Paint Your Own Helmet

Just thought I would throw this out there as I know karters love to have their custom helmet paint! I like custom too but not prepared to spend a minimum of $600 for a basic design. So I did a bit of research decided to give it a try myself. I personally like simple designs so this does make thing easier. Anyway I practiced on a couple of old helmets then did a couple of brand new helmets, one for me and one for my wife. I learned something on each one. I’m not saying it is easy but the more you practice the better you get. My next helmet will be a little more complex not really because that’s what I like but just to prove that it can be done by an amateur. I’m not going to tell you I am as good as the pro’s but I am very happy with my results. I purchased a small (cheap) detail gun and airbrush kit from Amazon total cost less than $100. I am using Createx water based paint and 2k Glamour clear. Only regret is that there is no option for large flake with the Createx paint. If you have time on your hands give it a try!


Good effort! :+1:t3: :beers:

20 char

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Those look great! Now all your pals are gonna bug you to do theirs.

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Looks great! This is how it starts. You paint a couple for yourself and a some buddies. Then it evolves into business.

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And if you really enjoy doing it, just keep it as a hobby… :sweat_smile:


Thanks for the kind words guys! This is just a hobby for me, I don’t mind doing a few for friends but that will be the extent of it (I will just charge them for materials). The problem for me is I’m not much of an artist so I have to practice different ideas on scrap pieces of sheet metal. I have several old street signs that I use for this. TJ Koyen I just looked at your portfolio and your work is amazing :clap: A couple of my practice pieces below.

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Thank you! I’ve had a fair bit of practice at this point. :wink:

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Keep at it and you’ll be as good as TJ and the other famous helmet painters! You’ll need a lot of helmets but you’ll get there!

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NICE JOB John! Applause applause! What kind of paint is that? An automotive paint?

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Thank you! The paint I use is called Createx and it is water based, google Createx. I buy my paint from I use Spraymax 2K clear glamour for the clearcoat which is in a spray can but the finish is very professional, check Youtube for Spraymax video’s.

What equipment do you use?

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I bought a cheap airbrush kit and also a moderately priced detail gun from Amazon. Both work very well in my opinion.

Continuing the discussion from Paint Your Own Helmet:
Hi TJ, if you don’t mind i’d like to ask you a question about airbrushes. The cheap airbrush that I have has a 0.3 tip and it seems like I should be using a 0.5 or 0.7 as I have to thin the paint a lot and have the trigger fully open to get it to spray a good coat of paint. Do you typically use a certain size tip or maybe it varies as to what you are doing. I think I might buy a better quality airbrush that I can change the needle and tip sizes on.

I have quite a few airbrushes ranging from 0.3-0.7 tip depending on what I’m using them for. My 0.5 Iwatas handle most of the stuff I do.

Airbrushes are for detail stuff only, so you shouldn’t really be applying a “coat” of paint with it. That’s what spray guns are for. But yes, you will have to thin the paint more to get it to flow nicely in a brush.

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Thanks! Yes I use my 20oz detail gun for most of the painting. I think I will purchase a 0.5 airbrush, i’ll spend a bit of money this time and get something of quality.

Can’t recommend Iwata enough. I have tested a bunch of brands on brushes and guns and they’re my favorite. I use Iwata for my guns too. But as a hobbyist, it might be a little pricey to justify, but I don’t know your budget.

Paasche makes some good stuff too for a lower price point. I had a couple Talon brushes from them and they work pretty good. They’re my back-ups to my three Iwata Eclipse/Micron brushes.

Otherwise TCP’s in-house Iwata-knock-off brand, Master, is pretty decent too for the money.

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Whatcha using for paint? Back when I messed around with painting helmets it seemed like House of Kolor was king. Curious if that’s still the same.

Mostly HoK still. Lots of guys use HoK or PPG. I have a variety of different brands of clears I like for different things.

There are some house brands that aren’t bad for solid colors, but anything remotely special like neon or pearl or flake, I go with something reputable.

Hey @tjkoyen, how about water-borne paints like Auto-Air or Wicked Colors… any experience with, or opinion about, them?

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I have never used water-based stuff, but I know some people do. From what I hear, solvent stuff is easier to work with, is more durable, and dries faster. But also, the fumes and exposure to chemicals isn’t great. And water-based tech keeps advancing.