How to paint a motorcycle with spray paint cans

Updated June 09, 2017

Traditionally, motorcycle painting is done by professional automotive painters with expensive paint guns and paint. However, it is possible to get a very similar effect using cheap spray paint cans. Spray paint cans will take longer overall, but do not require the more expensive tools that professional automotive painters use. The use of a spray clear coat will give the motorcycle a professional looking gloss.

Wash away any dirt and dust present on the motorcycle parts to be painted. Dry these parts thoroughly.

Sand the parts with 300 grit sandpaper. Focus on removing any rust stains and scratches in the original paint.

Spray two coats of spray primer onto the motorcycle. Wait five to ten minutes between the two coats.

Wait 30 minutes for the primer to dry.

Sand the primer with 600 grit sandpaper. The purpose of this step is to give the primer a rough surface for the spray paint to bond.

Wash off the sandpaper dust from the motorcycle with water. Dry the parts thoroughly.

Place sheets over any part of the motorcycle that you do not want to paint. This will prevent these parts from being hit by the peripheral spray of the can.

Spray three to four light coats with the spray paint cans. Wait five to ten minutes between each coat. Each coat should be sufficient to create a thin layer of colour over the part, but no visible liquid beads of paint should appear.

Wait one hour to give the paint time to dry.

Spray four to five light coats with the spray clear coat cans. Wait five to ten minutes between each coat.

Wait six hours to give the clear coat time to dry.

Place rubbing compound onto the clear coat. Sand off any orange peel, surface imperfections, or dirt in the clear coat with 1500 wet sandpaper.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint cans
  • Spray paint primer
  • Spray clear coat cans
  • Sheets
  • Rubbing compound
  • 300 grit sandpaper
  • 600 grit sandpaper
  • 1500 grit wet sandpaper
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About the Author

Matthew Anderson started as a writer and editor in 2003. He has written content used in a textbook published by Wiley Publishing, among other publications. Anderson majored in chemical engineering and has training in guitar performance, music theory and song composition.