This tutorial will walk you through the steps to repaint your scooter (or any vehicle) using spray cans at home. This is what my scooter looks like after respraying it. I’m not a professional, this is my first time working with most of this stuff. If I can do it so can you.
Part 1: Supplies you will need:
- 80 Grit
- 180 Grit
- 400 Grit Wetordry
- 800 Grit Wetordry
- I used Pro Form High Build Primer
Acrylic Base Coat
- Any color you want. For the classic style scooter I went with the colours of Italy. Red, White and Green
Acrylic Clear Coat (optional for flat colours)
- I like using clear coat, it adds that extra layer of protection and brings out the shine
- Paint fumes suck, protect your lungs
Wax and grease remover (This is to clean the parts of old wax and grease prior to painting them)
- I used a Pro Form general purpose adhesive cleaner
Lint free cloth wipes
Body Filler and mixing board
Gloves (You don’t want body filler and paint all over your hands – that’s no good)
Trim pry tools - This is to remove any trim or logos from your body
Spray bottle (to easily spray wax and grease remover where you are working)
Part 2 – prep work
Now that you have all of the supplies you need, it’s time to get to work. I will demonstrate how to paint your project with my Yamaha Vino YJ50 Scooter. It had a bunch of scratches and it was an opportunity to give it a fresh look. Here’s the before photos.
Step 1. Wash every part you will paint and then wipe it down with wax and grease remove.
This is a boring step, but it pays off. The cleaner your parts are that you are repainting the easier it is. And you don’t get dirt on your nice new paint when moving parts around. When using wax and grease remove use one cloth to wipe it on and another to wipe it off. Or spray it on using a spray bottle and then wipe it off.
Step 2. Tape off anything that you don’t want to paint.
Important tip #1. Make sure to tape off all small holes. I missed a couple, and even though the holes were tiny the overspray still went through them and ended up everywhere it wasn’t supposed to be.
Important tip #2. Don’t use newspaper. During the process I taped off some newly painted areas with newspaper and it was a bad idea. The ink of the newspaper rubbed off on the piece and I had to re sand it. The next time I used printer paper and the result was much better.
Take your time when taping. The final quality will reflect how well you taped off any areas you don’t want painted. I taped all important stickers (with serial numbers and such) and any part I couldn’t remove but didn’t want sprayed.
Step 2. Sand any scratches.
Start with 180 grit sand paper around any dents or scratches. Sand gently until it is smooth. Sand in two directions. Sort of a crosshatch style. I started sanding aggressively to get rid of the scratches and then much more gently. You don’t want to sand too firmly because that will create deep scratches from the sandpaper that may show up later when painting.
The above pic shows a part after using 180 grit sand paper on some scratches.
Step 3. Use body filler if you need it.
If you have any deep scratches that you can’t sand smooth you will need to use the body filler.
When mixing body filler make sure you mix the hardener and putty really smooth. Should all be 1 color. Use 50 parts filler to 1 part hardener. The method I was taught to do was put squeeze one thin line of hardener over the putty you are using.
Apply the bondo in thin smooth layers. Don’t apply more than 1/4 inch at a time. The smoother you apply it the easier it will be to sand. I waited about 30-45 minutes until the bondo was mostly set. Shape it with 80 grit sandpaper. Once you have the shape you need, then move back to 180 grit sandpaper. Sand it until it is smooth. (Don’t sand too hard, you don’t want to leave deep scratches)
Step 4. Final sand (the smoother the prep work the better the paint finish)
Next sand the entire piece with 400 grit wet or dry sand paper. Sand everything until it is nice an smooth. I used my hand to go over the sanded area to check for scratches. When it feels as smooth as glass I know it is ready. Don’t worry about the really tiny scratches. Those get filled in with the primer.
Step 5. Clean off any sanding dust
Next clean off the part with wax and grease remove. Wipe it off with a clean rag.
Step 6. Paint the primer
In a dust free area paint your primer. ( I didn’t really have one so I hung a sheet of plastic on the ceiling of my shed to stop dust from falling down)
Wait 10-15 minutes between coats. I painted 2-3 coats to get a nice smooth finish.
Step 7. Sand the primer until it is smooth.
Use 400 grit sand paper to sand the piece until it is smooth. I sand the entire part I will be spraying at this stage.
Step 8. Again clean everything with wax and grease remove
Step 9. Paint the base coat.
A simple trick to make the paint flow nicely is to warm up the spray can in hot water for about 15 minutes before using it. The shake the can for about 60 seconds to get an even flow. Hold the can about 8-12 inches away from the area you are spraying and use smooth hand movements to cover the area. I spray from one end to the next with each movement.
Spray edges and hard to reach areas first. Overlap each spray by about half it’s width. This is to get an even covering of paint.
Wait 15 minutes between coats and spray about 3-4 coats. Don’t rush the dry time. I did on one piece and the paint cracked when it dried. That part needed to be re-sanded and painted again.
Step 10. Check for dust.
We’re doing this at home remember. There is likely dust. There was for my pieces.
If there is any dust in your paint, no fear, use 800 grit wet sand paper to sand everything nice and smooth. (wait until your pieces have dried for at least 1 hour before sanding the dust)
Wet your sand paper and and use water to keep it wet while sanding. Sand gently, you don’t want to sand aggressively, just enough to smooth the pieces. If you want a glassy smooth finish, you can sand all your parts this way after the base coat. This will help prevent the bumpy “orange peel” finish that some people get from spray paint. I sanded everything before using the clear coat and I didn’t get an orange peel finish.
Step 11. The clear coat
Make sure you warm up your clear coat spray cans for 15 minutes in hot water prior to using them. You want the spray to come up as smoothly as possible.
Spray 3 coats. Again about 15 minutes between each coat.
Leave everything to dry overnight before driving or assembling the parts.
There you have it. A DIY paint job from start to finish. Depending on how big your job this will take 2-3 days. So a long weekend.
Let me know of any projects you are doing in the comments.
Here is how my project turned out.
Resources (YouTube videos)
I help people build better web apps and make a difference in the world. I enjoy sharing what I am learning and find interesting. I live on the Left Coast of Canada with my wife. Follow me on Twitter.