How to Paint a Bike




Whether you are a bike fanatic, a daily rider or just a bike owner, you want your bike to not only preform great but look great as well. Over time your paint will wear down, peel, chip and rust, and at some point you will need to repaint it. Repainting your bike doesn't have to be a expensive process, it can cost as little as 4$ and consume as little as an hour of your life.  

 The bike I will be painting is a BMX cruiser I bought off craigslist for one hundred dollars. The parts were in extraordinary condition, but the paint job just wasn't up to par. I decided I would paint it and document my process, make an instructable and hopefully some of you out there with poorly painted bikes can give them a "makeover".

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Step 1: Tools

Before you start you should have all the tools needed to disassemble your bike. That includes

For disassembly:

- Hex Keys (Allen Keys)
- Wrench
- Screw Driver
- Chain removal tool

For Painting:

- Sand Paper 
- Spray Paint
- Tape

Step 2: Disassembly - Wheel Removal

This instructable assumes you have a general knowledge of disassembling and reassembling your bicycle, if you don't then click on the links in each step and follow the instructions there to take off each part. Removal of parts is not optional but it is highly recommended, an alternative is to just cover everything you don't want painted in tin foil.

In this step we begin the disassembly process. Start by removing the front wheel and put it somewhere safe. If you don't know how to do this then click here

Step 3: Disassembly - Chain Removal

Remove the chain using the chain tool, if you are utterly clueless on how to do that click here.

Step 4: Disassembly - Rear Wheel Removal

Take off your rear wheel, once again if you have no idea how to do that then good job on getting this far, click here (only the first part).

Step 5: Disassembly - Removal of Other Parts

Remove the crank, brakes, seat and handlebars. Don't forget to place all important parts somewhere safe. 

Step 6: Disassembly - Fork Removal

Remove the forks and put them somewhere, you will be painting those later. Now you have your frame stripped and ready to be sanded.

Step 7: Sanding - Sticker Removal

Prior to painting the bike it is a good idea to sand the parts, of course its not mandatory but it will help the paint adhere to the bike. Removing the stickers is also optional, but extremely recommended, you will see the outline of the sticker after the bike is painted if you don't remove it. This may be hard for some stickers so use a knife to peel them off, or use your fingers on the less sticky ones.

Step 8: Sanding - Sanding Paint

This is probably the hardest step, sanding. Sanding the bike is not for the weak and impatient, it will require a lot of time, effort and patiences. If you want a nice paint job sand evenly around the whole frame. You want to get the old paint off and have a nice rough surface for the paint to adhere to. Sand for about 30 seconds then wipe the sanded part with a damp rug. It will take a good 45 minutes of work to sand the entire frame and forks.

Step 9: Painting

Now this is the fun part. Before you paint wash the entire bike removing all grease. Then dry completely. Tape over any parts of the bike you do not want paint on.

Next hang the frame on a cloth line like in the photo.

When painting you will want to hold the paint can about 15-25 CM from the bike and spray in quick even sprays from top to bottom. Coat the entire bike in paint then go get something to eat.

Come back in 30 Minutes and do another Coat.

Then leave the bike to dry for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Do the same with the forks of the bike.

Step 10: Reassembling the Bike

Reassemble the bike, be careful not to scratch your new paint job! Check out the before and after below.



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    22 Discussions


    3 years ago

    If you decide to make your bike look decent, at least invest in a new seat :D otherwise, good job


    5 years ago on Step 10

    Here is my take on reviving a bicycle.


    5 years ago on Step 10

    Your tricks are so goood its not shiny as first


    7 years ago on Step 10

    For better durability, add some clearcoat to that puppy after the paint is dry. Wait 3 days between last coat of paint and first coat of clear to prevent compatibility issues between drying speeds.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    You can also use a heat gun or hair dryer to remove the hard to peel stickers. just heat them up and peel.


    8 years ago on Step 10

    Nice instructuble for sure it will help me alot because i'll be painting 2 bicycle frames and fork. Thanks for sharing this tips.


    8 years ago on Step 8

    instead of sand paper, i whetted some wet-n-dry and rubbed it alot quiker


    9 years ago on Step 8

    if the paint is nice and simply don't like the color there is NO reason to sand it with coarse sand paper.  in the automotive ind. we scuff using 3-m scotch-brite pads. only only need to break the shiney gloss for paint to stick.  once yuo have the a nice scuffed surface the most major step would be to use a cleaner (prefer PPG aycli-clean or other cleaner) to remove any oils and dirt or you will have fisheyes or paint falling off quickly.

    cruiser 004.jpg
    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 9

    that method to paint is cool and result 100percent


    9 years ago on Introduction

    what chain is that it looks like a half link slink gusset same as mine


    10 years ago on Introduction

    you should have painted something on the bike beside the main color.. it looks like it lacks something.. you draw something on Inkscape, print on label paper, put tape around the areas you're going to paint and then stick the print there and cut out the areas to paint with an x-acto and paint with the second color. then get all the tape out, let dry and then aply the laqueur.. it would look awesome with some white or bright green

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the idea, I have added new stickers on the bike and it has alot of new parts. I might add a pic later


    10 years ago on Step 9

    hay I like the way A paint your bike I do the same thing when I paint mine but when I do I sum time leave the sticker on to have sum designs on the bike I'm geting ready to paint my hyper bmx bike I just got but its going to be fun cuz I like to paint bikes


    10 years ago on Introduction

    It looks like the sanding was worth it - nice looking finish. L