How to airbrush motorcycle gas tanks

Updated April 17, 2017

Anything can be painted onto a motorcycle gas tank with an airbrush. With so few areas on a motorcycle that can be custom painted, the gas tank provides the largest canvas to work with. Plus it is the part the rider sees the most. Of all painting techniques, airbrushing offers the most control and the best results.

Begin by spray painting a glossy black base coat on the motorcycle gas tank. Using a black background will make all the other colours stand out more clearly. Allow the paint time to dry.

Print or draw the design you want to paint on a sheet of paper so that it is the exact size you want on your gas tank. Make photocopies of the design. Use the pen knife to cut out the main figures in the design so you have the figures and a surrounding background seperate from each other. Cut out the figures on another copy of the design and then using the pen knife cut out the areas that are black in colour.

Using painter's tape, secure the sheet onto the gas tank. Using the primary colour for each figure lightly spray over the hole where the figures are cut out. This gives you a template to work from. Remove the background and allow the paint to dry. This should not take much time. Carefully lay the figure with the black parts cut out over the figures your just painted. Using black paint, fill in the black. Remove the template and allow the paint to dry.

Using the colour copy of the design to work from, airbrush the figures. This is freehand work and takes practice. Take your time and airbrush the figure as closely as you can to the design. When done allow the paint to dry.

Carefully cover the figures with the cutouts to protect the airbrushed design. Paint the background. Again, take your time. When completed allow the paint to dry.

Spray paint the gas tank with a high gloss clearcoat to protect the airbrush paint.


Even when you wear with a gas mask you should always work in a well ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Airbrush
  • Paint
  • Motorcycle gas tank
  • Eye protection
  • Gas mask
  • Colour copy of the design
  • Photocopies of design
  • Pen knife
  • Painter's tape
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About the Author

Amanda Dickerson has written hundreds of nonfiction articles on travel, crafts, home decoration, medical conditions and business. Her creative published work includes romance novels and science fiction role-playing games. Dickerson is a registered polysomnography technician and licensed massage therapist.