Monday, August 1, 2016

How to spray paint a bike and make it brand new!

I have done so many DIY's in my life and I'm constantly on the look out for potential new ones. They way I see it, if I can do it myself, why not? Plus it's almost always cheaper! The satisfaction you get from creating something yourself, is a huge bonus as well. So when I saw on Pinterest that I could spray paint a bike and give it new life, I knew what I was going to be doing this past weekend! Mind you though, I have NEVER spray painted ANYTHING in my life. Still turned out better than I could've ever imagined!

About 7 years ago, I got this bike from Toy's R Us on a whim. I had saved up some money and thought that buying the bike would keep me exercising and I could easily ride along the coastline, so I bought one. It wasn't thee most fabulous color in the world, but it was cheap. Less than $100 (it was also on sale). After a few weeks of using it, I got a car and thus began the end to riding a bike, forcing my beach cruiser to spend it's days in a garage with absolutely no love. That is until this past Saturday! 

When I say that I was determined to complete this, I absolutely mean it! I saw the pin on Friday night, I woke up Saturday morning and headed over to my father's house where my new love sat waiting. 

After a trip to Home Depot for some spray paint, help from my dad learning how to take the bike apart - and essentially put it back together, a trip to the gas station to re-inflate the tires, and a little elbow grease, my bike became beautiful again! All in all the entire process took me a total of 2 days and $7! That's right, $7!!!!! Want to know how to do this yourself? Let me tell you.

First off, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind before, during, and after the entire process. Some of these I learned the hard way and others were previously mentioned in prior Pinterest posts that I had read. 

1. Take LOADS of pictures of your bike, in every single angle, photographing every single nut and bolt. Take 100's if you have too! Ok maybe not 100's, but you need to take more than you think you need. Oh, you think you can remember where that specific piece goes? No you won't, take a picture! I took some...SOME being the key word here. When it came time for me to put back every single part, I was struggling for about an hour. Eventually I got it all worked out and it all fits like a glove, but save yourself the hassle and just snap an album of photos! I truly believe that the only reason I was able to truly put it back together, was because my father explained how to take it apart, in which steps, and taped all the nuts/bolts to their counter part. Thank you father!

2. DO NOT OVER SPRAY! 2 coats is amazing, and you will be pleased. Space them out at least 20 minutes apart and you'll achieve near perfection. If you decided to spray directly on one spot a few too many times, you may find yourself with drippy, wet, and blotchy paint. Simply let the rest of it dry for 24 hours, re-sand, and LIGHTLY paint again. If you go light the first time, you'll be thankful later on. Remember, you can always add more, it's harder - and longer - to take away. 

3. Try to suspend the bike when painting it. Laying it down is incredibly difficult, as you have to wait 24 hours for one side to dry completely, before flipping it to complete the other side. If you can't suspend it - my dad just did this by tying rope to the handlebars and attaching it to the beams in the garage - then try to prop it as best as possible, without obstructing any areas that need paint. 

4. WAIT THE FULL 24 HOURS!!! With my paint it says it takes about 20 minutes for it to feel dry, 1 hour to handle, and 24 hours to be completely dry. Trust me, do not attempt to touch it, move it, or re-build it before 24 hours. Not 20, 24! Believe me, I made this mistake and thought it was good to wasn't. Luckily it was only a few minor spots that scraped off, but I was able to do a quick fix and it was fine. 

5. Buy 2 cans. You might think that 1 will do, but you don't want to be stuck with half a bike painted. Yes you will need a light hand and yes you need to take it easy, but trust me. You need 2 cans. Besides, worse case scenario you can return the unused can. Better safe than sorry! PS I used all of 1 and part of the other. 

6. You're nails, clothes, and shoes WILL get painted. Don't do this after a manicure - unless you're using thick gloves - and don't use your finest clothes. This is a messy job, therefore use messy clothes. 

7. The fumes are STRONG! Please do this in a well ventilated area where you aren't encased. You have to be able to breathe well - I did it in an open garage. Regardless, please try to put a rag, shirt, or mask over your face. If not, spray with caution!!!!

8. KEEP YOUR BIKE SAFE! Don't do this in an area where bike thieves may strike. You don't want all your hard work to go to heathens. Please do in a safe, secure area if possible! 

Ok, now that you've been informed of a few important tips and tricks, let's get into the actual process shall we???

You're going to need:

Sandpaper - make sure to have enough, we used 6 sheets
A Screwdriver - mine required a Phillips 
A Wrench
2 Cans of Rustoleum 2x Paint - no primer or sealer required ($3.50 each)
A Giant Sheet of Plastic or Some Cardboard
Plastic Bags or Newspaper

Step 1: Take apart your bike. Use the 1st trick I talked about and use it wisely! Don't be a fool, be a photographer. 

