Paint Your Drum Kit - by Painting Your Drum Wraps




I'm the proud owner of a Pearl VSX Vision Limited Edition Pinstripe. When I bought her 4 years ago, I really digged the sound, the pinstripe finish, the set-up and the metal snare of the kit, and so I bought it.

However, after a while I grew out of it. She became looking a bit ordinary and cheap. Furthermore, I've experimented with adding some graphics on the heads, but I might have exaggerated in the end. So, I decided to go for a full make-over, losing the pinstripes/tribal stuff, and refinishing the kit completely. Almost every online instruction concerning repainting a kit involved removing the wraps of the shells. Because I did not want to do this (you have to order a lot of stuff, glue,...), I decided to paint the wraps themselves.

Step 1: Think About the Finished Product

I wanted to go for a sort of vintage feel, a more mature kit. I don't really know why, but the colour green, combined with white heads really interested me. I did a lot of research on the way the finished kit would look, endlessly looking at catalogues and custom finishes. Futhermore, I decided to keep all of the chrome hardware parts as they are. In my opinion, painting them is such a shame!

I really think this is an important step. You should stick to your plan.


Step 2: Disassemble Your Kit and Organize the Parts

Fairly easy step: take your kit apart and keep all the parts sorted. It's easy to use shoeboxes or something similar. Keep in mind that there can be very small parts (such as the screws of the Pearl Logos on the toms), I used envelopes to keep them safe.

Footnote: I had graphics of Josh Homme, John Bonham, Jimi and Dave Grohl on the toms, that is why the different boxes of parts are called that way. Ruben Block, frontman of Triggerfinger, was drawn onto the bass.

Step 3: Tape It Up

Then, I taped everything that wasn't going to be painted. This takes a lot of time, but is crucial to achieving a high quality result. Don't forget to tape over the inside of every hole of the kit. Furthermore, I covered the complete inside of the shell with paper, so no paint could affect the shell itself. Even the air vents (chrome), were carefully taped off.

Step 4: Customize

This step is not necessary. However, I really liked the idea of creating a vintage kit, so I used the old Pearl logo and with the help of a projector and a permanent marker, the front bass head was finished.

Step 5: Sand the Wraps

Before painting the outside of the shells, I sanded the wraps lightly, so the paint would stick properly.

Step 6: Base Coat

To be sure to cover up the graphics, a black primer was used. Because I did not trust the quality of the spray cans you buy in any hardware store, I asked a car repair shop to help me out; they can guarantee the highest quality paint job, in ideal conditions. I'm very glad I choose this option.

Depending on the shop, prices of paint and working hours may vary!

Step 7: First Layer, Dry + Second Layer, Dry + Varnish

Then the actual green paint was applied. After the first layer was sprayed on, it had to dry for about 12-15 minutes. The same was true for the second layer. Afterwards, varnish (clear lacquer) was spray painted over the colour and it dried for about three hours. I let it rest for about a whole day, in normal room temperature, in order to be sure the varnish was completely dry.

! Important: because you are painting a wooden instrument; think wisely about the drying conditions; ask the shop to keep the temperature low, otherwise your kit could well be damaged!

Step 8: Remove the Tape

Another easy (but rewarding) step; carefully remove all of the tape, revealing beautifully painted wraps, but no paint on the actual shells.

Step 9: Reassemble Your Kit

The best part: put your kit back together again.

Tip: when I did this, I used chrome polish to clean all the parts. It really gives the kit a brand new feel.

Step 10: Enjoy Your New Drum!

What more is there to say?



    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest
    • Build a Tool Contest

      Build a Tool Contest
    • Faux-Real Contest

      Faux-Real Contest

    16 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Hi there from the UK. great job on your drum refurb! I love the colour and would love to use the same on my kit. Do you remember what paint it was that you used? Thanks!

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Let me know if you want the specific colour code :)


    Reply 1 year ago

    I know it was called "British Racing Green". Does that answer your question?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Should I try to find the specific colour code?


    3 years ago

    Back in my younger years- decals, graffiti, band stickers, and other odd decals were typical punk-rock things to do with a kit. After a while I decided to do away with all that, because nobody reads what's on the drums during a show.

    When I saw the title of this page from the main index I was expecting to see a cheesy garage-job on a cheapo drum kit... I was wrong; it turns out that You did a terrific job with this kit rehab, it looks VERY Professional! Thanks for sharing this! :-D

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    how much did the shop charge you? I'm thinking of doing this, but I'm on a relatively tight budget

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hey, sorry for my late reply. In fairness, because the shop is owned by someone in the family, I got off cheap.

    But it should be around 500 bucks? It does sound like a lot of money, but I did not want to get rid of my kit (that's the issue with a kit with a very unique finish like the tribals).

    *I tried the same process with a normal matte black spray can, and it work fine as well... But it's really tricky. Getting the gradient out of the paint is better done by a pro

    Blue Hawaii

    4 years ago

    Wow! That's a lot of work, but the end result is beautiful. I just took my 7 piece dw kit totally apart to polish all the chrome. Major PITA! I couldn't imagine taking that a step further and masking and painting the shells. Well done. My hats off to you.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    I'm not going to lie, when I started reading this I was thinking "No! Not the drums!" But it turned out really well.