Steps on how to paint a helmet

If you are a creative person and like to show off your personality, you will try to make everything around you looks different and unique.

One of those things is the helmet. With some steps on how to paint a motorcycle helmet below, you will be able to turn a piece of safety gear into a unique and attractive accessory. 

The instruction will include preparation steps and paint application steps. If you already had your sketch design, then let’s start right away!

Preparation steps

  • Step #1: Make sure your helmet painting is authorized by the law where you live. In fact, some states consider this a violation of road safety laws. 

Some researches have sown that many paints contain petroleum-based solvents that damage the motorcycle helmet, and in many cases, reduce the ability to protect the wearer.

Therefore, the very first step is to refer to the law first, if it is legal then move to the next step.

how to paint a motorcycle helmet
  • Step #2: Choose the proper paint. Pay attention to the warnings that the manufacturer attached with your helmet. 

This piece of information is usually found on the packaging, tags, or labels.

Commonly, the manufacturer will list some types of paint you should avoid, or else the plastic of your helmet will be weakened. 

In case you don’t find the warnings or helpful information in the materials you were provided, ten find the manufacturer’s contacts and ask them for paint recommendations. 

Note that if the shell of your helmet is damaged like scratches or cracked, never think of painting it because the solvent can leak into the shell and ruin it on the invisible side. 

  • Step #3: Some people recommend sanding the old paint layer in order to apply new paint more easily, but this may also sand the plastic on the outer shell resulting in reducing the ability to protect the inner shell from bumps and scrapes.

 Worsely, this degradation can weaken the helmet’s ability to protect you in case of an accident. 

It is a good idea to buy a new plain white or plain black helmet to practice your painting.

In this way, you don’t have to waste time removing the existing paint or glossy finish, and you don’t worry about damaging the helmet shell.

motorcycle helmet painting
  • Steps #4: To help the paint stick to the shell and looks smooth, you should wash the helmet first using shampoo or dish detergent to remove dirt and grease, wash under the water until the detergent is washed off completely, then dry it with a clean cloth. 

It is better to wash your helmet the day before and let it sit and thoroughly dries itself. 

Helmet painting steps

  • Steps #5: Remove as many parts from your helmet as you can such as the visor or the face mask (in a football helmet). 

Use masking tape to cover unremovable parts like the inner shell. If your helmet has vents, you should cover them, too.

Cover all the areas you don’t want to paint and leave the area you want to paint exposed. 

Note that helmet parts such as the vent, inner shell are essential parts that help structure the helmet, so if you remove them, the helmet can become weaker during the painting process. 

  • Step #6: This step is interesting for someone who likes painting. You will need a pencil to sketch your favorite design on the helmet first. Another option is to use stickers, tape, or stencils to shape your design. Be careful and invest time in this task as this will decide whether you can have the design you want. 

If you use a pencil, be sure the lines are visible enough from a distance. If you want to create complex geometric patterns, then use masking tape or stencils, cut them as the shape you like then arrange them on your lid.

  • Step #7: When everything is ready, it’s time to paint. Use the proper paint that you chose before in the second step. 

It is wise to use water-based acrylic paints as this one is most friendly to helmets. There will be resting time between each layer of paint.

how to paint a helmet

During this time, the layer will bond to the surface of the helmet, thereby, the paint will not peel off easily.

Basically, there will be four main layers: base layers, shadowing, highlights, and finishing touches.

If spray paint is your choice, then always stick with the airbrush because you will have a more even coat of paint in the end.

Check if there is a safety sticker on your helmet, you will not want to paint over it.

Wait until the paint dries completely, then slowly and gently remove the masking tape from the shell to avoid unwanted damage to your design.

  • Step #8: When you finish painting, a clear coat is essential to protect the paint. You can apply three or four layers of clear coat. 

Before you spray, shake the can for 2 minutes to make sure the solvent and clear coat mix well together.

Move the can around the shell until all the areas are covered. Let the paint coating dries for 20 minutes then repeat the process 3-4 times.

Make sure your clear coat is usable on plastic. Before applying the clear coat, be sure the inner shell is covered completely, or else the clear coat will eat away the foam. 

When the painting process is done, let the helmet sit overnight then reattach the removed parts to the helmet.

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