Helmet Painting at Home

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10/16/2019 9:43 AM

I was going to custom paint my helmet but I’ve never done it before. I’ve been reading up and watching videos and I feel like I am up to the task. Because I am not a painter I was planning to use good ole spray paint. Anyone here with experience on this? What are the “best” brands to use for; masking tape, primer, base coat, clear coat etc..?? When prepping the helmet what grit to use?? Any tips and help appreciated!
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10/16/2019 10:39 AM

Wet sand with 360 or 400 grit... get some good fine line tape 1/8th or 1/16th... green 3m masking tape works great... stay away from low tack... rattle cans can be tricky... any type of fade is really hard with spray paint the paint doesn’t like to “melt” / blend like paint out of a gun... try to stick with one brand of spray paint mixing too many normally results in the paint crazing... if I do anything with spray paint I go to my local paint shop and have them mix it in a aerosol can ... same for the clear they normally have descent clear with hardener in a can... Also the spray pattern is way wider than any spray paint you’ll find at a parts store/ hardware store/ hobby shop... you shouldn’t need primer if the helmet has no chips or deep scratches just cut it and lay down your base... it’s going to take a few coats to cover the black. I’d imagine you’ll probably have a white or a silver base, depending on what colors you’re using... Best advice I can give you with paint is if you have an issue just walk away and wait until it’s dry... Spray paint can be tough to work with... have fun; be patient.

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10/16/2019 1:50 PM

Do you have a brand of paint you would recommend? Not exactly sure on the colors just yet. But was leaning towards a black, red, and white combo. Just simple designs with lines. I'm sure it'll be pretty basic.

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10/16/2019 2:36 PM

A grey scotch brite pad would handy for the tough to reach areas around the vents and such. 3M for tape as stated above. 400 is a little aggressive for my taste on a surface that doesn’t need any scratches fixed. Personally I’d lean more towards 800-1000. Will take a little more elbow grease but the over all finish will be nicer the finer the grit of sand paper you use.

Valspar makes a decent spray can IMO. But rattle cans are rattle cans. Always proud of myself when I do good work with a rattle can!

Good luck!

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10/16/2019 3:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/16/2019 3:39 PM

JohnCharlesC wrote:

Do you have a brand of paint you would recommend? Not exactly sure on the colors just yet. But was leaning towards a black, red, and white combo. Just simple designs with lines. I'm sure it'll be pretty basic.

Duplicolor perfect match has a lot of interesting colors; pearls metallics, kandys... Tomiya is a good rattle can.. rust-oleum is garbage imo... Krylon is hit and miss... Another tip is to pull the tape when the paint is still wet; it allows for the tape edge to lay down... I’ve also used red scotch brite to cut the helmet... the clear fills the very small sanding swirls from the coarser grit... i like the slightly rougher grit because it allows the paint to bite better... This is just the method I use; there’s more than one way to do it...

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10/17/2019 8:46 AM

Lawson products HSP is the best rattle can paint I have ever used, better then the automotive paint put into an spray can for me but unless you know someone with and account it would be hard to get.

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11/7/2019 9:50 AM

Got the helmet sanded, cleaned up and taped. First coat of primer is done. Going to put on another coat before the colors.
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11/7/2019 11:24 AM

Following this, do you have a finished design you want??

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Now a member of the Orange brigade

11/11/2019 9:47 PM

Don’t have a finished design but I have a rough idea of what I will do. Not much progress as I was waiting for the primer to dry and paint to arrive. But now I have all the paint so I’m going to get started this week!

Here’s what I have so far.

Also, sorry if this post is not in the correct section, if there is one.. just thought it was a fun project I would share!
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11/12/2019 12:53 PM

Looks great, can't wait to see the finished product.

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11/12/2019 4:26 PM

Also following this. Did a nice job sanding, cleaning, and taping. I looked into this at one point and somebody said it can break down the protective parts of the helmet? Like the vapors of the paint or something. It was also a helmet painting company that said that. Maybe they were trying to make me spend the $500 they charge.

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11/12/2019 11:31 PM

Blackjack31 wrote:

Also following this. Did a nice job sanding, cleaning, and taping. I looked into this at one point and somebody said it can break down the protective parts of the helmet? Like the vapors of the paint or something. It was also a helmet painting company that said that. Maybe they were trying to make me spend the $500 they charge.

Yea, not sure why they would say that. Haha. Maybe there is a reason but I’m doing it the way I’ve seen everyone else do it. grin

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11/12/2019 11:36 PM

Got the base coat on tonight. It’s a pearl white. Came out pretty good except a few runs pinch Trying to not let it bother me too much haha.
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11/14/2019 7:59 AM

What paint brand did you end up going with?

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11/14/2019 12:18 PM

Markee wrote:

What paint brand did you end up going with?

The brand is "Custom Paints" but the model is "Kustom Canz". Would have used the same brand primer but I guess they can't ship them to the US yet. "Spray Max 2k" was recommended by one of the "Custom Paint" workers.

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11/16/2019 10:59 PM

Made some progress

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11/22/2019 6:32 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/22/2019 6:33 AM

Thanks man, got a couple cans. Looks like it lays on pretty good. As long as it don't pull up with the tape, should be fine.

