How To Spray Paint A Motorcycle? [A Step-by-step Guide]

How To Spray Paint A Motorcycle

Not liking the color of the motorcycle anymore? Or maybe you are bored of seeing the same color and want a completely new look. It can be anything but painting your motorcycle is always a good idea. It gives a new and polished look as well as improves the condition of the motorcycle. And when it comes to painting the motorcycle, spray painting is probably the easiest and most fun way to do it. 

Trust me, spray painting is not that difficult. Only if you know how to prepare the motorcycle for painting, you are half done with the task. However, some additional works are to be done before and in between the spray painting. In fact, I have spray-painted my motorcycle perfectly after making several mistakes. This is exactly why I am here. 

In this article, I will share the right process of spray painting a motorcycle that I have discovered after several attempts. As I don’t want you to make mistakes that I have made, I am here to guide you on how to spray paint a motorcycle. So let’s see how we can do it flawlessly!

8 Easy Steps To Spray Paint A Motorcycle: Do It Like A Pro

Know that simply painting the motorcycle is not enough. To let the paint sit and settle on the motorcycle, you have to go through a lot of work. Besides preparing the motorcycle, some other steps are to be followed to get a fine and polished motorcycle surface after painting. 

In this part of the article, all the steps will be mentioned in detail. These are the steps that I have followed so yes, it is proven to be effective. Let’s move on to the steps now: 

Step 1: Prepare A Space

The first step of spray painting is to choose a suitable space. I would suggest choosing an open area for ventilation so that you don’t make any mess. But if you choose an indoor area like a garage, you should prepare the space. 

In the room, lay a plastic sheet on the floor as well as the adjacent walls so that the paint doesn’t spread on the area. Tape the plastic on the floor and wall. Now, as ventilation is limited in the room, you should use a table or ceiling fan for free movement of air. You can also add a light source for your convenience and ease. 

Now that the space is ready, you can take the motorcycle and start preparing it for painting. 

Step 2: Remove The Part To Be Painted

I believe you are not painting the entire motorcycle, right? I mean you won’t want the exhaustion pipe or the motorcycle brake or clutch to be painted red or blue, right? This is why it is important to detach and remove the parts of the motorcycle that you need to paint. 

You can start with removing the tank as it is the main part that people notice. Also, it is easier to remove and paint than detach the other parts of the motorcycle. Thus start with the tank. Detach the pipe that connects the gas tank to the motorcycle. Then unscrew the nuts and bolts to remove the tank. 

Similarly, use a screwdriver or wrench to remove the screws and bolts. Now detach the parts you want to paint. But note that you should store the bolts and screws separately. While reinstalling, you won’t want to confuse which bolt will go on which part. So store the screws and bolts separately for each part of the motorcycle. 

Step 3: Sand And Clean The Surface

Sanding is an essential part of preparing the motorcycle for painting. If you don’t sand the surface, it will have old paint, dust, and other residues. But it is essential that you paint the motorcycle on bare metal; on a smooth surface. And without sanding, you can’t get a smooth metal surface. 

For sanding, use sandpaper and rub the surface of the motorcycle part in a circular motion. Keep sanding until the old paint is gone and there remains no uneven surface. Go slow as otherwise, you can have pain in your elbow and hand. Take a rest in between sanding for your comfort. 

After sanding the surface, take a towel and wipe away the dust. Use a wet cloth to deeply clean the surface and make it ready. 

Step 4: Apply Body Filler And Sand The Surface

To ensure you get a smooth surface to paint, you should apply a body filler on the surface of the motorcycle part. Body filler heals the surface and helps it get a plain surface. 

Before applying, mix the body filler well and make a liquid that is easy to apply. Use a pad to apply the body filler on the motorcycle part. The layer can be ⅛-inch thick. Now let the body filler sit and dry on the surface for an hour. After it dries, you have to sand the surface to remove the extra layer of body filler and get a plain layer. 

With sandpaper, lightly sand the motorcycle part. If you feel that another layer of body filler can help you get better results, apply it after sanding. Wait for an hour and then re-sand the layer. Now you should get the surface ready for painting. 

Step 5: Apply Two Layers Of Epoxy Primer

Epoxy primer on a metal surface simply increases its longevity and durability. This is why you should apply epoxy primer. The painting would last longer and the surface would stay protected from water, sunlight, and moisture. 

First, mix a hardener with the epoxy primer. The type of hardener and the quantity will be mentioned on the packaging of the epoxy primer. Also, ask the seller which epoxy primer and hardener will suit your motorcycle. 

Okay, so mixing the primer and hardener is done. Now fill a spraying gun with this and put on a layer on the surface. Don’t spray too much. Only put a single layer by moving the spraying gun back and forth. Let it dry completely. The time for drying would vary depending on the primer and hardener (find the duration from the packaging).

After it dries out, apply another layer of primer on it and let it dry. 

Step 6: Sand, Apply Thinner, And Clean The Surface

After the primer dries out, you need to sand the layer with 2000-grit sandpaper. The extra layer of primer should be removed before painting the motorcycle part. So, slowly sand the primer and clean the extra layers. 

After sanding, dip a towel in thinner, strain the extra liquid, and wipe away the surface thoroughly. Don’t put extra thinner as it may eat away the primer. Just wet the towel a bit to clean the surface. 

In the end, use water to rinse off the surface. This would remove any residue of the loose primer and thinner. 

Step 7: Prepare The Paint And Apply

The treatments on the motorcycle are done. Now, mix the paint (the color and type should be selected by you) with the thinner. Mix the paint well so that there remains no clump and the solution is fine. The amount of thinner needed will be mentioned on its packaging. Next, fill a spraying gun with the paint. 

