person polishing a motorcycle after painting

Is your motorcycle’s paint chipping? Is the color starting to fade? If your answer is yes, it might be time to repaint it.

But getting your motorcycle painted professionally at a shop can cost a small fortune. If you don’t have the cash, you can still get a great paint job by painting it yourself.

We know what you’re thinking. Who me? But with the right guidance, the steps, a little patience, and a careful application, you can get your ride looking sweet again! And save lots of money in the process.

In this post, you’ll learn how to paint a motorcycle. Here are the tips and tricks the experts use.

7 Essential Tips on How to Paint a Motorcycle

In this guide, you’ll learn how to paint your motorcycle like the pros. You’ll be floored how great your bike looks when you’re done.

1. The Materials You’ll Need

  • Wet/dry sandpaper (80,120,400,600,1500,2000 grit)
  • Plastic filler
  • Reducer
  • Epoxy sealer
  • primer
  • hardener
  • Flowable Putty
  • Base Paint
  • Clear Coat/Hardener

2. Setting Up a Space to Paint

The first thing you need to do is set up a paint booth in the area where you’ll do the job. This area can be a garage or a shed.

Next, you’ll cover the walls with plastic. This will provide good lighting for better visibility so you can see what you’re doing while you work. It will also protect your walls from getting paint on them.

Place a couple of fans in the windows after your plastic is in place. You’ll want to seal the plastic, so stick the tape around the perimeter of the fans to seal them.

Now you need some bright light. Pick up some temporary light fixtures with fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. They’re fairly inexpensive at hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

Clip-on lights are good to use because you can angle them in different directions and move them around. They work well for these kinds of jobs because they’re simple to plug into a nearby outlet.

You might need an extension cord, depending on the location of your electric outlet. 

Keep It Safe From Chemicals

When it comes to safety measures, you need to know that paint fumes can be toxic when you inhale them. Paint and other chemicals are also flammable.

Because of this, the area where you paint should be out of the reach of your home. 

When you hook up your lighting fixtures, make sure to keep the covers on them. This protects your fixtures from paint and chemicals.

It’s a good idea to work with a respirator when you paint. It will guard you against inhaling dangerous fumes. The respirator you use should have a filter that matches the kind of paint you’re working with.

3.┬áThe Painting Equipment You’ll Need

For your painting project, you’ll need some equipment. Pick up a couple of paint guns that are available at most hardware stores.

You’ll use the first paint gun for the primer. The second paint gun will be used for the base coat and clear coat applications.

Other equipment you’ll need include an air hose, an air compressor and a regulator with a water trap.

4. Paint Preparation

Before you begin painting, you’ll need to check your motorcycle’s oil and fuel and tanks for leaks. Make sure they’re pressure tested. After that’s done, its time to remove the old paint.

You’ll do this by sandblasting your bike’s metal parts. If you don’t own (or want to buy) a sandblaster, you can remove the paint with sandpaper.

After sanding, use a non-oil based paint to wipe down the parts of your motorcycle you just sanded. This must be done before you start painting. For the best results, it’s important not to skip any steps to cut corners.

Applying Filler

When you’re done, take out your filler and apply it to the low spots. Use small amounts because it gets hard quickly. You want to apply it as smoothly as you can. 

When you’re done, sand the area with 80 grit sandpaper when it dries. Next, you’ll look for any low spots or nicks. If you find any, apply filler to them and repeat sanding.

Feel your motorcycle. If it feels nice and smooth you’re ready for the next step: applying the epoxy primer.

5. Epoxy Primer and Putty

Apply epoxy primer evenly. You’ll need two coats for the best results. When the primer dries, apply a spray bomb using black paint. You want to give it a light spray.

This will show any defects from your filling job. To fix problem spots, apply light finishing putty. Make sure the putty is applied evenly. 

Next, you’ll take out your foam sanding block inserted with 80 grit sandpaper. to make it smooth. When you’re done, follow this with 120 grit sandpaper, then 400 grit.

After you’re finished, you’ll apply the last primer coat. When it dries, roughen the surface a bit with 400 grit sandpaper. This will help the base coat stick to the surface better.

Now spray on a coat of epoxy sealer. The sealer must be applied before your base coat. This does two things. It gives you a better surface to work with and also prevents bubbles from forming on the surface.

6. Working with Paint

When you’re ready to paint, make sure to read the paint manufacturer’s instructions. Follow the direction for drying time between coats. You don’t want to rush it because it can affect the quality.

Be aware of the recommended temperature needed to use the paint. Don’t paint until you’re within the right temperature range. Make sure your paint is thoroughly mixed so it goes on correctly.

Applying the Paint

Apply your preferred color according to the manufacturer’s directions. Next, you’ll apply your layer of clear coat.

When the first clear coat dries, wet sand the area smoothly using 600 grit sandpaper. Continue sanding until you don’t have any more ridges.

Now it’s time to paint the graphics if you’re planning on using any. Then apply another clear coat. You may find the graphics requires two coats of clear. Between each coat, wet sand with 600 grit sandpaper.

After you wet sand the final clear coat, resand with 1500  grit sandpaper. Want it as smooth as possible? Follow it up with 2000 grit sandpaper. 

7. Polishing and Buffing

For your final step, you’ll need a buffing pad, a speed polisher, and polishing compound. Polish. Buff it out. Applaud your hard work and marvel at the amazing job you’ve done. 

The Takeaway on How to Paint a Motorcycle

Now you know how to paint a motorcycle. When you follow these seven steps, you’ll be amazed at how awesome your ride looks. And you didn’t have to spend a fortune!

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