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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Motorcycle Helmets?

The motorcycle helmet can be a handy piece of equipment for keeping you safe on the road, but that does not mean it cannot be personalized to make it even more unique and suited to your taste.

A common way to customize your helmet is to paint it. However, painting your helmet comes with some risks if you don’t know how to paint your helmet correctly or what kind of paints to use.


Various materials are used in motorcycle helmets, including plastic and fiberglass. The thought of painting a helmet might make you cringe. If you’re looking to sell your helmet at a motorcycle show or want it to stand out, painting a helmet can be a great alternative to buying a new one.

You’re interested in painting your motorcycle helmet, right? But, the biggest question is can you use acrylic paint on motorcycle helmets?

This post will teach you how to paint your helmet with acrylic paint. I will also provide you with tips and suggestions to help you with your painting project.

What Paint to Use on Motorcycle Helmet?

Motorcycle helmets are typically made from polycarbonate plastic, painted with automotive paint. But there is a catch; it will take a while to dry.

It is well known that the helmet’s surface is easily scratched and must be sanded well before painting. Any tape or decals left on the helmet will also prevent the paint from adhering, so they must be removed first.

Many people use high-quality acrylic paint that is designed specifically for plastic. It is durable and can be easily removed with most products if you wish to change the color or obliterate it.

What are Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paints are water-based, non-toxic paints that can be applied to various surfaces.

Acrylics are used on everything from wood to cloth to plastic. They are lightfast and permanent once dry. Acrylic offers high visibility, good covering power, flexibility in application, and ease of blending. No endless surface preparation is necessary for acrylics, such as priming.

Once dry, they can be painted over with most paint systems, including enamel. Acrylic can also be applied over previously painted surfaces without first removing the previous paint system.

The only surfaces where acrylics won’t work are glass and other smooth, non-porous surfaces. Their inability to absorb moisture prohibits their bonding.

Upon drying, acrylic paints have virtually no odor and provide excellent hiding power and opacity. Acrylics can also be mixed with other mediums, including watercolors and oils, to produce unique effects.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Motorcycle Helmets?

Acrylic paints work best because they are designed to be applied to plastics without primer. Getting the job done correctly requires several steps, but the process isn’t complicated.

Acrylic paint is generally cheaper than other types of paint that can be used to customize helmets. You can start painting as soon as you have a paintbrush and some water.


Acrylic paints tend to require a little more effort in drying time. Since the paint takes longer to dry completely before the helmet can be handled, it is not ideal for people who rush their projects. However, it is just as strong as other paints once it dries and will hold up fine after being painted over repeatedly.

In most cases, paint jobs fail because the base coat has been done improperly or has a flaw in its design. When applying acrylic paint, make sure that all areas have been sanded down and smoothed out.

How to Prepare a Motorcycle Helmet for Painting?

Helmets can’t just be painted with whatever you like. Before painting, some precautions must be taken.

  • The first thing you need to do is remove the cheek pads from the helmet. The cheek pads are attached by snaps or velcro. The visor should also come off quickly when the cheek pads are removed.
  • After removing the chin strap padding, wash any dirt off with a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before continuing the project.
  • Then, apply automotive wax or rubbing alcohol to its surface to ensure a smooth finish once you paint it later.

Prepare your work area by covering it with newspaper or cardboard. Set up a place where you can lay out your parts and supplies so that you don’t have far to reach for them as you work. Prepare all of your materials beforehand so that nothing prevents you from working on your helmet once you start.

How to Safely Paint Your Helmet with Acrylic Paints?

Here are the exact steps to paint your helmet with acrylic paints.

1. Pick up Your Helmet

If possible, choose a helmet that is in good condition and has been cleaned and dried. If the exterior of a helmet has cracks or other damage, do not use this helmet when painting. There must be no cracks or damage.

2. Remove the Visor

Removing the visor is recommended. It is easier to paint the helmet without the visor attached, so if you have one, remove it before you begin.

3. Pick out Your Color

To transform your helmet into an art piece, you will need to choose the colors that you will use. You can use multiple colors on one helmet to create different effects if you want.

If you don’t know where to start when picking colors, you can take inspiration from other helmets or objects in the same color scheme.

