Instructables
Picture of Propane Bottle Lego Head
One day I noticed that the humble Propane or LPG gas bottle is pretty much an exact large-scale version of a Lego Mini-fig head. So I decided to cheer up my BBQ bottle with a little Lego lovin'.
 
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Step 1: Paint your Gas Bottle

Picture of Paint your Gas Bottle
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Starting with a basic LPG/Propane gas bottle, give it a wipe with turpentine to remove any grease and dirt, and then spray it with yellow paint. 

Step 2: Paint The Face

Picture of Paint The Face
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Wait for the yellow to dry thoroughly and then paint your face onto the bottle.  I used enamel hobby paints and painted the face freehand, but you could use a stencil and spray paint.

Step 3: Reinstall the Gas Bottle

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Wait for the paint to dry and then reinstall the bottle back onto the BBQ. Then sit back and enjoy how much cheerier it makes any barbecue area.

I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable.
kylewalter2 years ago
Well... I was reading this and couldn't help getting frustrated over some of the comments regarding the tank leaking and the tank exploding.

The first thing that came to my mind was to do some sort of Ideal gas law equation to determine what the pressure would be at a given temperature. Propane is not an ideal gas so this wouldn't work, but I did fine this link to be pretty interesting concerning propane:
http://www.elyenergy.com/media/SNG/Downloads/9-Other%20Downloads/Reference%20Data/CO37.pdf

Looking at that chart, and knowing that LP with a suspended layer of gas on top of the tank indicates that at any given temperature the pressure remains constant. Se we can determine from the table that if the internal temperature of the tank reaches 140 F, the internal pressure will be 290.3 psig (this applies at sea level only, but small variations shouldn't matter)

The DOT typically specifies a minimum 4 times the service pressure (~240 psi) for the burst pressure (allowing 960 psi before the tank explodes, at a minimum) I do not think you would have to worry about the tank bursting because most likely the pressure relief valve (if so installed) would activate well before then.

Rather than go into a lot of detail about possible scenarios, we can examine the outcome of a test of various tanks and their conditions according to the report found here:
www.propanecouncil.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=3326

This report actually indicates that the most common mode of failure in a LP tank is corrosion! If anything, painting your tank should prolong the life regardless of the color you choose (of course, you can't paint the inside of your ank, so if there is corrosion there, the benefit of tank stress reduction due to extra paint on the outside of the tank will be negligible). In the conclusion, only tanks that failed the visual inspection actually failed below 1200psi. I would think in a temperate climate (or any climate on planet earth), you would have trouble getting the internal pressure of the tank to 1200 psi.

I'm not saying that it's legal to do so, I'm just saying that the facts in the report indicate that there is no chance of harm from painting your tank. All the risk is in faulty or damage tanks and valves to begin with. So if you start with a new, clean tank (or a tank in good working order)... paint away.
marsrover2 years ago
For anyone complaining about the color and the chance it could explode.
Our family occasionaly buys the home helium tanks, when they run out, you toss them in the trash. So why not do this project on an empty tank that's gona get thrown out? Then you can put it on display instead of under your grill.

Personally I don't think that it would cause much of a tempeture difference if you painted it on a live tank. But this sounds like an up and comming urban myth so I suggest someone submit this thread to the mythbusters website. I'm sure they would _love_ to play with exploding tanks.
ddoudcher3 years ago
Do NOT do this.
Propane tanks are white and reflected to reflect sunlight better to prevent the gasses / liquids from heating up.

1> Spraypaint propane tank
2> Tank no longer reflects enough light
3> Tank heats up more in summer
4> This causes the release-valve to leak propane much much more frequently to prevent an explosion.

Aftermath:
Either you will have a Lot less propane for your buck due to leakage, Or your valve will fail much quicker, Causing the tank to rupture and explode.
Thanks, mom.
Pfft. Rubbish. I've seen tanks that are every colour. I have have seen deep metallic blue, grey, beige, and the odd white one (minority!). Maybe your local regulatory body is overly zealous, but if the colour of a tank was enough to make them blow do you really think they'd let them into the market!?!??
No. Propane tanks often come in colors other than white, and do not leak and explode because of it. Yellow is a bright color, and reflects enough light to not make this an issue. I'm not sure it's a real issue to begin with, anyway. Propane tanks are built to hold quite a lot of pressure, and even if a tank were jet black, I don't think the sun would heat the tank enough to make the pressure rise enough to make it vent gasses.

AND, even if it did vent gasses, and those gasses found an ignition source, your result is a flaming jet out of the side of the tank, not a Walker Texas Ranger style explosion. This can cause fires, but the possibility of explosion is incredibly remote.

If your tank valve leaks, by far the most likely scenario is that you try to start your grill and you don't have any propane left. After a few times filling it up and finding that your tank runs out too quickly, you'll probably (GASP) have to get another tank.
Beergnome3 years ago
the whole lighter color/expanding gases when it gets too warm thing is a valid concern.
We have an outdoor grill on the patio at the pub, and we did have a tall tank vent out one day. it was sitting in full sun and get this, it was a from the factory white painted tank.

it was quite exciting. the whole patio evacuated to the parking lot as the thing was fussing.

the culprit was a faulty safety release valve.. fortunatly, it faulted in the right direction.

as for this instructable? its great! love it.. just make sure that the tank valves weren't painted, the paint could "glue" the safety stuff shut.
as for refilling it? tank the itself to the propane yard for refilling. unlike a beer keg, the deposit on these tanks does imply ownership as far as I know. so it shouldnt be a problem.