Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? And Is It Legal?

Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? And Is It Legal?

A helmet is one of the most important safety equipment for any motorcycle rider. Over time, it can accumulate dents, scratches, and other superficial damages. Rather than buying a new one, some people might opt to be resourceful. Hence, you are probably wondering – can you paint a motorcycle helmet? 

Painting a motorcycle helmet will restore its old appearance without the need to spend a lot. Not to mention, it also lets you incorporate personal elements to suit your style. Read on as we talk about the basics of painting a motorcycle helmet. 

Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? 

motorcycle helmet with gloves

Yes, you can paint a motorcycle helmet! This is an effective way to cover up light damages on the surfaces, such as scratches and discoloration. Best of all, this will also let you add your style to your helmet. 

But, take note that you cannot just use any type of paint for your helmet. You need to find one that matches its material, making sure that it will stick. You should also be mindful of the entire process. We will talk more about this later in this article.

The Safety of Painting a Motorcycle Helmet 

couple wearing a motorcycle helmet

While you can paint a motorcycle helmet, you must understand its safety implications. First, it might alter the color in such a way that you become less visible on the road, which will make you more prone to accidents. 

Second, you might end up using paints with harsh chemicals that can compromise the durability of the helmet’s material. 

Your Choice of Color Matters 

motorcycle helmet and spray paints

As for the visual aspect, choose not only the colors that you like but also those that will make it easy for you to be seen. The best practice is to avoid dark colors, especially if you often drive at night. Bright colors are best since they increase your visibility in the dark. 

According to experts, white is the best choice. Some people might be hesitant, thinking that it can easily get dirty. Nonetheless, the consensus is that it is the easiest to be seen, even in dark environments. 

Another good thing about a white helmet is that it has excellent heat absorption. This will manage temperature effectively, which will keep you safe and comfortable throughout your ride. 

If you prefer brighter colors, on the other hand, red and orange are great. They are good if you frequently ride when it is cloudy or rainy. 

For those who insist on darker color like black, you can do so while still staying safe if it complements the color of your motorcycle. Your ride color should be lighter than your helmet for easy visibility. 

Choosing the Right Paint Is Crucial 

red protective helmet with design

Aside from the choice of color, another important consideration when painting a motorcycle helmet is your choice of color. The paint chemistry can affect the structural integrity of the helmet, so you must proceed with caution. 

A lot of paints contain solvents and other harsh chemicals. They can react not just with the original paint but also with the main material of the helmet. It can reduce the protective properties of your helmet. Later in this guide, we will be sharing more about the right paint to ensure that the motorcycle helmet stays safe. 

Is It Legal to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet?

The legality of helmet painting depends on many factors. However, the most important deciding factor is your location. In the U.S., it is mostly legal. Nonetheless, this is given that the pain will not hurt the structural integrity of the helmet. 

If you are going to paint a motorcycle helmet, one of the most important things to remember is to not cover the safety sticker or certificate. The sticker is proof that the helmet has been through a series of tests and proven to withstand impact. It should be visible upon inspection. Otherwise, there is no way to tell if it has been approved by the relevant authorities. 

To avoid having any legal problems when painting your helmet, choose the right paint. Many have solvents that can cause the helmet to crack, making it less impact-resistant. If you are unsure, we recommend contacting the local police or traffic enforcement agency for your peace of mind. 

Picking the Right Kind of Paint for Your Motorcycle Helmet 

As earlier mentioned, not all paints will do well in a motorcycle helmet. The wrong choice can negatively alter the structure of the helmet. This will make it more prone to damage over time. 

Among others, water-based acrylic paint is the best option. It has acrylic polymers for better resiliency and adhesion compared to latex. It is also quick-drying and flexible, making it great for helmets since it has curvy areas. Other benefits include sticking to almost any surface, having a low odor, and being non-flammable. 

Polyurethane enamel is another type of paint that you can use in a motorcycle helmet. It contains resin, which can be acrylic or polyester. The latter is the one responsible for giving it a thick component, which also adds to its durability. 

While you can use traditional liquid paint and brush for your helmet, another great alternative is spray paint. This will provide even coverage while requiring minimal effort on your end. Nonetheless, those who do not have the experience might find it to be quite tricky. 

How to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet 

Painting a motorcycle helmet can be intimidating for a newbie. But with the steps below, you will see that it is indeed an easy task.

  • Clean the Helmet 

The first thing that you need to do is to clean the helmet. If it is dust and dirt, the paint will have weaker adhesion on the surface. The best way to clean it is with a cloth dipped in a mild detergent and warm water. Use a lint-free cloth to dry the surface. 

Some people might think that sanding will help in cleaning the helmet. However, it will do more harm than good, so you should avoid doing so. By sanding the helmet, you might end up damaging the fiberglass shell or outer plastic, which will weaken its structure. 

  • Cover the Parts You Won’t Paint 

In most cases, you won’t be painting the entire helmet. Hence, you will need to use tape to cover the specific portions that you will leave unpainted. Some examples of these parts include the visor or the connecting points between the helmet and the strap. 

  • Use a Marker to Sketch 

If you have a specific design or pattern in mind, then you should use a marker to create an outline. This will make it easier to distinguish which should be painted and with what colors. Use thin lines to make the marks more visible. 

  • Paint the Helmet 

Prepare the paint based on the instructions from the manufacturer and start brushing. Start by applying the base layer, then proceed to the shadows, highlights, and final touches. 

If you would like to spray paint the helmet, your best bet is to go with a spray gun instead of an aerosol gun. This is because the gun is easier to control in such a small area.

  • Apply a Clear Coat 

To finish the painting job, apply a clear coat to the helmet. This often exists in the form of an aerosol can. Use a clear coating that works for plastic. This will help in creating a protective barrier to minimize damage to the paint while also helping in making the helmet stronger.

If you want a tinted visor, here are the steps to tint a motorcycle visor

Takeaway 

So, can you paint a motorcycle helmet? Definitely, and it’s a great way to have it personalized and cover any superficial damage. Before doing so, however, be familiar with the legal requirements in your area. Also, see to it that you are using the right paint that won’t chemically alter the physical composition of the helmet. 

Avatar for Joshua D. Mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

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