most of it myself, so it wasn't as much.  But honestly, $30 is nothing compared to the security you feel in knowing it was done the right way.

Good luck and happy riding!
Radke225 years ago
finished mine about a week ago. didn't use primer but it still turned out great. thanks for the tips
Photo 0240.jpg
Did you paint the rims too? they look really cool, as does the rest of the bike.
no bought a set of purple halo aerotrack wheels
oddblob5 years ago
Love those connondale track frames! '94? nice build too. apart fromt that stem ;) the paint looks amazing!
would it be worth using clear coat I've hear that it can yellow and run easy.
you get what you pay for, 99 cents is not gonna cut it if you want a nice job
mattyh6 years ago
Awesome paintjob man, Its totally retro! now all you need is a flat cap!
smashbob6 years ago
nice job. good ible.
Awesome paint job! I don't think I'll be able to do anything near that good. And good instructable. I'm currently stripping a bike, but the brush-on paste/gel I got from Ace Hardware (their in-house brand) only blistered and took off patches of paint. I spent an hour finishing off the fork. So I'm wondering what brand you use, because I'm looking at at least 7 more hours of stripping! Believe me, I gooped on the stripper and let in dry. It just doesn't seem to want to work on the remaining paint (when I stripped what I could and did a second coat).
I've stripped back quite a few bikes over the years. I use a phenolic based stripper, break the surface of the paint with a course emery cloth as this makes the stripper more efficient, by not working its way through the top coat it can get under the paint and lift. Spread the solution on in short sections and wrap immediately in plastic kitchen wrap to stop it drying out. Leave for a few hours, depending on the paint sometimes it all lifts off beautifully and sometimes in patches. You will find 80's racing bikes the hardest they are often done in 2 pack.
chickn6 years ago
I plan to paint a ss retro rat bike as per your Rustoleum suggestions. But before I put the clear coat on I want to hand paint some graphics using Testors enamel. Any ideas about the compatibility of Testors enamel over Rustoleum? Compatibility of Rustoleum clear coat over Testors? I might just paint a small test area to see what will happen. BTW, that's a very nice looking Cannondale.
adelaidek6 years ago
It looks lovely! I'm interested in painting my bike but I only want to touch up where there are chips in the paint, and maybe add a few couple designs. However I do want to keep the original labels and color, any tips on how I should go about this?
damastax686 years ago
Lol i love the preppy plaid haha
h2oboy6 years ago
what kind of hubs do you have with your velocity deep-v wheels?
I never thought to put plaid on a bike. I repainted two bikes, and am in the process of painting another. The one that I'm riding has a really crappy paint job, which is due to the fact that I used whatever sandpaper that was lying around the house, and painted with whatever paint was yellow. But after reading this, I just might strip it down again and paint it like that. Thank you!
nelelr6 years ago
I've read here in the comments and on other sites that It's Sometimes better NOT to strip the old paint if you can get away with it-- Some have gone as far as to say its BETTER to paint over a sanded paintjob than to paint over bare metal and that the new paint will "stick" better this way- I've got a frame thats got 90% of its factory paint still on it but want to change the color- So what's the Verdict?? Do I sand (or as one commenter suggested scuff) or should I strip down to the bare metal before starting? Vote's and Opinions would be appreciated...
maninvan nelelr6 years ago
I would highly recommend not stripping the paint. The powder coat is much harder wearing than anything that can be easliy sprayed at home. The procedure i used was to remove all decals, Clean of any residual glue using rubbing alcohol. use a degreaser on all paint work to remove an seen and hidden oil. I then used scotchbrite to rough up the surface of the powder coat on my bike. Take a lot of time on this step as this will make sure you don't miss any part that the new paint need to adhere too. And then sprayed it, with several thin coats of colour and then clear coat. The paint has held as well as can be expected. Get a touch up pen in the same colour when you buy the paint to cover any chips.
Oops, forgot to mention, that leaving the powder coat on helps protect the bike from rust better (steel frame) or corrosion (alu frame) better. You strip all the paint, your undercoat is going to have that job, and it's not as good as the factory applied finishs
sweet fixie. what kinda frame?
TWMCNANEY6 years ago
that looks cool.
tbone410_996 years ago
Is the make and model of the single speed bicycle with the red rims listed somewhere?
Panda Face (author)  tbone410_996 years ago
It's a Cannondale Track from around 1996.
jimofoz6 years ago
Two comments: you can use a Sharpie pen to make some pinstriping before you clear coat. I highlighted the lugs on my frame in black after I painted it green. If you use heat to help remove the paint, be sure you know what kind of frame you're dealing with and be gentle. If you have a fiber frame, you'll likely do serious damage even with light heat. If your a little heavy handed on the heat, you could loosen up some brazed lugs and tubes or ruin the heat treating that keeps your bike from being an unplanned "foldable".
fozzy136 years ago
Nice tips, good job..
hansonl7 years ago
For those interested in Powdercoating, go to www.eastwoodco.com they sell powdercoating kits,and supplies. Its very possible to powdercoat at home, it just takes time,and some investment.
im am being very serios (spelt wrong i know ) but you have a good chance of applying for a job at muddyfox bike designing. some good work there keep it up
dont worry about petty mistakes.. I mak them all the tiem... :) we are a community on here, not a battle zone.
hes only doing the spray job... muddyfox designs are for the WHOLE bike, frame gears etc, to make the bikes altogether riding experience a pleasure for you and the bike, designed for each bike for a specific purpose.
fastback5706 years ago
I use a ton of time, 3-M tape, and PPG base-coat/clear coat. Auto clear is about the next hardest thing to a powder coat job.
Mar-24 002.jpgMar-24 013-b.JPG
Now thats a head turner!
DurkaDurka6 years ago
Great instrustable! But i love how i find this the day AFTER i already paint my bike.... Wish i had these tips, but my bike didn't turn out that bad, so its all good... FYI, i wasn't still searching on how to paint my bike even after i painted it, it was on the home page so i thought i might check it out
I just sanded my frame with 220 grit sand paper is there a reason you used 180 grit sand paper other than it goes faster.
arepepe6 years ago
<a href="http://s95.photobucket.com/albums/l158/sk0e4life/?action=view&current=vb.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l158/sk0e4life/vb.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
hooloovoo337 years ago
Just thought I'd share my attempt. I didn't actually end up stripping it, but did sand it down to a rough surface.
Is that a Ross Eurotour?
amando966 years ago
i wanna paint my bike too a DH one... but have i got to remove the old paint? or can i paint over it? i'll just make it smother with thin sandpaper will it work? heres a pic
if it isn't too nicked up, get yourself 3-m or scotch-brite paint prep pads from Napa or an auto parts store, PAINT will stick to factory paint.
it stuck fine, some places where a little greasy around the pedal area, and the paint cam off after a while =/ but where it wasnt greasy its good :tup:
Your better off doing the dirty work and sanding it down. The end product will be much more even and nicer. It is worth it.
well i didnt sand it down, worked fine used refrigerator paint xD

