Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Stephen Paul Robertson
There is no doubt that helmets are an important piece of safety attire for the road. Similarly, there is also no doubt that all motorcycle helmets look pretty much the same!
However, most motorcyclists love standing out in the crowd. They want personalized pieces of accessories that hold up their preferences, display logos, or flash their names. This is why you will often see bikers wearing leather jackets that have writings or logos embossed on them. Simple clothing items like bandanas or shirts can be tailored to fit into eccentric designs.
If you too are looking for something unique, then you are in the right place! We will be teaching you how to customize a motorcycle helmet. Stick around to learn more!
6 Simple Methods of How to Customize A Motorcycle Helmet
- Custom Painting a Helmet
- Wrapping your Motorcycle Helmet
- Applying Skins on the Helmet’s Surface
- Tying Bandanas
- Purchasing a Customized Helmet
Process of Customizing a Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle helmets always come in shades of black, blue, red, golden, or white. They all hold unappealing designs which pretty much only consist of the brand logo, leaving the customers dissatisfied. This is why people will often seek other options that will help in customizing their helmets according to their choice.
Step -1:Custom Painting a Helmet
Motorcycle helmets have outer shells made of thermoplastic or composite fibers (carbon fiber, fiberglass, or Kevlar). These materials do not always react well with the chemicals present in paint or other types of adhesives. So, before thinking about painting your motorcycle helmet, take some time to look into what the helmet manufacturer has to say about painting the helmet.
Before you start the process, remember that motorcycle helmets can be expensive. You will most definitely not want to do a poor task and ruin the look permanently. Hence, if you are not confident in your set of skills, hire a professional to get the painting job done.
Things you will require
- Paints that are compatible with your outer shell material
- A piece of microfiber cloth
- Sand Paper
- Open all the parts attached to the helmet one by one. If any part is screwed in, use the necessary tools to unscrew it.
- Keep aside all the removed parts like visors, face shields, liners, and retention systems. Arrange them properly on a tabletop to ensure nothing gets lost.
- Using a piece of sandpaper, scrub the helmet’s outer shell. (Check to make sure this is approved by the manufacturer).
- Dampen your piece of microfiber cloth in water and squeeze to get rid of droplets. Once this is done, wipe off the helmet’s outer shell to clean of dirt. You can also use mild soap or helmet cleaner if your helmet has too much dust on it.
- After your helmet has air dried, apply a layer of paint on it. At this stage, you can either apply one color to create a solid background or make a gradient. Darker and lighter shades of the same color are usually blended to create gradients.
- Let the applied layer of paint dry and paste on tape in certain locations to create stencils. Once all the tapes or pieces of paper are stuck to give your desired shapes, apply some more colors.
- Wait for a while so that your paint settles in. Before it dries, remove the stenciling to display your designs.
- Once again, let the paint dry. You can use stencils to add in more details or use water-based acrylic paints to inscribe more designs and details.
- Apply about three to four layers of urethane and let the helmet air dry. Urethane acts as a sealant that prevents the paint from getting scraped off. It also adds a glossy coating that adds to your helmet’s look.
- Once your helmet is fully dried, reattach all the parts to its outer shell. Your helmet is now customized and ready for use!
Things to Consider Before Painting a Motorcycle Helmet
Most people will choose to paint their motorcycle helmets instead of opting for the other options. This is simply because of the convenience of the method. Paint can be easily found in stores and you are always allowed to craft away freely. Besides that, mistakes can be easily covered with some more paint after drying. Overall, the process is very enjoyable too.
With that being said, there are some factors that you need to look into before painting your helmet.
As we mentioned before, chemicals present in paints can weaken the helmet’s build. This is why it is always best to contact the manufacturer beforehand and acknowledge which type of paint is suitable. Buy your paint accordingly as weakening the helmet’s outer shell is not an option that you would want to explore.
While painting, consider using bright colors so that you can stand out on the road. This is will contribute to both – your style and safety.
When a rider wears a helmet that holds flashy colors and designs, their visibility is increased. This decreases the odds of getting into an accident as other riders can easily notice their presence.
Seeing a rider on a two-wheeler is hard for drivers at night. Hence, many experts will also advise you to use neon paints that glow in the dark while designing your helmet. This makes you noticeable at all times, causing an immediate decline in risks.
Even if your manufacturer approves of you painting your helmet, your country might not. In many countries or states, painting a motorcycle helmet is considered being illegal. This is because there is always the question of whether or not the method is safe. Besides that, when a rider customizes their helmet by painting it, others are inspired to do so, automatically thinking that the process is safe.
Many places in the world also require helmets to have approval seals from certain organizations. Painting will require you to remove such seals or cover them, making the helmet illegal for use.
Type of Paint
Spray paint is commonly used by experts to create cool-looking motorcycle helmets. Gradients can be created and stencils can be utilized. Such paint also dries quicker, shortening the time used in the process.
Another type of paint you can use is acrylic paint. Brushes of various sizes can be utilized to achieve a detailed look. Texts can also be easily drawn on the helmet’s body.
Step -2: Wrapping your Motorcycle Helmet
If you ask about my personal preference, this is my favorite way to customize a motorcycle helmet. It eliminates chemicals from the equation, making it safer for your helmet while also providing a stunning look.
