Has anyone had any luck painting plastics?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Chay, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. Chay

    Chay Adventurer

    Dec 25, 2012
    Central Kansas
    Well, recently i got it into my head that i should paint my helmet to match my 1100gs. I found that Krylon makes a paint called bauhaus gold, it matches the BMW's mandarin orange pretty well. [​IMG]

    Here are the steps i took while painting.
    1. Remove parts and tape it off.
    2. Sanded with fine sandpaper to get rid of gloss.
    3. washed with soap and rinsed and dried well.
    4. Many light even coats of paint with 25 minutes drying time between coats.
    5. A whole can of krylon clear coat.
    6. Reasemble.

    Its been at least two weeks now, and the helmet has sat on the bike in the sun for at least a couple of hours, but the surface is still tacky and very easy to scratch off. I assume a lot of it, was attributed to how freakin humid it has been here in ks. Maybe i should have allowed greater time between coats. Have you ever had success painting plastics? If so, what process did you use? (ps. Sorry if this is totally in the wrong section, I had no clue where to put this.)
  2. flemsmith

    flemsmith lurk

    Apr 20, 2006
    Apache Junction, Az
    I tried it before on a plastic gas tank, not with rattle can, but checking with the folks at an auto paint store. They sold me some stuff that was supposed to be flexy and bond better to plastic that I mixed in with the paint. Still scratched over time and showed underlying color. There's probably folks here who know the secret, pretty sure it's not as simple as buying some Krylon if you want it to be long lasting. Good luck, and if you end up with some expertise, share it.

  3. Chay

    Chay Adventurer

    Dec 25, 2012
    Central Kansas
    It doesn't need to be incredibly high quality, or all that durable, in the end this helmet will be my off road helmet, and will only serve me until i can afford the speed and strength dual sport helmet, it matches the gs beautifully.
  4. Krasniewski

    Krasniewski I don't ride much.

    Feb 5, 2008
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Paint is very tough, and the conditions should be ideal for better than mediocre results. The time between coats should be much longer, but I don't think that it would matter so much as to feel tacky weeks later, unless you're mixing different types of paint. Some types match, others do not. For example, You can't apply lacquer clearcoat on enamel paint, but you can use enamel on top of lacquer. I think it has to do with fumes and how fast it dries. I'm not sure about polyurethane.

    2K urethane clearcoat works well over enamel, which is what I'd recommend. I'd use an enamel primer as well.

    I've used Eastwood's clearcoat with great success: http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-s-2k-aero-spray-high-gloss-clear.html

    Two part means it won't chip as easily or erode with gas/oil. 2k spray bomb isn't very cheap, but it's certainly worth it.

    EDIT: good thread here over on a ZX forum: http://www.zxforums.com/forums/general-discussion/58860-2k-urethane-clear-coat-spray-can.html
    FLtrooper likes this.
  5. toy4fun

    toy4fun GET out of the way

    Feb 21, 2011
    Beautiful downtown Roy, WA
    Did the color can state you needed to clear coat?
    I have found if you clear coat a paint that does not require you will get problems usually later when you clean it the clear coats craks and falls off leaving a mess.

    I use my air compressor and two stage paint in my garage with great success. Cheap gravity feed gun from Harbor freight.
  6. Bad-Tat

    Bad-Tat 800 XC

    Jul 30, 2004
    Cumming, Ga
    Krylon Fusion is made for plastics. Wipe down with rubbing alcohol and paint. Changed the grey on my Versys to black 5yrs ago and still going strong. Even where my boots contact it.
  7. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

    Oct 26, 2004
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    adhesion promoter.... several good brands out there, I have had good success with House of Kolor & Bulldog. krylon not drying.... don't know about that. bad paint
  8. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

    Feb 26, 2010
    I didn't see where or if you said what kind of helmet you have, but if you are focusing on painting "plastic" then may I assume it is a polycarbonate or other like-type material and not fibreglass/carbonfibre etc.?

    Are you suuuuure this helmet is alright to be coated without reacting badly to the chemicals in the paint? :eek1

    I've seen a fair amount of helmets painted by friends and others, split and/or shatter like eggshells when they have been painted and they weren't the type of material to take kindly to chemicals!

