Instructables
Picture of Painting a Bike Helmet
My bike helmet somehow lost that thin plastic veneer that keeps it from looking like the goofy foam hat that it is, so I decided to give it a paint job.
 
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Step 1: Sand and wash

Picture of Sand and wash
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Start by removing the little pads inside the helmet.  These will just get in the way or get dirty, so we won't put them back until we're done.

I don't know that sanding was absolutely necessary here, but in most instances it helps paint to adhere.  I used a fine grit sanding pad to give it a quick once over and remove any glue that had previously held the plastic cover.  The pad made it easier to get into the holes in the helmet, but regular sandpaper should do the trick.

Once you've smoothed out the surfaces you plan to paint, make sure you handwash the helmet and remove ALL of the dust you've just made.  If there is any dust left when you paint, then you'll be painting the dust instead, and it will peel later on.  A rag is especially useful to remove any remaining dust and dry the helmet.  Make sure it is completely dry before moving on to the next steps.

Step 2: Get your tape on

Picture of Get your tape on
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Get yourself some blue painter's tape and tape over everything you don't want to paint (and I mean everything).  You should also tape the inside of the helmet to keep the spray paint from getting into the interior and hitting the strap.

Generally you want to leave the whole area you plan to paint open.  We're going to paint in stages, adding more tape at each stage rather than removing and re-taping a different area.

Step 3: Paint the lightest layer first

Picture of Paint the lightest layer first
Now that you have your helmet all taped up, find a well-ventilated spot and lay down some newspapers.  Spray ONE light layer of a plastic adherent paint and let it sit for 20-30 minutes or until it begins to feel dry to the touch.  Spray a second layer and leave it to dry for at least 4-5 hours.
jamboo754 made it!4 months ago

Just finished my helmet today! It went great and love the way it come out. One thing I learned is if a spray paint can is clogged you can take the nozzle off and soak it in paint thinner and it works like new! All in all thanks for the post!

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CollinPGH (author)  jamboo7544 months ago

Looks great! I'm glad it inspired you to try for yourself, thanks for posting the pictures.

jamboo7544 months ago

I saw this and am trying it out on my helmet now. I recommend sanding the helmet as well not just because the paint will hold better but it will also help to hide all the little bumps and holes in the foam. Otherwise it is going great!

dacker1 year ago
Please tell me you have no intention to continue using this as a bike helmet. Without the plastic shell, it will offer near-zero protection. If you have ever seen a bike helmet which has saved someone's life, as I have, you would understand.

I urge you edit this Instructable with a disclaimer.
CollinPGH (author)  dacker1 year ago
Maybe plastic "shell" was a bad description. There was a very thin, purely aesthetic, sheet of plastic that was practically a sticker. Here is a link to the type of helmet I'm talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Thrasher-Adult-Bicycle-Helmet/dp/B00012M5MS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379000547&sr=8-1&keywords=schwinn+bike+helmet

Obviously no one should bike with a helmet that has been structurally compromised, but that is not the case here. Thanks for your concern though.