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'.

Step 1: Paint Your Gas Bottle

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

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

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.

2 People Made This Project!


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116 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

I'm reading with interest the debate over gas bottle colour. Whilst it's each individual's decision whether or not to paint their bottle based on local regulations and/or climate, I will put a case forward for the location where this projected originated; Adelaide, South Australia.

Our regulations allow for the painting of gas bottles, and as you will see from the photo, they come standard in a variety of different colours. As for climate, Adelaide enjoys long, hot summers with extreme temperatures. We often have heat-waves of over 45c (113f), and we'll quite often have two weeks over 38c (100f).

Even under these conditions I have never heard or read of a gas bottle having any issues because of the colour it was painted. And surely if that were the case, they would change the colours allowed, which the haven't.

As I said, your local regulations and climate may differ.

Cheers, Icedvovo


7 years ago on Introduction

Hi everyone. My happy gas bottle eventually ran out of gas so I was finally able to answer the question "Can I refill my painted gas bottle?"

In Australia at least the answer is YES!

Here's Happy Gas Bottle being refilled at Ray's Outdoors in Adelaide, South Australia. It really made the day of the guy refilling it.

Cheers, Icedvovo


2 years ago

Very interesting to read. While working with LPG bottled gas. We should want to very careful.


7 years ago on Step 2

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.

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.

15 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Step 2

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.


@ mistwalker & pocketscience.

Color of the tank does matter. its a matter of safety, federal law, and state law (of those in the US). if you paint an LP Tank black, and its in a car, or out in the sun (not that it should be) it will rapidly heat up. the boiling point of LP is -44*F. this means it doesnt take much to light it on fire. Not only that, but LP ALSO expands to 270 Times its original volume as a gas. this being said, if you take 1oz of LP and just set it free, it will become 270oz of gas. thats just enough gas to do some damage. as the tank heats up, it expands RAPIDLY. if you paint the tank a color that its not meant to be painted...first off, the DOT will more than likely fine you (in the US), and the place you take the tank to may not fill it...thus...Black paint+SunlightXRapid uncontrolable Expansion=Relief Valve activation, a big headache and the possibility one hell of a fireworks show.

Mistwalker, the statement you made about the tank leaking is highly incorrect. your not taking into account the amount of gas that has leaked into the atmosphere...when that gas ignites, it will cause enough blunt force trauma to the tank that it will cause a rupture in the tank, contributing to the explosion even more.

Also if you paint the tank, you will be painting over very important relief holes that make it very difficult to judge when the tank is full. I would know. i pump propane for a living...its best just to keep the tank the color it came because it then maintains the legal specs. that your country's and state's law designates.

but like i said before, its mostly about safety, state, and federal US DOT law.

BUT in the support of the painting of tanks, as long as the color of the tank is a light color it will be fine.


I just read through the bullet vs. LP tank argument. Too bad the Mythbusters aren't around anymore, they could settle it once and for all. Most common objects would explode when a MILSPEC 50. round slams into it. I think it would be plausible that the tank would detonate.


I've never heard of any actual evidence that shows that a tank being painted black causes enough of a pressure variation to make a tank leak, be it through the normal valve or the relief valve. I don't think this is a thing backed up by any kind of real world scientific testing. Painting your propane may well be banned many places, but that doesn't mean the bans are based in a real world risk, but instead might be based in an excess of caution. Also, no one here is telling anyone to paint their propane tanks dark colors.

Also, while vented propane could presumably come to the right mix to cause an explosion, that situation would be quite unlikely, unless you were keeping your tank in an enclosed space. If it were outside, it would have to be a very bad leak to put enough propane in the air to achieve the correct mix for a proper explosion. I would still say the risk of explosion is quite remote, which was the claim I made before. Also, I've seen a ten gallon propane tank hit with an incendiary .50 cal BMG round. This is a tremendously powerful round, and it ignited the propane. It made a pair of very large holes in the tank, and quite a lot of fire, but the tank did not come apart from the shot, or the jets of flaming propane. I supremely doubt a propane leak igniting would cause the tank to rupture, unless something was wrong with the tank already. I understand there weren't gasses leaking already that were ignited, and that it's not the exact same set of circumstances, but the amount of energy that was put into that tank was tremendous, and the tank held up remarkably well.