For example, if you ride BMX, you may want to buy bright-colored paint to match your style and bike. The goal isn’t to be flashy but to be noticed as well.

You can choose darker colors like black or grey to give it a more glossy appearance if you want a more subtle look.

4. Draw a Pattern

Before you paint your design on your helmet, draw a pattern. You can do this with stickers and tapes. Give your pattern plenty of time to cure and prevent it from rubbing off on anything.

5. Apply the Base Coat of Acrylic Paint

The helmet is now ready for its first coat of acrylic paint. Depending on the color you’re using, and how thick you apply it, you may have to wait 10 minutes or more before applying the second coat.

6. Apply the Second Coat of Acrylic Paint

The topcoat will smooth out the finish and make it more durable. Now, wait for some time, and if necessary, apply another layer of paint after allowing the previous layer to dry completely.

7. Let Your Helmet Dry

Take your helmet out and let it dry. To keep your helmet in good condition for as long as possible, keep it in a cool and dry place when not in use.

It would be best to wait for your paint job to cure before riding with it. Generally, the curing process takes 3 hours, but you should wait 24 hours before doing any stunts while wearing your freshly painted helmet.

Pros and Cons of Using Acrylic Paint on Motorcycle Helmets

  • Acrylic paints are typically water-based, which makes them easy to clean up. When the process gets messy, it can be easily cleaned off. In contrast to enamel paints, acrylic paint dries within hours, making it ready for reuse right away.
  • Acrylic paints are also highly versatile. As they can be mixed with other paint types to create different colors, they are ideal for creative projects that require various tones to be used throughout the painting process.
  • Acrylics can also be applied over another type of paint and remain flexible enough to bend around textured surfaces, such as a motorcycle helmet.
  • Acrylics have some drawbacks, including their tendency to crack with age and their limited ability to cover dark colors without bleeding through the base coat.
  • Acrylic paints do not adhere well to rough surfaces either, which means that if your motorcycle helmet is chipped or cracked, covering the damaged area with paint may be difficult.

How to Take Care of Your Helmet?

Helmets usually do not come with special care instructions. Because you want your helmet to last as long as possible, it’s worth investing a little effort into keeping it in good shape.

One of the ways to prevent damage is to make sure you don’t let it get damaged while it’s not being used. It may be tempting to store your helmet anywhere and everywhere, but place it in a location where it will be protected from bumps and falls.

Conclusion

The durability of acrylic paint makes it suitable for motorcycle helmets. Acrylic paints are water-based, so they are more environmentally friendly. But painting motorcycle helmets is not a task for the fainthearted. If it’s your first time, we recommend you practice on cardboard first to avoid damaging your helmet.

For the paint to last, you need to be careful and take the time to apply it properly and use quality paints.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are Acrylic Paints Safe?
Acrylic paint is so versatile and easy to work with. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike.

Water-based acrylic paints do not contain solvents or other toxic materials. They are odorless, non-flammable, and non-toxic, making them a perfect choice for kid’s art projects.

In addition, acrylic paint can be applied to virtually any surface, including wood, paper, canvas, fabric, glass, and ceramics. As a result, it’s a great alternative to oil paints if you tend to spill paint or if your kids like to use your supplies.

You should also avoid using acrylic paint on surfaces that come into contact with food, as the surface may become contaminated with lead.

Q. Is it Illegal to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet?
The answer to this question depends on where you live. Different states have different laws regarding the painting of helmets.

The primary reason for these laws is to ensure safety. Most often, it’s not recommended to modify your helmet’s color unless you’re using a DOT-approved paint. If you choose to paint your helmet, you do so at your own risk because no one knows what will happen if the authorities catch you.

Q. Is it Safe to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet?
Acrylic paint is designed to be non-toxic and won’t harm a motorcycle helmet if it gets on it. One concern with painting a helmet is that acrylic paint can chip off over time, so it may not offer as much protection against accidental blows.

Consider using epoxy resin instead of paint to protect your helmet from scratches and bumps if safety is a concern.

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Charles Johnson

Charles is an Automobile Engineer who has been writing for different blogs since 2014. He has participated in several cycling events and loves riding motorcycles. He wants to share his skills and knowledge, so you can confidently choose the right gear.