Pimp Your Bike Frame Under £30




Introduction: Pimp Your Bike Frame Under £30

I decided to give my bike a makeover for a number of reasons.

1. Glasgow is a loveable, but steal-y city. My  last Kona bike lasted a grand total of 12 hours before it was cut out of a bike shed by thieves. 

2. The current paint job was looking a bit tired and chipped.

Overall I would say this instructable is doable in 3-4 days, depending on the number of coats required. The sanding stage is tedious, but after that, repainting your frame becomes a very rewarding activity.

You will need: 

Rough and Fine Sandpaper (anything around 40 &220) - I'm lazy and buy most of my equipment from Ebay

Auto Body Filler (Optional) - For frames with big dents (http://tinyurl.com/og9m6fo)

Primer - I used Plastikote (http://tinyurl.com/oh85m26). Whatever brand you choose, it's a good idea to stick with that brand for your colours too, as sometimes different brands can interact strangely with each other.

Colours - I chose matt grey (http://tinyurl.com/qaekc7r).and neon pink gloss. (http://tinyurl.com/q4uy2j2)
BE AWARE, the pink spray paint needs a white base, otherwise it has the same effect as trying to paint your bike with food colouring. (http://tinyurl.com/pjpr794)

Old newspaper

Masking Tape

Step 1: Preparing Your Frame

Remove all components from the frame. I was fairly daunted by this task, but Youtube was a great help. I found these videos particularly clear and useful: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6D2D4EB862ECE34F

Next, fill in any dents with auto body filler if required. My frame had a fair few battle scars so I decided to go for it. Once the filler has dried, sand off the excess with rough sandpaper.

Next, using fine sandpaper, go over the whole frame. As you can see from the picture, I initially attempted to remove the original paint completely, however the workshop technician later told me that so long as the gloss is taken off, the surface of the frame will be rough enough for the primer to stick to.

Once your frame has a matt appearance, and a smooth feel to it, the only thing left to do is put masking tape over any parts which need to be paint-free when you reassemble the frame. So thats the parts labelled in the first picture. For the tubes, I curled a piece of tape into a ring and then slid it inside the frame far enough to protect the thread.

Step 2: Priming!

Ok, time to do some painting. Paint fumes aren't recommended, so if you don't have access to a spray room, then choose a still, dry day (tricky in Scotland). If its too windy then the spray paint will be redirected.

Set up your frame so that every part of it can be accessed. My crude doweling-nailed-to-block-of-wood worked pretty well, as it allowed me to spin the frame by sticking my finger in the head set to spin it without touching the wet paint.

Don't be nervous when you start spraying, the first layer is not going to be visable by the time you're finished.

Always remember, it is far better to spray from too far away than too close. Sure, you may end up having to spend another fiver on a can of paint, but if you spray too close, drip marks will ruin your smooth finish. 

Move your arm in long, fluid motions. This should produce a thin, even coat. Leave around 30 mins between coats, then when all the original colour is hidden, leave your frame overnight to dry completely.

Step 3: Painting the 1st Colour

As my main body colour was so similar to the primer colour, this stage did not take long.

I repeated the spraying process I used for the primer, making sure to keep the nozzle a good distance from the frame.

Step 4: Taping Off Details

I left the matt grey layer to dry overnight.

Now, to cover up all the frame bar the slivers I wanted to paint pink, I gathered some newspaper and masking tape. For large parts of frame nowhere near the detailed parts, I wrapped these in paper and taped them to the frame.

However, as I got closer to the important bits I switched to just masking tape. When the bike was completely wrapped up, i grabbed a scalpel and cut my detail out of the masking tape. The blade is so thin that it doesn't affect the appearance of the frame. Don't use a craft knife for this task. 

Run your fingers over the edge of the detail as often as possible to minimise bleeding.

Now take your frame back into your spray room / garden and do a layer of white. Leave it for 30 mins, then spray on the pink. Add another layer if required.

Step 5: The Part You've Been Waiting For

You know the feeling of peeling off the protective sticker on new electronics? Well this is better. You made it yourself!

After leaving your frame overnight again, mentally prepare yourself and then peel off the masking tape carefully. Then unwrap the newspaper, and reassemble your bike.

See how many times you can tell your friends that you painted your frame yourself! 

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    4 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    and this is why I love my old, rusty, gifted-by-my-neighbour orbita, with it's sticky gears and poor brakes (going to get them looked at). I'm not afraid to ruin it or loose it!
    I've re-painted the front suspension already. This is encouraging me to do the rest of the frame too, it's not like I haven't taken bikes apart before, anyway. great instructable!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thankyou!! Yeah it was either this or spray the frame with artificial rust, both would do the trick! ;) Go for it!

    Hate to hear about the Kona being knicked, I ride kona and my old one was taken when i was in the supermarket one day :( anyway great job with what you have done!!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Aw thankyou! Yeah it was most upsetting, at least they had good taste..?