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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.
Long time follower, first time poster. Apologies for any mistakes.
I've posted this on another biking forum in Sydney, Australia, but thought it would be more beneficial here.




Are you like me - too cheap to fork out $800 for a semi decent paint job? Or just wanted to change that ghey pastel colour scheme on ur bike without donating ur kidney?
I'm no expert when it comes to painting nor will I profess to be - I just want to leave this here for future references when i bodge up another paint job, and for anyone else considering painting using spray cans rather than an air compressor and an expensive gun with various funky nozzles.
I stress - these are NOT instructions. I'm not expecting anyone to follow them - make your own rules as you go. It's simply a guide of what I've found to work or not work consistently in the past. They might be different for you - if so, post up ur experiences ya fuggen tight arse.

I painted this old bike a few years ago with cans, and when it came to getting things around for another paint job this time around, I'd forgotten all the mistakes I'd previously made, and it was a frustrating exercise in remembering by making all those infuriating mistakes all over again...
So, if I can save anyone from making frustrating mistakes when u paint using spray cans, that’d be sweet. I hope some of this might be able to help.
Most of this info results from personal experience and from valuable time and knowledge from mates and from a few pro painters around the auto industrial areas of Ryde and Auburn. Thanks guys.
Getting an air compressor, gun, line and nozzles can be expensive, but if you manage to get one cheap, then good for you. Sure the results from a spray gun will be far superior to that of a spray can, fo sho niggah!! But if you've spent most of your hard-earned on sky rocketing petrol prices or blown it at the local bird sanctuary (beer garden), then spray cans aren't a bad alternative. Plus, you're bound to learn a new trick or two.
By this, I want to stress that people need to remember that, after all, it IS a SPRAY CAN JOB: it's NOT going to look like it just came out of the pay & spray auto salon (GTA anyone?), but if you pay meticulous attention to detail and procedures and minimize **** ups, than you CAN get pretty darn close (yes, i said "darn").
By this I mean you need to be PATIENT and PERSISTENT... really patient: for example, between coats of the same colour, you usually should wait about 15 to 20 minutes, and the longer the better (eg, an hour). If you cake the spray paint on, you end up with a very mottled orange-peel effect which you'll have to sand out and looks fuglier than that fat chick you dated back in high school.
Now, before you even think about shaking that a$$, along with your rattle can, consider several things:
1. Can I REALLY spray it?
It's a time consuming process, especially if you get **** ups, or you change ur mind halfway through...
Remove ALL the things you want to paint OFF YOUR BIKE. I've seen a few people attempting to paint things still on their bike, and the sad fact is that spray paint mist goes through every nook and cranny, and ends up inadvertently painting your bike. Also, u won't be able to paint the inside edges unless you take them off your bike ya ****en moron! ;P
Got all the right bits & boobs? Er, i mean, bobs.

You'll need:
Masking tape, newspaper
clean rags (freshly clean, you Jewbag tight arse!) – lint free
scalpel blades and handle
Prep wash or Wax and Grease remover (for acrylic only!) ~$20
Paint strip tape or painter's tape (or special painting masking tape - I got a brand called "Stylus" from a vinyl store in Auburn - about $3 for a 5mm roll. See pic below - yellow tape in my hand).
Mask and safety goggles (nerd it up, g33ky mofo's!!)
Cut and Polish
Fillers or Fibreglass repair kits
As a rough guide, for every full side fairing panel you'll need:
1 x can of primer or primer/filler (~ $15 - $20 per can)
1 x can of paint (~ $10 - $20 per can)
1 x can of top coat / clear coat (~ $10 to $15 per can)

You'll also need a sheet of Wet and Dry sand paper in each the following grades/grit:
200-400 (course-medium)
600-800 (medium)
1500 (fine)
2000 (super fine, aka Jessica Alba grade)

If you have dents / fibreglass to repair in your bodywork, you'll need the appropriate material to deal with that first, before even considering priming, obviously. I found that metal fillers or fibreglass fillers, although strong and durable, were very difficult to work with once set (hard to sand through). So if you have relatively small holes and crevices to repair or cover, use spot putty / auto body filler which are much easier to manipulate and work with. Just make sure you use them in thin layers at a time, and ensure you give it plenty of time to dry before building it up.

