Regardless of how long you have been cycling, I am sure the thought of giving your bicycle a custom paint job has crossed your mind at some point. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a unique bicycle that turns heads? Nobody else would have the same bicycle as you. Furthermore, It makes stealing your bicycle all that more difficult, as it is immediately identifiable. This makes it a less likely target for thieves than say the next bike. 

Although repainting your bicycle might sound like a difficult tasks, it’s not really! We’re here with this article today on how to paint your own bicycle by breaking down this huge task into small manageable steps.

Step 1: Choose which bicycle you would like to spray

If it’s your first time spraying a bicycle, do consider what bicycle you would like to spray. Instead of spraying an expensive top of the line bicycle that you love, maybe spray a worn and banged up bicycle that you would like to refresh. That way you would take away the pressure of screwing up. Remember, you are the master of your bicycle paintjob universe, so there are no mistakes. In the words of Bob Ross, there are only happy accidents. Like you probably were.

Step 2: Paint removal/sanding

It’s important to prepare your bicycle frame for painting, and the first step in this preparation is determining whether you need to strip the old paint off. If there is a lot of rust and the paint job is really banged up, you might have to strip the paint off. You could use paint remover in spray can or liquid forms to this, and it can be bought in most hardware shops. Be careful though, this stuff is really toxic and we most definitely recommend using gloves for protection. After you have applied the paint remover, leave it for a bit to work its magic before scraping it off with a scraper.

Regardless of whether you are removing the paint or not, you will have to sand your bicycle frame. The purpose of doing this is two fold. Firstly, you’ll help create an event surface so that the paint job will look amazing. Second, you’ll be helping to create a surface that the paint can adhere to more easily.

Step 3: Masking

Hold your horses! Before you get painting, you’ll have to mask all the important bits so that paint doesn’t get in. This includes areas like the bottom bracket, head tube and components (if you aren’t stripping the bike, which we highly recommend doing. Once the bicycle is well masked, you’re all ready to paint!

Step 4: Painting

You have 3 main tools that you can use for this stage, and we’ll go through them in turn.

The spray can - for most people painting at home, this would be ideal as they are easily accessible and relatively easy to use. For a 1 or 2 colour job, this is usually perfect! Simply bring your bicycle outside, hang it on a piece of string or a pole (through the head tube or bottom bracket) and start spraying. Be sure not to layer it on too thick as this may cause drips. So keep your distance between the nozzle and the bicycle frame. Typically you’ll need 5 to 10 minutes between each coat and apply thin coats (as a beginner), to make sure that the paint is evenly applied. Go from tube to tube to make sure that you don’t miss any spots.

The spray gun - also known as an air brush, this is less accessible to most people at home but there are battery powered options from brands such as ingco, which is perfect for spraying your bike. The method of spraying is similar to the spray paint cans, but you can choose to use 2k paint (paint that is used for automotive purposes), that contain lacquer mixed in them for that really professional finish. The drawback though, is that you would require a power socket so it might not be plausible for many of us. That said, if this option is available to you, do consider it as the results are really stunning!

The last option is for all your artists out there. The brush. Thats right, you can use a paint brush to paint your bike, and this can be used in combination with both spray cans or the spray gun. Small brushes are perfect for detailing and drawing intricate patterns as you can avoid all the troubles and difficulties with masking. If you are artistically inclined, do consider treating your bicycle frame as a blank canvas.

Step 5: Lacquer your bicycle

It’s important to put a protective coat over your bicycle and typically, lacquer is used so that the paint job is more resistant to scratches when it takes knocks. There are 2 main types of lacquers being clear lacquer and matte lacquer. Clear lacquer will give your bike frame a glossy finish while matte lacquer, as the name suggests will give your bike a matte finish. There are also a variety of lacquers out there with flakes of metal and other substances in them to give your bicycle glittery and unique finishes, so feel free to explore!

After lacquering your bike, make sure to let it cure for at least 24 hours before assembly (we recommend letting it cure for longer, but the exact time really depends on the temperature, humidity and how thick you’ve laid your paint on).

There you go! Aren’t you glad that you went on this bicycle painting journey? Your paint job may not be perfect if it’s your first try, but we are pretty sure that you’ll be happy with the results. You have a unique bicycle painted with your own hands that you can proudly call yours. If you would like advice on how to paint your bicycle or if you would like us to guide you through the process/show you how to do it, drop us an email at or leave a comment below.

As usual, happy cycling and stay safe everyone! Until next time.

April 22, 2022 — Douglas Koh

Leave a comment