before- http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/2700897/

after- http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/2755454/

i didnt powder coat it, because i live in a place where that doesnt exist... so i just stuck the basic, and the cheapest...
t_menace7 years ago
i'm painting my bike and it seems that after the priming, the surface is rejecting the paint. the surface being handlebars and paint being rustoleum metallic gold, it just wrinkled up like foil almost. does anyone know what that means and or how to fix it?
poor prep, cheapo paint, temperature, but probably too quick to recoat or one type of paint, lacquer over enamel or visa versa
handlebars always have that problem... i know Y people that that happened to them...
the paint under it probably is makeing the wrinkles
fastback5706 years ago
if you have a new frame and just don't like the color (or too many people got that rig) there is NO NEED to strip the paint. If the factory baked-on paint is good enough to last years then why remove it. OTHER PAINT WILL STICK TO IT! if it is prepped right. save time and the planet by getting Fine (green-grey) ( recommended over coarser redish color) scotch-brite or 3-M scuff pads For painting prep. You can get them at napa or most auto shop. Also get some thinner or wax and grease remover to wipe the bike off to eliminate sucky "fisheye" from grease or chain lube. Auto body shops don't strip cars to fix and paint dents. Bottom line, Be green, save time if you have decent factory paint, JUST SCUFF IT.
I found this website that makes a non-toxic, biodegradable aircraft-stripper....I'm seeing if they'll ship small quantities now, but it's something to check out:

did you find out if they sell this in small supply yet?
wayraw7 years ago
I am amazed at now nice some of these paint jobs look. A little elbow grease and some creativity yields some great rewards. I am wondering how the durability of these paint jobs has been. I am considering using the "can technique" on my road bike as described ... or having a shop do it for me using either Powder Coat or Electrostatic techniques. If I go with one of those other methods, I believe I can still dress it up with some decals or spray paint accents before I do a final clearcoat. Does anyone have experience about durability of spray can method that would help me decide?
vent6902 wayraw6 years ago
Spray Paint isn't going to protect/last nearly as long as powder coat. But it is really cost effective and for most bikes would last very near the life of the bike.
turner226 years ago
sanding the thing is a pain in the @$$
MKohen6 years ago
nice work, great instructions. here's my 35 year old schwinn that I converted to a fixed gear
REALLY nice job on the plaid. I don't know if I have the skills necessary to keep those lines straight. Nice Instructable, too.
very useful thanks....! im gonna try to paint my bike zebra and hot pink, wish me luck...! if it comes out good... u will be seeing some pictures...lol...thanks
Valche7 years ago
Awesome! I just picked up an old bike from craigslist and I'm in the process of restoring it. This is a great instructable, as soon as I paint mine I'll post some pictures, could I maybe have your opinion on them? I really like the beige bike, and that lettering really adds a great touch. Favorited and +1!
hooloovoo337 years ago
Is it necessary to completely strip the old paint? Or can you get away with just sanding it and cleaning it up?
Well it all depends on what you want the out come to be. You will get a better finish by doing it the way it says hear because thats a great write up.
Great instructable! I had a Cannondale too that I stripped and painted. It had some Al corrosion issues at certain points, so I needed to know if it was a structural threat. I used brush on paint stripper then used 180 grit sandpaper to get rid of the old paint. I wanted to brush it down to bare aluminum, put some color patches and finally put clear coat on it. But it didn't work. Clear Rustoleum doesn't hold on aluminum by itself, you have to have primer on it. I looked for alternatives, but couldn't find anything. Then I changed my mind and only buffed the aluminum frame with aluminum polish to shine. It's been shiny since then, without any protective coat. Does anybody know a clear coat that holds on aluminum without primer coat? Here are some pics of my adventure (sorry for hijacking your instructable Panda Face):
I signed up just to say, wow. I've been dreaming about doing that but i never let myself believe that it would turn out just as i imaged. Beautiful. I could research how AL oxidizes, but who cares! That bikes pure sex!
Thanks! :-) I didn't use it for more than a year, and it was sitting at my parents' balcony in its box. I checked it out two months ago, and guess what NO OXIDATION! It looks just like the first day I buffed it. I may give it another buff before starting riding again, it doesn't do any harm, even it protects it as far as I know... Cheers. K.
You're aluminum is definitely oxidized. It was oxidized very very shortly after you buffed it. All bare aluminum exposed to air oxidizes. It's extremely thin and you can't see it. Aluminum oxide is hard and stable and will not chip off, which is why oxidation stops very quickly, and aluminum won't corrode.
Aluminum oxidation is nothing to worry about. Within the first few seconds of contact with air, the metal develops a thin layer that prevents "rusting." (It can do a weird fusion thing to steel though, so be sure to grease your seatpost if one is steel and one is aluminum. That has nothing to do with paint or non-paint though.)
Very true, the two metals create what's called a "galvanic battery", hence a steel seatpost in an aluminum frame or vice versa can make it permanent if left too long. Instead of grease though, use anti-seize compound (like that for spark plugs) as this is an aluminum paste that will block this reaction.

Regular petroleum grease can potentially permeate the frame permanently and make painting impossible in the future, should you decide to do so. Also be sure to remove any rust prior as this only accelerates a galvanic reaction to the metals, as rust would provide the reaction with additional oxygen. Better still, only use an aluminum seatpost with an aluminum frame.