Helmet wraps are usually made of vinyl and come in countless designs. Some stores will also let you print out your customized designs. Besides that, you are also allowed to choose between matte, glossy, and chrome finishes.
- A motorcycle helmet wrap
- Heat gun
- Rubbing alcohol
- Soap water
- Filling compound
- Knifeless tape
- Microfiber cloth
- Lint-free cloth
- Remove all the parts of your motorcycle helmet. Be gentle to make sure you are not adding any scratches to the helmet’s body.
- Put all the removed parts on top of a table along with any screws that were removed. A part that is glued onto the helmet’s outer shell can be removed by applying some heat.
- Helmet wraps sit on a helmet’s surface as if they were a second skin. So, if there are any scratches or holes, they might end up ruining your helmet’s customized look. Use your filling compound to get rid of all possible flaws and let the helmet rest for a while. This allows the compound to harden and create a smooth surface.
- Dip the piece of microfiber cloth in water and use it to clean the helmet’s surface. Once you are done, dampen your lint-free cloth in rubbing alcohol and clean again. Wipe the entire surface gently without creating any scratches or dents.
- Vinyl wraps are usually available in large pieces. Hence, cut them up using scissors while keeping off some excess.
- Apply knifeless tape on the helmet’s surface and outline the vents. You should also plug in your heat gun and get ready for the sticking process. The temperature should not be too high as otherwise, the wrap might end up getting damaged.
- Remove the plastic piece from the back of your vinyl to reveal the adhesive backing. Slowly, start pasting on the vinyl wrapper and apply heat to set it along the curves. Using your hand, push the wrapper down to make sure no air bubbles are created.
- With the vinyl wrapper properly pasted, you can now pull off the knifeless tape to remove all the excess pieces. You can also use your scissor to cut these parts off.
- If you are done with wrapping, you can now start putting the helmet parts back on. Visors can also be wrapped with a suitable material before attaching.
Step -3: Applying Skins on the Helmet’s Surface
Skins are kind of similar to decals except that they are better and more affordable. They are found in bigger sizes too, making it easier for you to wrap them around the entire helmet.
Helmet skins are available in thousands of designs. They are also protective and prevent your helmet from getting scratches or holes. This also indicates that skin can increase the protection capacity of your helmet when necessary.
Step – 4: Tying Bandanas
Motorcyclists often tie bandanas around their hands, necks, or forehead. These are usually found in colors like red, blue, black, and yellow with white designs on top. Many choose to add logos, names, or some kind of trademark sign to their bandannas to make them unique.
One simple and cost-effective way to customize your motorcycle helmet is by wrapping a bandana around it. For full face helmets, this is done by wrapping the bandanna around the chin bar. Many people will also have the bandana tied right above the helmet’s visor. This, however, is not that good of an idea since wind can blow it onto your eye.
One of the biggest plus points of customizing your helmet using bandanas is that it adds almost nothing to the weight. The wearer’s comfort is not hindered by the slightest and when done right, the ending result will look better than wrapped or painted helmets.
Step – 5: Purchasing a Customized Helmet
A lot of sellers will make customize helmets and sell them. Although these might cost you more than your usual helmet, the stress of getting the wrapping or painting right is removed. There are several options available and each piece will be unique. Customers will be receiving limited edition products.
The thing with customized helmets is that they are usually designed by professionals. Such people ensure that the helmet’s protectivity is not notched down due to its design. High-quality materials are often used and the job is always done flawlessly.
Step – 6: Pinstriping
Pinstriping is a common technique that is often used to paint car bodies and several other things. Narrow lines of paint are inserted into bodies to create a desirable look. One can carry out the pinstriping process by hand or machine. The former is known as freehand striping, while the latter is called mechanical pinstriping. Both will produce excellent results, but it is not something you can achieve on your own. Experienced individuals are required as otherwise, you might end up ruining the entire look of your motorcycle helmet.
These are all the possible methods that you can seek when trying to customize your motorcycle helmet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add things to my motorcycle helmet?
Motorcycle hardware stores often sell stickers or vinyl cutouts that can be pasted onto a helmet’s body. These can be used to decorate a helmet without wasting too much money.
Can you cover the DOT sticker on a helmet?
DOT sticker helmets allow police and other law enforcement officers recognize that the helmet is legally approved. Hence, it is always advisable to not cover the DOT sticker in a motorcycle helmet. You can paste a tape on top before painting or cut off a part of the vinyl wrap to display it.
Can you remove stickers from motorcycle helmets?
Yes, you can remove stickers from a motorcycle helmet. Usually, some soap and water will do but you can also use oil or nail polish removers to make the task easier.
Why is my matte helmet sticky?
Surfaces of helmets can react poorly to certain chemicals in cleaning agents. This causes the surface of matte helmets to become sticky.
Do you know how to customize a motorcycle helmet?
If you have thoroughly read the article, the answer should be a loud yes! Quickly get to designing your helmet and ride in style.
If you want to check out some of the best budget motorcycle helmets, click here to learn more.
Have a safe ride!
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Paul, a graduate from the University of California, has been a Safety Advisor for over 5 years in USA. Along with his other 2 partners, who are professional bikers, he has been the chief of the headsafetyguard.com to create mass awareness on an often neglected issue: HEAD SAFETY