Step 2: Once you've gotten your bike down the basic frame, begin sanding away. I used 60 grit (see photo) that my father let me use. He had extra from his projects he's done around the house. Don't worry about perfection or getting every single nook and cranny. It's impossible. Just do the best you can. You're basically trying to get the top coat/gloss off and majority of the paint color. As you can see, mine looked like a psychedelic paint job gone bad, which worked out perfectly. 

Step 3: Put plastic bags or newspaper over the areas you don't want painted and tape down. I went with plastic bags, as I didn't want any paint to leak through the newspaper. You can use either painters tape or duct tape like I did. None of the duct tape left any sticky residue, so it worked out well for me. 

Step 4: Suspend the bike or prop it up in a way that it can easily be painted and left to dry. If you don't have the capability to do either of these, simply add another day to this process. If you suspend it/prop it up, still make sure to put down PLENTY of plastic or cardboard on the floor, to make sure you don't ruin the floors. Also, if you're close to a wall, cover it with plastic or cardboard as well! 

Step 5: Commence spraying. Again, refer back to my tips and tricks to maintain a safe and secure process, with optimal results. This can be tricky, but if I can do it with absolutely no prior experience what so ever, than anyone can!

Step 6: Clean the remaining parts while the bike dries for 20 minutes. My bike was filthy with dirt, dust, and rust. So first, I wiped it all down with a dry rag, cleaned it with a scrubbing, soap, and water, and then removed all the rust using a simple trick I learned. Vinegar and foil. Now, I've been told that you can simply use foil and water, but that the results may not leave with AS shiny metal. I used vinegar and I was thrilled! Simply wet the foil or the area you're going to be scrubbing with vinegar, crumple up the foil, and scrub like it's a sponge. In front of your eyes you'll see the rust lifting right off. Wipe down the area immediately after you've scrubbed it - do small sections at a time - to make sure it doesn't dry. You'll end up having to clean it all over again. Within a few minutes my handlebars, kickstand, fenders, and seat (I know it's not pictured in the process photos, but it is pictured in the final results) were good as new! I also rinsed off and scrubbed all the tires with soap and water, to remove all the cob webs, dirt, and grim. Also take this time to head over to the gas station - if you haven't already - to fill up the tires with air. You can also do this when you go to buy the paint. 

Step 7: Once 20 minutes is up, go over the bike with a second coat of paint. This doesn't need to be nearly as much as the first coat, mostly to just thicken up everything, fix any splotchy areas, and add a nice finish to it. 

Step 8: Let it all dry for 24 hours. 

Step 9: When 24 hours is up, remove all the plastic/newspaper (I left mine on overnight, because I didn't want to accidentally scratch the paint) carefully. Gently rub your hand across the bike or use a soft towel that isn't important. Make sure that it isn't coming off chalky/powdery. If your hand has remnants of the paint, simply wait a few more hours and re-check. Mine did this when I checked at 23 hours, but once I waited the full 24, it was perfect with no remnants. 

Step 10: Re-build your bike, clean up any oil spots (that chain can leave you with nasty hands), and step back to view your beautiful new bike! 

Check it out! I freaking love my "new" bike and I have SO many plans. First I need to purchase a bike trailer for my little one to comfortably join me - stay tuned for a future review on that, a couple helmets - my son needs one for him to ride his bike as well since he's starting to practice, a bike carrier for the rear so I can strap on a picnic basket, and a really good - or two - bike lock! In my neighborhood, bikes are a HUGE commodity and I'm not really interested in having my bike stolen! 

After I've completed everything on my "wish list", I'll be riding this with my son to the park, farmer's market, grocery store, etc. I absolutely can't wait to be mobile in a "green" way. Don't get me wrong, I love driving a car and I'll still need to drive to other places - Costco bulk items aren't bike friendly - but I can save here and there by using my bike for small things! 

OH! Another important thing I almost forgot to mention. My bike had only coaster brakes - where you peddle backwards to brake - and seeing as how I would be towing my little one, I wanted added protection, so I removed the front brake from another unloved bike sitting in the garage, checked to make sure the pads were still good - they are - and attached them to my bike. It was a perfect fit! So now I have front brakes and cruiser brakes! Score!!! (You can buy brakes online or in a sporting goods store).

This whole experience was extremely rewarding with so many "news" for me. I had never spray painted anything, nor had I ever built a bike - besides a toddler bike, but that doesn't really count - and this weekend I did both! Knowing that I created this beauty, makes me truly proud of myself! I even attached a little basket I had and created a DIY liner for it! Believe me it's INCREDIBLY strong! (If you guy's want a tutorial on how I attached and created the basket, let me know!). 

Hopefully this will inspire you guys to go out there and create! Perhaps you can make over a bike that's sitting in your garage waiting for love? Show me some pictures if you decide to transform something with spray paint!!!

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