As far as the instructable, I still favor powder-coating as it bonds far better. It's really hard for any air-curing paint to stick. If you just want to change color, only sand down the current enamel well enough for the spray to stick. I would not recommend going down to bare metal as the spray will stick better to prepped paint than prepped metal. Bike finishes are typically baked on, like appliances, so try to keep as much of this bond as possible.

prep old paint to a matte finish at least
3 thin coats primer or more
7 thin coats paint
4 thin coats of clearcoat or more, up to 7

Patience pays off, allow each coat to dry as much as possible before the next coat. Keep the bike out of the elements during the spray process and up to 3 days after completion.

Do not respray because of chipped paint at a frame joint as this is an indication of frame damage that can indicate a future failure point! If in doubt, have the frame checked by a competent professional before investing in the paint. Even seemingly minor frame damage can be serious to the integrity of the frame. If any part of the frame has bent enough to flake the original enamel, it's probably not safe to ride, and the frame may be best if destroyed and replaced
Have you looked into clear powder coating? I thought I heard it was available. I'm assuming it would work on bare metal, but am not certain.
whoa! I kept looking back because I couldn't really believe that you painted it silver! it looks so good. what kind of paint did you use to make it so shiny/sparkly?
Hi there. Nope it is not silver paint - only polished bare aluminum! Cannondale's have aluminum frames... I used aluminum polish to buff it! :-) I love it...
I've painted a bunch of bike's with rattle cans, if you want it to come out top notch, ask around and see if you can't find a place that sells Montana (german or spanish) or Belton spray paints in your area. They're quick drying laquers, and the places that sell them will usually have accessory caps you can use for fades, drips, outlines, thin lines, fat sprays, I swear by the stuff. But then again, it's primarily used by "aerosol artists" like myself. Definitely worth a look, I usually just us the montana or belton for colors, and finish it with a couple clear coats with rusto(leum) automotive clear coat. One SOLID paint job. They go on thick, dry fast, and stay where they are, ive never had a problem with chipping, or even corrosion for that matter.
GoodRubbish7 years ago
Hot damn, that's incredible. I've seen a lot of bike paint jobs done with rattle cans, but all the other ones I've seen have come out looking absolutely horrible. Amazing work.

I had a bike painting conundrum on my hands a while ago, but I just ended up using orange electrical tape on it (cost me a whopping $3 to do). I was actually pleasantly surprised with the finished product, if you're at all interested I've got it up on my blog: My Ridiculous Bike
How is that working for you now, I think I'm going to grab a bike during bulky item pickup and try this on it. Any tips?
I found this DIY very usefully, I painted my BMX Orange, I did 6 coats of paint, so there is no blemishes. I ran into no problems, take a look...
D:\Ben\Photos\Bikes\Painting Bike\HPIM0772.jpgD:\Ben\Photos\Bikes\Painting Bike\HPIM0893.jpgD:\Ben\Photos\Bikes\Painting Bike\Sanded Front.jpgD:\Ben\Photos\Bikes\Painting Bike\Second Coat (2).jpgD:\Ben\Photos\Bikes\Painting Bike\HPIM1369.jpg
Looks good, but I think you should take out your headset cups out before you paint it because it looks cleaner that way and you also don't have to risk getting any paint inside the cups which could slow your headset down.
EngEdge7 years ago
Beautiful work! After reading this through I have decided to "complicate" what was initially going to be a pretty standard paint job on my 5 dollar road bike. I have a question, if you have already applied two different colours to the frame can it be sanded, or will the colours "run" together? Can a two colour design be sanded before clearcoat? (since the bike will have been drying for about a week before clearcoat goes on) Thanks
Very cool.
a-dam7 years ago
That's some nice work. I especially like the plaid design on the brown bike.