Regardless, my comment was addressing someone who was freaking out about how painting your propane tank yellow will cause a giant fiery explosion, which is nonsense. Tanks come in yellow and orange and blue in various places.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

u can legally buy it from many weapon dealers. max is 10 rounds per day day 4 non military persons.


i know exactly which comment you were refering to. just about everyone that commented has been crap-talking the comment.

The evidence your looking for as far as pressure building up is right in my original post....its the Temperature and expansion of the LP. thats enough to prove a point. with the new relief valves and OPD (Overfill Protection Device)system, the likelyhood of enough pressure building up to cause a problem is minimized, but not completely gone. therefore it is still VERY much possible for it to happen...for those who live in canada, or alaska its wont be an issue for them because it gets so cold. so a tank painted a dark color wouldnt hurt them. if you live in a desert area, it wouldnt really be beneficial to you to paint it a dark color (plus, you lose propane cause of expansion).

Yeah, i saw the video your talking about...the round they used isnt all that. civilians cannot get their hands on a military grade .50 cal round that has the capability of blowing up a propane tank...but check out this video:

dont mind the name of the video, they dont know what they are tanking about. thats a 20lb tank their using. by the look of the mountains, it looks like they are in the hindu kush mtn range (they are military contractors therefore have the connection to the good stuff) because i have seen exact pictures of those with some friends who are deployed right now.

BUT yes i understand what your comment was about. it wouldnt hurt if it was yellow, orange, possibly blue. but its entirely up to laws &what regulations state. the little amount of black paint on this tank wouldnt be enough to cause a significant problem anyways.


I know gasses expand when they get warmer. However, this isn't evidence that painting propane tanks black actually does make them leak.

.50 BMG is .50 BMG. That's the same caliber used in your video. There's no difference between civilian .50 BMG and military .50 BMG, except when the military does fun things like make tracer rounds and incendiary rounds. The rounds in both these videos were incendiary, which is military ammo. They also make armor piercing, which is either steel core or steel sabot, but that would actually do less damage to the propane tank, as it would pass through more cleanly, and transfer less energy to the metal of the tank. Also, the aftermath of your video shows the tank intact except for the (sizable) hole the round made in it.


ok...your missing the point of the statements made...THE BLACK PAINT WONT *DIRECTLY* cause the tank to leak...what i said was that the black paint causes the tank to heat up more...Thus causing the reaction of the propane (which is already boiling as of -44*F) to expand further. i have seen this happen and are therefore telling you this is what happens. though the event of the valve opening is SOMEWHAT small in today's modern tanks, it can still closed and i wont argue about it any more.

As far as the .50 round. i know ALLL about them. i am a veteran and my job was to issue and recieve ammunition...i could tell you all about them...first off, there is a BIG difference between Mil spec .50 and civilian grade bmg...that is this...MILSPEC .50 is made to NATO specifications, and in the US, a civilian CANNOT get their grubby hands on them. a MILSPEC .50 is designed to really put a hole in something...civilian grade is not. A MILSPEC .50 will cause severe internal damage to any living creature just by wizzing by...not even hitting the target...
MILSPEC also (from what i have counted) has at least 25 different varients of the round...the basics ALL being linked for use in an M2...of those the most common rounds seen are:
4-1 (4 ball to 1 tracer)
AP (Armour Piercing)
4-1 AP(4 AP 1 Tracer)
APT (Armour Piercing Tracer)
API (Armour Piercing Incendiary)
APIT (Armour Piercing Incendiary Tracer)
High Pressure Test (just a fancy steel cartridge designed to test chamber pressure when the live round is shot)
Blank (just a pain in the butt cause it jams often and is just a silly waste in my opinion)
HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank (comes standard with Tracer compound)
And HEATG (High Explosive Anti Tank Guided (Its a brand new smart round but is just coming out)

It is VERY DIFFICULT to tell wether or not the round was API because of all the fire. And API round can be seen hitting its target, and a report is heard from it when it hits. so because of the tank blowing up its impossible to tell UNLESS they showed it in the camera first, for an API round is identified by the tip of the projo being painted silver in color.


I rather think you're missing the point, in fact. I understand that when you heat a gas up, it expands, and I understand that black paint would absorb more heat, and thus would cause more pressure in the tank. This doesn't, however, mean that painting a tank black and leaving it in the sun would cause it to heat up enough, to make the pressure high enough, to cause the tank to leak. I would need to see evidence of that, and you repeating the same claim ad nauseum isn't evidence, even if you claim to pump propane.