So, you may need to get a fibreglass kit (middle, ~ $25 from Bunnings) or auto body filler (right, “Spot putty” ~ $16 from Super Cheap Auto) plus the required tools to shape it (various sized and grade files, wooden rasps, shaving files, etc) before the priming begins...

The raceglass I bought had holes cut in them from the previous owner having placed a turbo and nitrous system in his 954 WTF (see above pic, lower right panel)
These were mended with fibreglass (very easy to do), and re-shaped / contoured using fibreglass resin (Tip: After shaping down any fibreglass work, if you still have any small defects or holes use body filler and not fibreglass resin... the hours i lost trying to plug tiny holes with fibreglass resin was many an unnecessity... Auto body filler is just so much easier to work with it's not funny)

Got ur work area set up?
Got the neighbours car (or, more importantly, your own bike) covered from spray off shoots? (I learnt the hard way...). Anyone in the house allergic to inhalants? Pets have respiratory conditions? If so, set up everything in a garage, and make sure everything that you don't want "accidentally" painted is covered and sealed.
This sounds obvious, but you tend to forget (or, at least I do) when you start painting - that spray paint is a very fine mist of paint that is pushed out with the gush of expelled air - this means that when you spray and walk away, the paint filled air that moves around you can move the paint particles to where ever you go and what ever air you move... you get my drift. It DOES end up in places you haven't sealed. So make sure you've got a good working area.
Also, when you're tidying up your working area, and before you start spraying, dust the floor, then grab a spray water bottle and set the nozzle to fine mist. Lay down sheets of newspaper on the floor where you'll be spraying, then lightly wet mist this newspaper. This prevents dust and **** rising up and getting in to your paint job when the spray from the can disturbs the air and kicks up **** from the ground.
Make sure you have a good dust mask - goggles wouldn't go a stray. You'd be surprised how many times I've been hit in the eye with paint, and it fuggen stings like hot searing metal on flesh (yes Chopper, I know - I need to harden da **** up, obviously)
Painting platform:
Some people paint with the panels flat on a surface like a low table. This is okay, but the problem is that spray cans rely on them being straight vertical - if you tilt a spray can horizontally (especially if it's less than 1/2 full) you start getting inconsistent splutters, which can **** up your up-to-now perfect spray job).

I've found it so much easier to hang your work from a ladder with a pole attached (see above pic, left) or a beam (above pic, right). This way, your can is always upright (ie, more consistent spray pattern) and you're free to move around your work and aren't necessarily limited by the table or whatever you're resting it on. Not to mention more comfortable to work with - your spraying at eye level or there abouts, not crouching down or bending over. And I've found that it's a lot more secure/stable than a low lying table where you or your trusty pet can knock it over easily.
The rusty old foldable/collapsable clothes hangar also works ok, but on windy days it has fallen down, along with the paint job...
2. Have I selected the right colour?
This sounds like a stooopid question, but you’d be surprised how different the colour looks in the shop as compared to your bike, especially when you're trying to match a colour on another part of the bike. Some stores can identify a colour code for you if you take the part in, or better still, some stores can colour match accordingly. The auto store in Top Ryde does this and gives you your selected colour in a can. A bit more costly than the pre-made ones though, obviously.
3. Acrylic VS Enamel?
In a nut shell, Acrylics are water based (doesn't dissolve in petrol, turps, etc), and enamels are oil based (ie, dissolves in oils, petrol, turps, etc). Simple. So in other words, if you're painting anything related to your bike, select an acrylic SYSTEM - they're far easier to work with, and won't spoil your hard work art job every time you spill a drop when filling up at your favourite service station.
PLEASE NOTE that the two (acrylic and enamel) DO NOT MIX!!! Eg; if you sprayed acrylic and go over it with enamel clear, they'll react and **** everything up. Choose a system and stick to it throughout your whole paint job. That means sticking to one type (acrylic or enamel) from the base primer/filler to base colour, coat colour, decal colour, and all the way through to the clear coat.
In fact, choose a SYSTEM AND BRAND - I've used different branded enamels against each other and had reactions which ****ed everything up. So try and head to your local auto spray or parts dealer and find a product range with the colour selection as well as the primer and clear coats you’re after, then stick to it.
If you're about to try different brands on top of each other, test spray something else first to check for compatibility.
Acrylic is a lot more forgiving in this regard, unlike enamels which tend to react even across brands. Hence I would strongly recommend using acrylic paints for most motorbike/automotive applications.