I found this page while doing a search on Krylon X-Metals paint. Someone posting on here says "don't buy it", but I've just used it and am very satisfied with the results! As Sameguy says, I kinda like the bare-metal look. I totally stripped the paint from a 1973 Schwinn Continental and wet-sanded the steel frame shiny-smooth. (It was a LOT of work) I painted yellow X-Metals directly on the bare steel then covered with clear. I don't know how well their base coat works. I assume it is like a "chrome" paint, but it is not needed.
Using this stuff is tricky. Since it's like a candy-apple paint (transparent), you have to apply it evenly. I used very light coats, any ripples or runs will ruin the job; you can't just wet-sand them out like with opaque paint. The first coat looked horrible. The second coat was much better. My third (final) coat left the color perfectly even. The finish was not smooth, but I was purpously misting it on very lightly and not expecting to get a smooth "flow". I don't know if a heavier coat would come out smooth, but I would recommend just using light coats of the X-Metals and covering that with clear coats.
I used two cans to do the bike frame and forks, 3 coats, and have about a quarter of a can left. The metallic effect really kicks brown-eye, it actually looks better than the cap on the paint can! I will post some pics of this bike and another one I painted last year.
Buy Krylon X-Metals paint!

BTW, I'm not affiliated in any way with Krylon. If the paint sucked, I would certainly say so.
sameguy!7 years ago
I have a bike with a steel frame(i think) and have started sanding of the existing paint as i like the look of the steel i was wondering if the steel would corrode and if there was any form of clear coat which would protect the steel from corroding and rusting
nc427 years ago
another way to do the plaid is to do the colors backwards. For example for the fixie you would start by painting the white then lay down masking tape where you want the stripes. then paint the dark brown then mask the brown stripes the finish off with the tan paint
icelemmings7 years ago
The fixed is beautiful, well done. Did you build it yourself? (If so, what parts did you use?) Nice guide :)
vasdef7 years ago
Here's the finished bike. If you didn't see my previous blurb on it, here it is: I found a 1989 Girls Giant Iguana 18 speed bike that someone left for dead, and decided to revive it. I converted it to a 27 speed, with Shimano trigger shifters, but wasn't happy with the yellowing, chipped white frame. So....I added a bar on top so it didn't look like a girls bike anymore :). I have 3 coats of Rustoleum Auto primer and 6 coats of Rustoleum Professional High Performance Enamel, Aluminum on it. and I have 5 clear coats.
another good paint for round things is magic plmbing tape, it only sticks to itself so patterns like checker are easy and it does work, I used to create a weird design on a basket ball for my friend... yes pimp my basketball
sffixed9507 years ago
Hey, does anyone know if a power washer (easily capable of paint removal) will work on a steel frame?
nkk077 years ago
my bmx is scracthed alot when ive fallen off i mighnt paint it but i wont make it boring since its a bmx.
nkk077 years ago
for tape use the micropore it dosent leave a mark and here are a few examples :used at hospitals because it wont hurt when you pull it off, great for deco...it dosen`t mark walls, lots more. p.s. hard to get i have it bcause my mom`s a nurse :).
Riggertrev7 years ago
Just got my steel frame back from the sandblaster..I love the texture and color. Is there such a thing as clear primer, or a clear coat that will adhere to bare metal?
C:\Users\Trevelyan\Pictures\CAMERA DOWNLOAD FOLDER\2007-11-04 - 2007-11-09\IMG_0065.JPG
Panda Face (author)  Riggertrev7 years ago
There are professional powdercoats that will bond to bare steel. However I was recommended against doing that because you might not see a chip in the finish (since it's clear) and it can build up a lot of rust. You can have it done but keep a close eye on it.
what kind of place does sandblasting? ive been looking around but i dont even know where to start. is it a specialty shop or something?
MMM, Do an internet search for sandblasting in your area, also media blasting, then if you have no luck, try metal service companies, by this I mean welding, machining and fabrication. The people who did mine are painters of large metal structures (for the most part)like awnings and architectural steel towers etc. I also looked at automotive and motorcycle painters, but they were too expensive.It was suggested that I try the people who make gravestones, as they use abrasive methods for lettering. A paintshop might steer you in the direction of a sandblasting company.Be prepared to explain to them that the brazing on a lugged frame will melt if the sand heats the frame too much. Don't touch the blasted frame with bare hands, oils and moisture will mar the bare metal. Good luck
Great instructable. This makes me really want to spray an argyle pattern on my bike. Maybe this summer.
SO COOL! I could never paint over my TREK logo, though......
Just order new decals from TREK they usually give them away for pennies.
FlorDeLyes7 years ago
Great bike and great instructions. Did you paint the wheels in the same manner?
That looks more like factory anodization than paint, considering the wheel's upper-end construction.
pyrotecnix7 years ago
is there any other substitute for paints, spray can or airbrush
Metal polishes sometimes come with preservatives to keep oxidization away, so a product like "Brasso" or similar might help, but the finish may need maintenance-polishings every so often. Aside from a baked clearcoat, I know of little other solution. Keep in mind that with a clearcoat, rocks and gravel will chip it away as well, and left unchecked, will cause unsightly blemishes in the metal.
nice paint job!
mattyK7 years ago
Awesome instructable. I actually have a very retro bike that somebody was throwing out, and everything's in good condition except the paint (which is ok, but it's just matte black) This will help. Might sell it after I've come up with a design :D (nobody rides it anyway)
sooperbaby7 years ago
I'VE SEEN YOUR BIKE ON VELOSPACE!!!! totally awesome dude..
shamen718 years ago
there was also a nice painting box on here using a carboard box for spray painting.
This has nothin to do with the bike, but how do u get a pic for ur screen name?
zoetropico8 years ago
Wow! I am in the middle of painting my bike - an old GF rigid that's finding new life as my commuter - and now I have to re-think everything! You have opened up a world of possibilities. Thanks! I've gotten in sanded down through the clear coats and have put the first coat of primer and color on. But, now... I'm busy sketching all the cool designs I could make. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
mbhudson8 years ago
So for those of you working on aluminum frames, does Rustoleum Painter’s Touch primer and clear coat work on aluminum? Any advice or types for a guy getting ready to undertake an aluminum bike?
gk8 years ago
Hi i found your instructions super helpful so I wanted to share my results! Thanks!
Panda Face (author)  gk8 years ago
Holy awesome! Nice job!
SirJoey8 years ago
Warning! Don't buy the Krylon X-Metals paint! Another waste of money! Primer-$2.00, X-Metals base coat-$5.00, X-Metals paint-$5.00. Total: $12.00 WASTED!