    I painted an LED strip with Krylon Fusion black a few years ago, and it was the same as you state- it never dried, but remained soft and very sticky, it did not ever "dry". After a couple weeks sitting to see if it would, I gave up and wiped it off, but it had disolved the plastic and turned it all melty and weird. :huh
  9. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

    Oct 18, 2010
    Portland...the newer one on the left side.
    Personally, I would have used a plastic primer.
  10. infoatnmmoto

    infoatnmmoto with the band

    Mar 2, 2007
    Wanted felon
    Plastidip spray??
  11. the1mavin

    the1mavin Adventurer

    Sep 19, 2010
    Adhesion promoter is the key, I think I found some that allowed the paint to remain flexible as well, so if you twist a plastic part it doesn't just crack off. I've done a ton of classic car interior parts that weren't available in the color I wanted, so custom mixed rattle cans and adhesion promoter did the trick. It stood up for years on kick panels, armrests and other small hard and soft plastic parts in the Vegas heat with no garage.
  12. CoCamper

    CoCamper Adventurer

    May 23, 2011
    Fort Collins, CO
    Both Krylon, and Rustoleum suck in the grand scheme of spray paint. For rattle cans, look for Ironlak or any Montana brand spray paint. Then use an adhesion promoter as others have said.
  13. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

    Jan 28, 2012

    Seen that too.................never a good idea to paint plastic helmets. Your only sensible option here is to bin the helmet and buy a new one, as the paint has reacted with the plastic, and has effectively destroyed the helmet shell.
  14. Dale950

    Dale950 Long timer

    Sep 7, 2004
    Melb / Australia
    Ive just painted my Arai Xd3 with Plastic dip , very happy with the results .
    It was White .
    Check out Youtube clips re Plastic Dip helmet painting

  15. Gruesome

    Gruesome Alter Heizer

    Apr 28, 2007
    Not sure whether all this advice does much good AFTER you painted your helmet, but anyways:
    I had good success matching my plastic system cases to the mandarin paint on my bike. I used paint, prep solvent, adhesion promoter, clear coat from automotivetouchup.com , as described in this thread. :deal Should have also used primer.

    This picture shows the match: [​IMG]

    I don't know what you can do to harden the paint on your helmet. Maybe remove all the padding, visor, strap, and cautiously bake it? If you decide to go that route, it might be good to wait for a moment when the main caretaker of the oven is distracted for a few hours.
    Or try to wipe it off with solvent, but which? The prep solvent I got seemed pretty potent, and actually attacked the case surface a little bit. But the helmet is probably a different material.

    Either of these methods might leave the helmet less protective. So it probably wouldn't hurt to at least mentally prepare for helmet shopping...:d
  16. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

    Nov 25, 2007
    madera california
    i think its taking a long time to harden because you used a whole can of clear without a hardner. i paint cars and always use hardner with single and two stage paints.i dont know if it will harden all the way but hopefully it will after awhile.
  17. Dryfuse

    Dryfuse Adventurer

    Apr 30, 2013
    Lake Stevens Wa.
    Did my KLR last year as it was all faded.

    Krylon OK but not a stellar finish. The key ingredient is zylene in Krylon plastic. (that said, clear urethane 2part could be used on Krylon if you like the base color.) If you choose another color do the following.

    Buy some zylene @ Home depot, ect and scuff the parts with scotch bright, they will become a little soft to the fingernail. Paint it with an automotive primer, I like 2 part polyester, but a spray can from an automotive paint supplier would work for small areas.

    I used a base coat mixed from ditzler, yellow, but just about any spray can would work if it hit your desired color. I have found most paints, enamel, urethane or lacquer can be clear coated without bad effects.

    At this point I don't have the name in front of me but I bought it From a Ditzler outlet again which is a 2 part Epoxy for about 18.00 in a spray can. Punch the button on the bottom of the can and you have acatalized clear coat to cover your color. One can did my fenders, tank and fairing on the KLR. Because it is hardened, you can at this point wet sand and buff it out if you have dust ect.

    Have ridden the bike for a year and only one small rock chip on the fender, certainly no worse than a factory paint job.
  18. rarepartbuilder

    rarepartbuilder redemption gypsy

    May 23, 2014
    New Brunswick Canada
    Looks like a pro job...