Spray technique
A steady hand helps, but if you're as twitchy as a suicide bomber catching the bus, practice makes perfect. Grab an old piece of plastic or small bucket and hit it! If it looks ****, try and work out where you went wrong. Once ur happy with the way it turns out, then hit your bike fairing. Hey, better to bodge up a test run than to **** up your actual paint job, right?
Aim to hold the nozzle about 20 to 30 cm away from the surface, and move your whole hand / can (not) over the surface to be painted. Don’t just twist the wrist - ur not riding a bike now! Move the can up & down / closer & away as needed to follow the contour of the surface while you spray along without speeding up or down.
Move the can in a consistent and smooth movement - not too slow but not too fast (ie, you'll only learn by actually doing it). Don't change speeds during your pass.
I've found it easier to spray across the long axis of a surface rather than across it / up and down.
Aim to overlap the previous stroke by about a third to a half its width.
At sharp changes of direction (edges/corners, folds or deflections) just continue to paint each flat surface as "separate", and aim to finish a section off at a time. If you aim to spray directly at the corner or edge, you'll end up with heavy builds which look sh!t house.
Avoid heavy build ups!!! Generally if it looks wet, then it's too thick a coat. Ideally, just spray a light mist, wait 20 minutes or so, then another, wait another 20 minutes, and so forth.

A "light coat" consists of 2 to 3 light quick runs across a surface. For example (pic above) if you're painting a primed surface, a light coat should still allow you to see the underlying colour of the primer through your newly painted layer and NOT mask the underlying colour in one hit. If you do end up masking the underlying colour in one hit and it "looks wet", then your layers are too chunky and I hope you like orange peels, cos you'll get lots of it ;)

I'll go in to a step by step process further below, but here are some quick tips that I've found that'll help your paint job look a whole lot better:
* ALWAYS shake the cans upside down for AT LEAST 2 minutes after the ball starts rattling. I learnt the hard way, when i only shook it for half a minute - the result: large blobs of hard and stringy paint that shot out and made it look like the disgraced face of a cum-jizzed pornstar bitch, and ****ed the job up. Answer: SHAKE DA ****EN CAN YA LAZY HOMO - at least 2 minutes. 5 min's even better.
* Reshake the can every minute or so (shake it every time you've cleaned the nozzle, every 5 sprays or so)
* "Test card" - ALWAYS test spray on to a piece of large card board to check the consistency of the spray that comes out of the nozzle. Keep it nearby to your spray area, and hit it EVERY TIME just BEFORE you start spraying your bike part. Also, the very first spray usually has a tendency to spit out large chunky blobs that just **** up your paint job. So to avoid having to wait until the **** up dries, sanding it back, re priming it and re sanding the priming job in an attempt to hit it again, always hit the practice or test card before hitting your actual job.
* Start & finish spraying each stroke away from the actual surface being painted. In other words, the start and finish of each push of the nozzle should be away off the fairings. This is because the start and end of each push can have large blobs of paint that looks fuggen fuggly. Fuggen oath. Fugg.
Best way to describe it is to fade in to the object being painted, and similarly, fade out.
* After about 5 sprays, clean your nozzle on a rag. Else, you'll get large overhanging drops on the nozzle that just leads to further chunky blobs being spat at your work of art. It's tedious, but if you keep this up, your results will look much better for it.
* Even & consistently LIGHT strokes
* Avoid spraying in the sun. Once you've finished hitting it, then move it in to the sun.
* Avoid spraying on cold, damp days. Like trying to get it on with the missus on cold days, it just doesn't work and it's just not worth it.
* SERIOUSLY wait about 20 - 30 minutes between coats, and about 2 to 3 days between colour/clear coat layers. SRSLY! CAPSLCK FTW


Part 2 to follow...