Even after wet sanding the primer, allowing 24 hours drying time & following all directions exactly, the finish is equivalent to fine sandpaper! Very rough, no shine, uneven finish!

Now I get to wait 5 days for the paint to cure (recommended on the can), so I can wet sand it & go over it with REGULAR paint, to get a decent, smooth, shiny finish. What a mess!
I just got my bike apart getting ready to strip it. I'll send you pix when shes done. Can't wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for the great tips!
This is how my bike turned out. I added pink glitter to it before putting on the clear. I also did the rims the same color. It turned out great! Thanks again for the instructions! Shell
C:\My Documents\My Pictures\Kodak Pictures\bike\100_1701.jpg
SirJoey8 years ago
To anyone thinking of undertaking this project, be forewarned. The Jasco Paint & Epoxy Remover doesn't work on all types of paint! After 3 APPLICATIONS, my Raleighn has about 25% of the paint still on it!

I sanded on it today until my arms gave out & I've barely scratched the surface! It seems that the paint remover somehow reacted to the remaining paint, hardening it & making it even more difficult to sand off! This has turned into a nightmare of a project which will probably take a couple hundred hours to complete!

I'm committed now, so I have no choice but to continue, but if I had known it would be like this, I never would have started it!
SirJoey SirJoey8 years ago
Well, a couple of more days of work, MUCH sanding, & I've finally got the frame primered. Haven't even started on the fork yet.

I'm trying out the Krylon X-Metals paint. Kinda pricey too, at almost 5 bucks a can! With any luck, I'll apply my base coat tomorrow. You're supposed to apply the base coat over the primer, then the color paint within 1 hour, or wait 5 days! This stuff looks great on the cap, but who knows, eh? Stay tuned...