I've painted a few helmets, a trick to that green tape, you can place a piece on your shirt before you apply to knock down the adhesion a bit.

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11/25/2019 6:21 PM

Looks pretty good! Especially for your first one. I used to paint helmets in my spare time. A few things I noticed that you might find helpful. First, just take your time when spraying in general. I've always found it better to use multiple, light coats rather than one thick heavy coat. Helmet looks really good so far!

For the logos, such as your Fox logo, contact your local sign shop and have them make you a stencil out of paint mask vinyl. Will save you a lot of time and headache, plus it is typically cheap.

As far as taping off a design I would recommend using, FBS ProBand (the green one) or K-tape fineline.
http://www.fbs-online.com/Centre/Framesets/P_Masks.html

If you have access to the proper equipment to spray an automotive grade clear coat, that is the best way to go. I was lucky, as my Dad works at a RV manufacturing facility, so I'd pay his co-workers to clear the helmet for me.

You can get away with clear coat out of an aerosol can, but the quality won't be nearly as good. Might be best to contact a local auto body shop for a quote.

One last thing, I can't tell from the pictures but make sure to tape off the underside of the helmet and stuff some old t-shirts or rags in there. If you have any questions I'm glad to lend any advice. Here's the last two I painted.

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11/25/2019 9:17 PM

Markee wrote:

Thanks man, got a couple cans. Looks like it lays on pretty good. As long as it don't pull up with the tape, should be fine.

I've painted a few helmets, a trick to that green tape, you can place a piece on your shirt before you apply to knock down the adhesion a bit.

Nice! Did you get the cans for a helmet or something else?

Am I wrong in thinking the tape should be extra sticky? I would think it helps keep the lines cleaner and no bleed through?

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11/25/2019 9:49 PM

DaBaum44 wrote:

Looks pretty good! Especially for your first one. I used to paint helmets in my spare time. A few things I noticed that you might find helpful. First, just take your time when spraying in general. I've always found it better to use multiple, light coats rather than one thick heavy coat. Helmet looks really good so far!

For the logos, such as your Fox logo, contact your local sign shop and have them make you a stencil out of paint mask vinyl. Will save you a lot of time and headache, plus it is typically cheap.

As far as taping off a design I would recommend using, FBS ProBand (the green one) or K-tape fineline.
http://www.fbs-online.com/Centre/Framesets/P_Masks.html

If you have access to the proper equipment to spray an automotive grade clear coat, that is the best way to go. I was lucky, as my Dad works at a RV manufacturing facility, so I'd pay his co-workers to clear the helmet for me.

You can get away with clear coat out of an aerosol can, but the quality won't be nearly as good. Might be best to contact a local auto body shop for a quote.

One last thing, I can't tell from the pictures but make sure to tape off the underside of the helmet and stuff some old t-shirts or rags in there. If you have any questions I'm glad to lend any advice. Here's the last two I painted.

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Thanks man! I’m definitely going to look into that tape. That’s exactly the kind of tape I was looking for! I knew there was something specifically designed for this type of job..

Agree on the vinyl. Tracing, cutting and taping the Fox logo was such a big task. And in the end it doesn’t even look perfect. Haha

Your helmets came out really nice. Mine are nowhere near that lol.

As for the clear coat, I was trying to keep everything “in house” and I also wanted to try every step. In the end, I think it came out pretty good.

Also, I read somewhere that you need to clear coat within 24hrs of painting? I waiting days in between each new colors.. don’t know if that’s right or wrong and how it affects the overall curing?

Thanks!

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11/25/2019 10:15 PM

Here is the finished product!
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Some close ups. Not perfect but it’ll do. Haha

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The drip pinch

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Don’t mind the stars on the visor. My girlfriend wanted some input in the design grin silly

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Getting the foam pieces back in was a feat in itself! haha
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11/26/2019 3:57 PM

cool cool Nice!! Looks awesome!

As far as clear coating within 24 hours I wouldn't worry too much about that. I've never cleared one within 24 hours and they all turned out fine. I definitely agree with you note on time between colors. Let it air dry a few days.
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11/26/2019 5:32 PM

DaBaum44 wrote: cool cool Nice!! Looks awesome!

As far as clear coating within 24 hours I wouldn't worry too much about that. I've never cleared one within 24 hours and they all turned out fine. I definitely agree with you note on time between colors. Let it air dry a few days.

Thank you! Design is/was limited to my abilities laughing Definitely learned a lot (like using vinyl) and I have a lot more confidence going into my next one haha.

How long do you wait to paint over existing layers? Only reason I wait a day or so is because I am afraid the tape will "peel off" with the tape when I remove it.

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11/27/2019 5:55 PM

Looks really good man. Kind of has a retro look to it. I’m curious to know how it holds up. I race mainly woods and so limbs and things scratch my helmets so bad. Not sure If any paint would hold up for me very long.

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11/28/2019 12:34 PM

Blackjack31 wrote:

Looks really good man. Kind of has a retro look to it. I’m curious to know how it holds up. I race mainly woods and so limbs and things scratch my helmets so bad. Not sure If any paint would hold up for me very long.

Funny you mention the retro look. This was my inspiration cool 1950 Merc is my favorite classic car.Photo
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12/1/2019 2:30 AM

Congrats turned out really good

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Now a member of the Orange brigade