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
One thing i've learnt (and I'm sure you will too, albeit frustratingly through learning from mistakes...) is that spray painting is all about the prep:
I've been told before, and rightly agree, that about 90% of the work involved is the prep and post-spraying, and only 10% is actually shooting it with the spray gun or rattle can. Cos no matter how good your spray technique is, unless your base or underlying layers are prepped nicely and properly, it's gonna look like regurgitated breakfast after a night out on the sauce with your favorite gal pals. The same applies for polishing/buffing the final coat.
Your fairing should be sanded back of ALL paint and primers from previous applications. You should pretty much be down to the bare plastic or fibreglass. Roughen the surface with the course 200 to 400 grit wet & dry sand paper.
General note about sanding:
Wet sanding is preferred over dry sanding as the sanded paint particles are washed away more readily (so you get more efficient sanding and less sandpaper wastage) and the end result is a more even finish overall without harsh scratches.
I generally cut the sandpaper in to portions that are small enough to fit in to the palm of the hand (about 4 cm by 5 cm). If your pieces are too large, you may accidentally end up sanding an adjacent part that you aren't paying attention to, and worst case scenario is that you accidentally sand through your colour thereby exposing your primer layer and then having to spray it again, for example.
Whenever you wet sand (especially important for the finer sanding involved later with colours and the top coat) ALWAYS make sure you have a good bucket full of CLEAN water (about 4 litres) that is clear and free of grit like dirt and sand - any such particles that gets in between your sand paper and the fairing will cause deep scratches that will be visible even after layers of paint being applied!
It helps to have warm water rather than just plain cold water, and generally apply a drop or two of dish washing liquid to your bucket - this helps to glide the sandpaper more smoothly over your work (therefore gives a better quality finish) as well as stopping the sanded particles from clogging (detergent is a good surfactant).
Dunk the sandpaper in to the weak-soap water, and "plonk" the wet stuff onto your working area - this puts plenty of water on to the area you're working on.
Sand in a back and forth motion, and try to maintain it in one direction only. If you use circular motions, any scratches you’ve created may become evident from multiple angles rather than just one.
Don't EVER let the sanding area get scummy/dry - if your sandpaper grips the fairing, it means it's too dry!! The wetter the better, when wet sanding, so constantly funk that sand paper in to the bucket.
As soon as the clear water changes colour, change it!! Or else, all you're doing is putting sanded particles back in between your sandpaper and the fairing, and not only ruins your sandpapering by clogging, but possibly your work as well (scratches from compacted particles).
With everything sanded back, nice and relatively "rough" (with the 200 to 400 grit paper), clean it thoroughly with water and a clean lint free rag.
Let it dry.
Then wipe it down with a lint free rag with a small amount of Wax and Grease remover.
Hang it where you're gonna shoot it, and let it dry.
Shake your can of primer / filler vigorously for 2 minutes after you hear the rattling ball.
Spray back and forth in an even overlapping pattern starting from the top to the bottom - this ensures a consistent & even layer.
Remember to wipe down the nozzle every 5 strokes!!
This primer/filler layer is a bit more forgiving, in that you're going to sand it down and "shape" it, so if you do get clumps, it's easily sanded back. But, it's a good time to try and get ur spraying technique down pat for the next layers - the base colour.
Apply 3 to 5 light coats (make sure it's even through out!), leaving a good 20 minutes in between coats.
After your final coat, let it dry (in the sun is ok) for AT LEAST 2 hours before wet sanding it with the 400 grit.

The idea is to get a smooth glassy finish that is free of the rough orange-peel look. As much as you may enjoy ur daily dose of citrusy vitamin c goodness, it looks **** house on a paint job, so sand it until it's gone ya fruit lovin homo.
If you accidentally sand through the primer, shoot it again, and repeat the process.
*** TIP: I usually use the primer-filler, as it provides 2 roles - to prime AND to fill small defects (no **** Sherlock! No wank, Watson!); but most of all it's generally very easy to work with. Once the 3 coats have gone on, I then put on another 2 coats of surface primer (of a different colour). This is a guide coating - in other words, when u sand it back, and start seeing the initial coat's colour, you know you've gone too far, and can stop sanding right there.

Base colour
When u've sanded the primer surface smooth, clean it again with water, let it dry, and then again with the wax and grease remover.
If you're doing a pattern or decals, apply tape (masking or special paint tape) to the areas you DO NOT want to paint. Also, mask and SEAL off any areas you don't want painted. Remember to tape down and seal the newspaper from behind/underneath the fairing, and not just on the side you can see, because spray paint (being a fine mist) WILL find its way under the newspaper if it's not sealed!!!

