You have spent days/weeks/months picking out your dream BMX, you have now had it for a week and it is scratched. Despite the reality of the fact that this was always going to happen, you are devastated. Your bike is no longer pristine, it is now just a tool of the trade, or you could learn how to paint your BMX.
Professional help or DIY?
You have a few options but these options come down into two fields. You can do it yourself or you can pay someone to do it. Both of these depend on the effect you want, the price you want to pay, and even if you think you may change the color of your BMX regularly depending on your mood.
The easiest way is to give your frame/forks/bars to the professionals. They can then sandblast your parts down to the raw metal underneath and then powder coat your bike back to the factory finish paint job. You could even have them airbrush various designs into the paint. This though will cost money and will also depend on the quality of experts that you have in your local area.
Doing it yourself is great fun and you can eventually become as great as the professionals at getting it done. The main thing to pay attention to is any instructions on the products you are using. If they say to use in a well-ventilated area, then use them in a well-ventilated area. You only have one life so do not jeopardize it by being lazy in spraying your bike.
The easiest way to spray your bike is to do it ghetto fashion. Lean your bike against something. Don’t remove any parts. Shake your spray paint can(s) up and go wild. This can look really cool but it can also make your bike look like you have stolen it and that you are trying to disguise what it is. Ghetto two paint fade jobs can look really cool, it may take a bit of practice but once you have it nailed you’ll be changing color schemes regularly. Just try and not get any paint on your chain or headset and bottom bracket bearings.
The “correct” way to do it by yourself though would be to strip your bike down. This will be a lot easier if you know how to work/fix your bike. See below for some Youtube guides on how to do that.
Next, decide on the parts you want to paint. Now you have a few options. You can just paint over the top of the old paint, a slightly better version of the ghetto paint job. You can sand the paint down a little bit to give the new paint something to grab onto. You can sand the paint all the way down to the metal and start from scratch, this will take what seems like forever though. Or you can buy paint stripper and make that sanding a lot easier.
To strip or not to strip
Paint strippers are not a great thing to work with if you use them incorrectly. Follow all the instructions on the tin. I would also wear latex/nitrile gloves when working with the stuff and I would definitely not be wearing my best clothes, using it in my mum’s kitchen or sniffing the stuff. Nitromors is considered the industry standard, it used to be even better at removing paint than it is now but environmental legislation has made it slightly less effective. You can decide if that is a good thing or not.
Even using paint stripper you will have to sand the parts at the end to allow painting. With painting, you again have a load of options. You can just spray your selected color on the sanded metal and leave it to dry or you could carry on working like a pro and do a primer coat, paint coat, extra paint coat, and finally seal it with a lacquer. This can look amazing even when done at home but you have to take your time and work methodically.
The best way to paint your parts is to hang them from something. During summer you can hang your parts outside on a tree if the weather is working for you. The main issue here is that the weather may change or quite often the new paint attracts flies and you end up with dead flies in your paint job. That might even be the aesthetic that you are going for.
The best place to work though is a ventilated garage. Now if you share the garage with someone or your parents I would make a temporary spray booth out of cardboard boxes. This means any overspray should be caught and no one will want to beat you up for getting paint all over their stuff.
Getting primed to paint
Starting with the primer, shake the can for 4 minutes. Then move the can as you spray in nice and even lines. Do not move too fast and do not move too slowly. Too slow and you will get runs in your paint and too fast you will miss bits. Using primer will save you coats of paint in the long run as it makes sure your paint will settle in a nice and even coat.
When painting again shake the can for around 4 minutes. Then settle down and go for nice even coats. Do not try and concentrate on a specific point or you will get runs or have a noticeable color difference when you finish. It is better to do lots of thin coats than one thick coat.
Finally, repeat the above with the clear coat or lacquer. If you are going through the three different types of coat, read what the manufacturer’s instructions say and remember and always slightly sand the previous layer before adding a new layer. This will be very time consuming but the finished article will look amazing.
Now you know how to paint your BMX like a professional
Hopefully, the above tips were helpful.
If you fancy a head-turning effect. Take some acrylic paint and a paintbrush. Dip the brush in paint and throw the paint at the BMX part you want it on. You should end up with a cool splatter effect. Everyone loves the Jackson Pollock technique. Ideally, do this before a clear lacquer as that will help to keep the effect looking great for some time to come.