BTW, still a great instructable, Panda Face, but I just had a bit of bad luck getting this thing stripped!
SirJoey8 years ago

Wow, thanx for the quick reply, Panda Face! Good info! As it turns out, the bike I'm re-doing IS aluminum! It's an old aluminum frame Raleigh. I've had her for 15 years. She's a great bike, but pretty beat up, & I didn't like the original color anyway. I'll post "before & after" pics when I get her done. Thanx again for a great instructable! (I'm adding to your points.)
SirJoey8 years ago
Great instructable! Where do I get the Aircraft Stripper? Does anyone know if the kind you buy at Wal-Mart is any good?
Panda Face (author)  SirJoey8 years ago
Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover is the same as "aircraft stripper". They differ from other paint strippers because they are safe for aluminum (such as aircraft). Most hardware stores should carry Jasco.
Nachas8 years ago
Great write up, inspiring me to paint my old Claude Butler!
duuuuh8 years ago
had one question. i'm painting my bike and when i take off the masking tape a bit of the freshly laid comes off with the tape. are there any tricks to taping a bike that i should know?
Panda Face (author)  duuuuh8 years ago
Make sure the weather is good so the paint will cure quickly. If not then give it some extra time between layers. Use good quality masking tape, good paint helps too. Peel off slowly and be careful. Good luck!
There's also some blue "painters" tape that you can get at the hardware store. It stays on until you peel it and, unlike duct tape or something similar, it's very easy on any dry surface.
Amazing! I always wanted to know how this stuff was done!
jwinfield138 years ago
good stuff on the bikes. i just had a quick question. how durable is your paint job? Does it chip or peal easily. i know there will be normal wear and tear on the paint, but does the paint stick to the frame well? Thanks for the instructable, it has been a great help.
yoghürt8 years ago
more simple design of mine
alonso8 years ago
I got to sign in just to say Thank you! this is a great instructable. Now for sure I am changing the looks of my Bianchi.
Einstein0838 years ago
Thats effin' awesome.
Golem1008 years ago
A bike shop owner once told me that appliance paint, like for refrigerators, was the best thing for DIY bike painting. Haven't tried it myself so I can't vouch for it.
prepromtb8 years ago
dude thats sweeeeeet im thinkin about painting my mountion bike cuz the paint is all chiped and everything. i was thinkin flat black and was lookin for how to prep it. after seeing your "art" it hit me I DONT WANT TO BE BOOOORING!!! if you could give me some ideas i would appeshate it thanks
MadBeaver8 years ago
truly sexy
Fuzz20508 years ago
Its a great instructable, but you forgot the most important part, how do you decide what color to paint your bike?
kari8 years ago
How do you strip the frame from the wheels and stuff? And then put it back together? That seems like the hard part...
jevs8 years ago
hey, a quick question for you: i'm getting a brand new frame, new white paint included. do you think i should strip it all the way down to the steel, or should i just take off the clear coat and leave the white to skip the priming process?
that is a f**king nice color!! i want to do that but i just bought a new kona jake the snake and it has a nice color too but when it will be all scratched up im shure ill repaint it! thanks for the instructable
vehicle8 years ago
I painted my bike, it came out real nice. I had trouble removing the paint tho. I took a torch and heated up an area then scraped it away, helped ALOT. Maybe ill get a pic of the finished product up. goodluck.
portrait8 years ago
This is a nice tip pal! This is one way of keeping things out of the junkyard. Looking at that sample bike painting in your blog I bet if you put up a business on this you’ll surely have a lot of customers. Just one question before anything else – what are some of the preparatory things that need to be done prior to painting? John
yiucycle8 years ago
i want to put a clear coat over my bare Al frame but i heard that it won't stick. if anyone know any brand of clear coat spray cans will work well with bare Al, please let me know.thanks
That plaid paintjob is amazing! Think I may be stripping some frames this winter and trying this...
Dr.D8 years ago
Nice work Panda face. I can see why you would want to clear coat that beauty. Have you tried the Alsa corporation? They make a clear coat for chrome and I would imagine that if it can stick to chrome, it can stick to aluminum. They make several excellent clear coat paints as well as some very innovative coatings, crazers, spectrum paint and soft feeling paint to name a few, quite remarkable products indeed. They have real chrome in a spray can and even chrome leather and fabrics. Their stuff is expensive but it is unique and top quality and well worth the price. They bill themselves as the worlds most exotic finishes. Check out their website here:


I think that you will be entertained at the very least and you may find the clear paint that you are looking for. Good luck and keep 'em coming.
bellos diseños! también puedes probar con vinilo autoadhesivo. saludos!
trebuchet038 years ago
My daily commuting bike is pretty old... My fear is that when I take things apart (like the head tube assembly and such) - it won't go back together as a result of internal damage from age, weather etc. Any suggestions? I've seen that bike before... I can't think of where... But I'm sure I've seen it (that plaid is very distinctive)... In any case, you've done some excellent work -- on par with vanilla bikes :P
Panda Face (author)  trebuchet038 years ago
I usually leave the headset cups in and just tape over them since they are press fit. You can also get new headsets for under $30 to fit almost anybike. They make the steering feel like butter compared to worn old parts. The bike was finished about a month and a half ago. It has a velospace page and it was just posted on the Fixed Gear Gallery which is what promted me to write this article. Thanks for the support.
I guess I'll have to be gutsy and tear into it... hopefully everything works as I'd rather put money into paint than into new head components :P Not to mention, I just converted (rather hacked) the bike into a "sport utility bike" - so I have more components to play with :D But yes, I did see t on velospace about a week ago :P
When I painted my old bike I had nothing to lose, since she was a wreck to begin with. Complete freedom! It made it much easier to go all out. I'm not saying that mine is of this caliber, though!
1lenore8 years ago
Lovely bikes! Here's my reverse stencil bike.
Panda Face (author)  1lenore8 years ago
Super cool. I'll have to show my friend, who owns the cruiser, your fenders and skirts. I think she would like something like that.
Glad you like! The skirt guards are here in instructables. More pics of the bike on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lenore-m/tags/stella/

I love the checkers on the cruiser - what a way to accentuate that lovely frame curve!
iamjfresh8 years ago
How do you get a matte finish?
Panda Face (author)  iamjfresh8 years ago
The matte finish on the cruiser is just matte black paint.
do you mean the texture? or the sheen?
clipless8 years ago
Great tips. I 'fixed' up an old Schwinn 10-speed a guy from work gave me. Knocked off all the rust off the chrome parts with 'four-aught' steel wool. I then used the duplicolor paint lowest-fi mentioned. Given my crapy skills and prep job, it turned out pretty well. It's a very tolerant paint. But thanks again for the tips, I'll have to keep them in mind for the next bike. On a similar note, has anyone tried warming the spray cans by soaking them in hot water before spraying? I've heard it does a better job atomizing the paint for a smoother finish. It's a tip that I've heard a couple times and I was wondering if there was any merit to it.
It increases the pressure in the can a little bit. But I don't think it is significant enough to do it - if it was, preheaters would be sold for HVLP systems ;)
jordan.day8 years ago
This is one of the best things about the fixer community mindset -- the creativity that goes into the bikes is awesome. Seriously the only big company that ever put much detail into their paint jobs was klein(trek), and who the heck coudl afford a klein? I'd like to be a fixer, but it's so hilly where i live, riding around on my singlespeed is hard enough.
lowest-fi8 years ago
That plaid rocks really hard. Ever tried duplicolor paint? Rustolium is good, but this stuff is fantastic. A little more $$, but I think it's worth it. It's actually an automotive paint, you can get it at places like autozone and sometimes walmart (bleh) And no, I don't work for duplicolor or get paid to endorse their stuff. You mentioned that you like the satin finish, a lot of the duplicolor paints dry very smooth and shiny, except for the primer. The primer won't dissapoint.
Man come spring iam gonna repaint my Clunker-cruisers. Great instructable
canida8 years ago
Wow, those look fabulous! You've definitely got more patience than I.
where do you get the bikes you fix up?? the checker one is awsome, but it needs a horn rock on
Panda Face (author)  TheCheese99218 years ago
The bikes are my friends. They buy them used and bring them to me for a freshening.
theRIAA8 years ago
they look amazing, i wish more people were this creative