Congrats on looking up .50 BMG on wikipedia. The notion that milspec stuff will cause some kind of special extra internal damage by going past is absurd. Anyone can reload the stuff, so even if there is some difference in how many grains of powder are in the cartridge, or a different grain weight on the bullet, you can buy a bullet that weighs the same, and put in the same amount of powder, and you will in fact get the same results, as that's how physics works. The military doesn't shoot special magical bullets. They shoot lead, wrapped in copper, propelled by burning gun powder, aside from specialized rounds for specific jobs, like armor piercing, tracers, and incendiary, which we have mentioned already.

The bullets that shot the tanks had to be something that was burning, like tracers or incendiary, because shooting a tank with regular bullets doesn't cause the gas to ignite. It just causes a leaky tank. That's why I said it was incendiary. Armor piercing or not matters hardly at all, as any normal .50 BMG round would go through both sides of a normal propane tank. The armor piercing round would likely just make a cleaner hole, in fact.


WIKIPEDIA?! What part of MY JOB AS A MILITANT WAS an ammo specialist do you not understand? ammo was my life. i have seen firsthand what a .50 will do to someone standing close enough to a .50 as it zips by, and unfortunately its not on youtube n e more because it was deemed innapropriate (like the sadaam hanging) because of just how messed up it is (it actually caused the skin and artery on one side of the neck to rupture so not only did he die instantaneously, but he also bled out at the same time). you should see the video, but unfortunately they took it off youtube just like they did the elk getting blown apart by a 25mm APIT (but due to PETA It too got removed. a pitty at that cause it was an wawesome video)...BUT IN NO WAY did i say it was special extra damage.

yeah, great...someone can re-load the crap...WOOP DE DOO Bazel!! they still cant get their hands on true projo's that the military has...the MOST a civilian would be able to get their hands on is an aftermarket, low qual. tracer projo...which is NOT classified as an incendiary.

And your wrong about ANYTHING needing to be an incendiary round...ill have you know (oooohh comes a physics lesson), that as a .50 travels through something many things can/will happen (NOT APPLICABLE TO .50 CAL MUZZLE LOADERS BTW)...1) The round is traveling so fast that it compresses the air around it very rapidly...this causes immense heat. 2) as the bullet travels through a solid object, this too also creates heat due to friction not only that, BUT THE BULLET WILL ALSO PRODUCE A SPARK which is not only quick, but also VERY difficult to see w/o the aid of a high speed camera (depending on the time of day...with the bullet and the air around it already hot enough to make something called a SPONTANEOUS spark, and also instantaneously causes the propane to become a gas. and because the air is around the bullet is already at a temperature to support combustion, the propane ignites. if you dont believe this, refer to all the 'ibles on this site about FIRE PISTONS that use this same principal to ignite a simple piece of char cloth. theres your proof. you cant deny this one.

and BMG dont stand for anything special. it just stands for Browning Machine Gun (which i would assume you already know)

and as far as "magical bullets" military really should shoot magic bullets...they have everytihng else...haha (try to laugh...its a little humor to ease the tension.)

lets just do this, agree to dis-agree. you dont need proof to show that it is possible for something can happen (no offense but you sound like you live in Missouri). just accept the fact that it is possible.

You sound like a bright person. imma subscribe to you. blow me away with some projects!!


A .50 cal round is not the space shuttle returning from orbit. It does not produce enough heat from friction to cause propane to ignite, and a spark is not generally produced, either. Shooting a propane tank with an ordinary round causes you to have a leaky propane tank.

Your "physics lesson" is not reality based. It is delusion based.

You have no idea what you're talking about. Ballistics do not work the way you think they do.

No offense but you sound like you live in your own colorful, delusional fantasy world.


Like i said. Ballistics and knowing what certain ammunition can do to certain targets was what my job entailed. i have seen first hand what the .50 cal round can do. and i will leave it at that. there is no "delusional" fantasy world. you can take my word or not...your choice. as for me i am not going to argue about this subject. take it for what its worth. and yes...offense taken.


My "no offense" comment was in response to your comment: "no offense but you sound like you live in Missouri", which was meant as an insult.

So, besides being delusional, you are also a hypocrite. Good day, sir, we are done.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

How to SOLVE this
Most propane tanks aren't in sunlight. It recommended not to put Propane tanks in sunlight.
1> Put it in the shade

Problem Solved.