Start painting the motorcycle part with the spraying gun. Put a single coat finely on the surface so that there is no bump or extra layer of paint. Let the paint dry and sit well on the surface. After it dries out, spray two more layers of paint on the motorcycle allowing each layer to dry before painting the other layer. 

After applying the third layer, let it dry and then sand the surface with 2000-grit sandpaper. Sanding the surface assures that the layer is smooth and plain. After sanding, apply the last layer of paint on the motorcycle part. So in total, you are going to apply four coats of paint on the motorcycle. 

Let the final layer of paint dry. 

Step 8: Finish The Surface

After the paint dries out,  you need to finish the surface to get the required look and longevity. In this final part, you need to apply clear coat lacquer on the painted motorcycle. 

Applying clear coat lacquer ensures that the paint stays for the longest time. It also gives a shiny and super smooth surface. And for applying the lacquer, spray it on the painted layer. Let the coating dry properly. 

If you are still not satisfied, you can sand the layer once again. But usually, the lacquer helps you to get the finest and smoothest motorcycle surface; colored and shiny!

In the end, after the paint and lacquer dry out, reinstall the parts of the motorcycle back to the motorcycle. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Motorcycle?

Choosing the right paint for the motorcycle is important to get the desired result. When you use suitable paint, the color is vivid on the motorcycle and looks excellent. 

Usually, enamel paint is used on the metal surfaces of a motorcycle. Acrylic enamel is an alternative too. These paints are long-lasting and the chances of cracking or fading are very minimal. The layer of enamel paint is fine and thin on the motorcycle. However, enamel paint is hard to make shiny. To make it glossy, sanding and applying the right lacquer is necessary. 

Can You Paint A Motorcycle With Spray Paint? 

Yes, you can spray paint a motorcycle. In fact, it is really fun to paint the motorcycle! But the real struggle is to prepare the motorcycle surface for painting. 

To let the paint adhere strongly to the metal surface, you would sand the surface several times. Besides sanding, you have to apply an epoxy primer for the paint to adhere well. To get a shiny and smooth finish, a coating of lacquer is necessary too. This means, though spray painting is simple, you will have to do a lot of other work too. Only then can you get a glossy and vibrant color on the motorcycle by spray painting. 

What Is The Safest Color For A Motorcycle? 

People often remain skeptical about which color to use on the motorcycle. In my opinion, white or yellow are the two best colors for a motorcycle; especially for the motorcycle tank. 

These are the two colors that are very vibrant and noticeable. It also creates a bright contrast with the other colors of the motorcycle making it remarkable. The chances of accidents become less with this as these colors glow even in the dark. This is why white and yellow are the safest motorcycle colors. 

Can You Spray Paint A Motorcycle Frame?

Yes, you can spray paint the motorcycle frame. In fact, it will look stunning if you paint the frame as well as the other parts of the motorcycle. It will give a completely new look!

For spray painting, a motorcycle frame, use aerosol engine acrylic paint. This is the best type of paint that adheres pretty well on the motorcycle frame. It has proven to last for a long time. It protects the frame from rust and dust, sunlight, and moisture, keeping the frame intact. Also, applying this paint is quite easy and gives a fine and clean finish. 

Can You Paint Motorcycle Plastics?

There are some plastic parts in the motorcycle like motorcycle fairings. Fortunately, you can spray paint these parts too just like you paint the metal parts. 

For painting the motorcycle plastics, clean the surface and sand it properly for a plain layer. After sanding, clean it again and apply primer on the plastic surface. As the primer settles, you can sand and spray paint the layer. Just after the paint dries, finish it with lacquer and get a colorful and shiny motorcycle plastic layer.

How Do You Spray Paint A Motorcycle Tank?

Spray painting a motorcycle tank is the easiest. Here are the steps:

  • Detach the tank from the motorcycle;
  • Sand and clean the tank surface to remove the old paint;
  • Apply epoxy primer (mixed with hardener) on the tank and sand it after it dries. Put a second coating and resand;
  • Now spray paint the tank and put on 3-4 coating;
  • After it dries out, apply lacquer to leave a shiny and long-lasting paint;

This is how you can spray paint a motorcycle tank.

Can You Spray Paint A Motorcycle Without Taking It Apart?

Though it is very tough, it is possible to spray paint a motorcycle without taking it apart. However, if you are not an expert, you may mess it up. 

For spray painting a motorcycle without separating the part, choose a ventilated space. Then mount the motorcycle on a motorcycle mount. Keep it at your eye level for your convenience. Now slowly follow the preparation method and spray paint the motorcycle carefully so that you don’t spread it too much. 

Can You Just Spray Paint Your Bike?

You can certainly paint your bike with spray paint. In fact, it is a good idea and an easy way to give a new look to your bike by spray painting. 

Spraying paint is super easy but a lot of additional tasks like sanding, cleanings, priming, and finishing should be done too. Spray painting not only adds beauty to the bike but also protects it from damage. So yes, spray painting the bike is a good idea. 

How Much Does It Cost To Repaint A Motorcycle?

If you want to paint the motorcycle to get a new look, you would need to invest in that. If you do it by yourself, the cost is minimal. But if you hire an expert, painting a motorcycle can be expensive. 

Usually, painting a motorcycle can cost between $600 to $1500 if you do it yourself. The cost varies depending on which products you are choosing. However, if the painting is critical and the motorcycle is expensive, a professional would charge a lot. For graphical painting and other customized options, you will need to invest between $5000 to $30,000. Yes, that’s a lot! But customized designs are expensive. 


Spray painting a motorcycle is fun work if you are not afraid of doing the prep part! The process is time-consuming but not difficult. So if you have decided to spray paint your motorcycle, just get ready with the materials and do it!

Ready to get a beautifully painted motorcycle? 

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