Note: when taping, press firmly on the edges to stop paint underunning between the tape and fairing. If you're using masking tape, apply 2 layers, as some masking tape are known to leech paint through (yup, found out the hard way...). Seriously, get painter's tape. It's so much easier to work with (bendy around corners) AND it doesn't lift up paint when u remove it. And, it's not that expensive, you tight arse madafukka!!
Tip: If you’re doing decals or patterns (such as flames), what works for me is to overlap the tape, effectively creating a “film layer” of the stuff, then cutting my design in to it using a sharp scalpel blade. Be careful not to cut too hard in to your fairings with the scalpel. DO NOT discard any trimmings – use the outside trimming of the shape you’ve just cut to spray the internal pattern with. Then once it’s dry/sanded, cover it up using the cut-out, and spray around it, etc.
Applying the Base colour is the same deal as the primer:
Wipe it & let it dry. Repeat with Wax and grease remover, let it dry.
Hang it, then apply 3 to 5 light coats (at least 20 minutes apart). The key here being LIGHT COATS you unco phat phuck! :p

Remember, with a light coat, you should be able to still see the underlying primer coat.
It'll take 3 to 5 light coats to blank out the primer layer, so take it easy and lightly, and have a 20 minute breather in between coats.
If at this stage, you have drips or sags in the paint from heavy build ups, you can either let it dry and sand it back and start all over again, or wipe it down with a wet rag, and spray again.
So avoid this by ensuring a light crisp spray pattern every time.
Just make sure you get a uniformly equal coat down, spraying evenly throughout the entire job.

Let it dry for 2 to 3 hours before removing the tape (if you have them on). Any earlier, and you risk lifting the paint around the tape because it's not stuck down to the primer yet. Any later, and you may end up cracking the adjacent paint. Or worse, your tape (especially with masking tape) lifts the underlying primer away – avoid this by using painter’s tape. Oh, and avoid drying it in the sun if it has tape – the heat will dissolve the glue and ur left with messy residues to clean up (won’t happen with painter’s tape… have I convinced you to get the painter’s tape???)

Then, let this dry for 2 to 3 days before wet sanding it with the 600 - 800 grit (medium) sand paper. The aim is to smooth out bumps or any clumps that may have resulted (see pic below). Don't worry about it looking all scratched up when it's dry - you're going to coat it again anyway.

Wipe it clean with a lint-free rag, and hang to dry. You can choose to apply another layer or 2 on top of this, or just wait until you put clear coat on top, which will pretty much eliminate the apparent scratches you've just made with the wet sanding.
(The Clear coat is the final top coat of clear acrylic, which will make everything glossy and shiny).

If you chose to do multiple colours, repeat the process of taping/masking/cleaning, painting then sanding (except you now cover the bits you've already painted, obviously...)

Part 3 to follow:...

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Transition zones / Feathering edges:
I decided to make the bottom of my fairing a gradual colour transition, rather than a hard stop from one colour to the next.
Feathering edges create two effects:
1. accentuates or highlights nearby sharp edges
2. gives the appearance of subtlety by blending colours in
There are several ways to feather the edges, but the basic principle is to leave a small gap between the "edge" and the fairing.
You can roll a bit of newspaper or bend a bit of cardboard at the edge(s) to be feathered, and shoot perpendicular to it. The paint mist will lightly find its way in to the edge, and the amount of feathering depends on the height/depth of your rolled paper / bent cardboard. Best way to work it out is to experiment on something else first.

Above: rolled newspaper at the lower edge of the red scheme.

Above pics: bent cardboard method (ok, so i enjoy Home Brand Coco Puffs... they’re bloody crunchier than Coco Pops, alright!)
The result is a feathered edge, either way. Just be careful not to wet sand that fine edge away, cos it's easy to do accidentally. Very easy to do… I know, cos I did this four fu(king times on this one fuggen fairing alone, and repeated the process 5 times... FFS. Fugg. FUGGITTY FUGG.

Above: the end result of feathering the edges.

