How to Put a Homemade Design on a Bike

by Michael Monet
The colors and designs on your bike reflect your style.

The colors and designs on your bike reflect your style.

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A bike is more than a form of transportation; it's a fashion accessory and a personal statement, formed by the color, design, patterns and other ways you find to decorate it. To put a homemade design on a bike, you'll have to paint or airbrush it as a custom bike shop would. With a little practice on some cheap bikes, you can become a skilled bike designer.

Items you will need

  • Newspaper, tarp or plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape
  • Wet/dry sandpaper, 180- and 600-grit
  • Medium paintbrushes
  • Paint primer
  • Paint color
  • Permanent marker
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Frisket film
  • Clamps or paper clips
  • Fine-tip black pen
  • Scissors
  • Computer
  • Scanner
  • Decal paper
  • Printer
  • Fine-point craft knife
  • Lint-free cloth

Prepping the Bike

Step 1

Lay newspaper, tarp, plastic sheeting or another protective material over your workspace. The workspace should be well-ventilated.

Step 2

Put masking tape over any area you want to leave untouched. This masking tape should stick firmly but not pull the paint off. Try on a small area of your bike before masking large areas.

Step 3

Sand your bike's current paint job with 180-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper firmly over the bike's entire surface. This prepares the bike to receive new paint.

Hand Paint

Step 1

Paint your first coat of primer. Paint a light but solid layer over the area where you intend to put your design. Let the first coat dry for 45 minutes. Paint a second coat and repeat.

Step 2

Paint a base color over the newly primed area. Wait 45 minutes for it to dry. Sand the area gently with 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Paint a second base coat and wait for it to dry.

Step 3

Hand paint your homemade design onto the newly painted area. If you're not feeling confident with free hand, trace the design with a permanent marker first. You can also resand, reprime and repaint the area if the design doesn't come out correctly the first time.

Stencil

Step 1

Draw your homemade design on a piece of paper in pencil. Trace the pencil in dark, black marker. Wrap the paper design around your bike to make sure it fits.

Step 2

Lay a sheet of frisket film over the dark, black design tracing. Clamp these. the film and the paper together to a worktable, or paperclip the sheets together and hold them steady as you trace.

Step 3

Trace the design onto the frisket film with a fine-tip black pen. Remove the paper tracing underneath and store in a safe place in case you need to use it again.

Step 4

Cut the design out of the frisket film. Lay the design across your bike in the appropriate place.

Step 5

Paint the design onto your bike using the stencil as a guide. Remove carefully and allow the design to dry overnight.

Decal

Step 1

Draw your design in pencil, then trace it in dark, black marker. Color it in.

Step 2

Scan the image onto your compute to fit on a single page.

Step 3

Load a sheet of decal paper into your printer tray. Print the design onto the decal paper.

Step 4

Lay the decal print on a solid work surface. Cut the decal out with a fine-point craft knife.

Step 5

Remove the backing from the decal paper. Wipe your bike clean and dry with a lint-free cloth. Stick the decal onto your bike firmly, avoiding bubbles by laying it down smoothly.

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images