Clear coat / Top coat:
Once again, after at least 2 days of drying:
wet sand lightly,
then clean with a lint-free rag, let it dry
wipe with Wax & Grease remover, let it dry
hang for painting
Apply 4 to 5 light coats of clear coat
Let it dry for 3 days, then wet sand it with fine grit wet & dry sand paper (1200 to 1500 grit).
Wipe clean, let it dry
Wipe with Wax & Grease remover, let it dry
Final clear coat = 2 more light coats of top coat.
Dry for 2 to 4 days, then wet sand LIGHTLY (light pressure!!!) with Jessica Alba grade (super fine, 2000 grit) wet & dry sand paper.
Then hit it with the Cut & Polish and pad to gloss it all up!!
...the end result... =

So, the "journey" from start to finish is :

Repairs + Sanding:


Decal colour:

Base colour:

Happy snaps:

Once again, although it is a spray can job, and although it will never look as good as what you pay for at the auto spray salon, with a bit of practice and ****et load of patience, persistence and swearing, hopefully you'll be able to achieve something you can look at and say "Yeah, I did that."

And even more hopefully girls like Jessica Alba will walk past and say "No way, YOU did that? Oh you're so hawt right now!" BOOM CHICKA WA WAH~!"

271 Posts
I always like the black and red scheme.. I still think it was one of the best looking graphics. Not too bad for a spray can. I painted my 98' too. Use to be yellow and cracked to hell. 4 days later... No decals... all painted.


419 Posts
Hiya, I too am a fan of she wearing underwear in the photo, and are there any follow ups pic to it.
No on your other hobbie....why dont you get yourself a small compressor and spray kit - an use the recomended auto paints...u have done a great job otherwise.

31 Posts
not bad for a spray can...but you should buy a spray gun more cost effective...than spray can buy a cheap gun that will do a decent job for under $100...i had one when i first started i use a top of the line snap-on...but that is besides the there are so many options you can do with a spray gun...there is a product called z-crome it is a polyester fill comes in a quart can and by the gallon...this is a high build primer...even tho all primers say there are a high build this polyester primer is a lot better than any thing else that is have found..this takes care of all your small pinholes and things in 2 coats...don't cheap z-crome...far as the paint gun goes Sharpe makes a good gun under $100.. don't get an off brand gun u will not be happy...stick with ( Iwata, Shapre, Devilbliss, Sata, Snap-on (sharpe makes there guns) but if you want something cheap stick with Sharpe, they will have a cheaper line of guns other than their high end guns..also when you sand u need to use a hand pad... b/c when u sand with ur bare hand you will leave finger marks where you sanded...most people won't notice but to the trained eye they will pick it out like a sore thumb..these pads are like $3 at any auto parts store...i have several runnin around the shop...and if you buy a gun buy filter's b/c condensation will kill a piant job... u won't notice at first buy give it a couple of months and your paint will start poppin...what happens is condensation (water) builds up after air is heated up (compressed) and cooled down (when air enters the tank)...then it goes through the air line into your gun and in the paint then on what ever your do your self a fav. and buy a filter there are cheap under $20 bucks and you get more than one use out of them...they all have indicators of when they need to be replaced...tape and sandpaper wise use 3m products...if you have any questions on anything you don't understand about autobody just message...

31 Posts
also not bad for spray can's :thumb: you can also get tape plastic tape that bends and when i mean bends it is what i lay down flames with... or anything with a lot of curves it might give you some more options than that 1 1/4" maskin tape

106 Posts
You are very creative. Thanks for posting the pics along with the artice. The girl pic didn't need any body work. However I wouldnt mind taking it apart to see how many scr*ws I could get out of it. :evilaugh:

20,979 Posts
I'm just asking Ninjaboy(original poster), if he's a Korean, my apologies if this is regarded as spam.
My apologies, but there has been a lot of spammers on here lately, and they start with their very 1st post. Pop into introductions and say hi, then we all get to know you. What made you think he was Korean ???
:welcome: to the site, and sorry for the shakey start :thumb:

14 Posts
I know this is old, but im in the middle of diy painting my fairings, whats this tape thats more flexible? Im attempting a design on the fairing


105 Posts
Well use the 3m 6408 or any size and then use 3m gold 3/4 inch or 1.5.

The purple fine line tape for all the designs.
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