Last Updated on November 17, 2021 by Stephen Paul Robertson
Motorcyclists will sport several items to make a positive fashion statement. Leather jackets, fine-looking boots, a bandana on the neck, and cool-looking helmets are regularly worn.
Lately, these trends have taken a turn for the better. Most try to include their personal touches to attires. You can sew in initials on the chest of leather jackets, include logos on bandanas, and attach stickers to the motorcycle’s body.
But what can you do with your motorcycle helmet?
Most bikers end up wrapping their motorcycle helmets. The process causes no damage to the outer shell and serves a unique look. If you are new to this process, allow us to teach you how to wrap a motorcycle helmet.
Can A Motorcycle Helmet Be Wrapped?
Most motorcycle helmets can be wrapped. For helmets that have smooth surfaces without any bends, the process is rather easy. Motorcyclists can get the job done using one piece of vinyl wrapper. However, if your helmet has an uneven surface with engravings and such, the process might require a little more effort. For example, when wrapping an aero road helmet, you will need to cut several pieces and join them for a good finish.
You can shop for vinyl wraps in motorcycle hardware stores. Varying designs are available which get more and more innovative with time. You might also be able to customize several details to make it more personal or add a statement. People are also given the choices of different finishes. You can have a matte finish, glossy finish, or even a chrome finish.
How To Wrap A Motorcycle Helmet
The process of wrapping a motorcycle helmet requires focus and skill. You need to make accurate measurements and use the right set of tools. Buy yourself a utility knife and a heat gun as you will need them through the process. Follow the steps mentioned below to obtain an amazing output!
Step 1: Finding The Perfect Wrap
To initiate the process of wrapping a motorcycle helmet, purchase a vinyl wrap. As mentioned before, several types are available, so take your time observing. You also need to keep the quality into consideration while shopping.
A helmet wrap needs to be flexible while being durable at the same time. This makes it easy for motorcyclists to wrap the helmet. Finding something that you can use right out of the box is also rather useful. That way, time is saved.
While we get that you might not want to invest too much into accessories, it is wise to purchase something that is not too cheap. Inexpensive motorcycle helmet wraps are harder to put on and might seem too rigid.
You can also look for places that make customized wraps. Your name, the logo of your group, and other images can be included per choice.
Lastly, you should prioritize vinyl wraps that are semi-permeable. These are easier to work with since you will not have to worry about trapped air bubbles ruining the look.
Step 2: Getting Your Workstation Ready
While choosing a place to work, keep the lighting into consideration. This is important as you need to see properly to maintain the required level of precision. It is best to stay away from windy areas or places that have a fan. Working with vinyl is tricky itself, having it move around will make the process harder.
Work on a clean tabletop. You do not want dirt to be stuck in between your wrap and helmet. Your table should also be next to an electrical socket since you will need to plug in your heat gun.
As the helmet needs to be rotated and moved around, you can also get something to balance it and make your work easier. Even an inverted bowl can be of great help.
Step 3: Preparing Your Set of Tools
Get yourself a utility knife that is sharp enough to smoothly cut the vinyl wraps. You also need to get a heat gun, rubbing alcohol, screwdrivers, and soapy water. The heat gun can also be replaced with a hairdryer. If you are not using a semi-permeable vinyl wrap, then have a squeegee or any other edging tool next to you. This will help you set the wrap without leaving air bubbles.
Get at least three pieces of lint-free cloth – one for rubbing on soap water, another for rubbing alcohol, and lastly, a dry piece to wipe off the dirt.
Once you have all the necessary equipment, lay them out on your table within arm’s reach. Make sure they do not hinder your workspace.
Step 4: Removing The Parts
When installing wallpaper in a room, you need to remove covers of outlets, unhinge certain systems, etc. This allows you to set the wallpaper more properly and precisely.
Similarly, with your helmet, you need to be able to remove some parts to ensure a smooth workflow.
Undo the visor from its fitting system and let it rest on your table. Using your screwdriver, unscrew other parts that seem removable. If anything is glued to a place, you can try detaching it by applying some heat. However, make sure you are not causing damage to the helmet in the removal process.
Once the removable components have been undone, carefully place them on your workbench. Do not lose any screws as otherwise, you will have a hard time placing the parts back in.
Step 5: Filling In All Scratches
A motorcycle helmet wrap is thin and thus forms a second skin on the helmet surface. Any scratches will be outlined. If, like us, you are not interested in showcasing your helmet’s flaws, then do follow this step.
Filling compounds, fiberglass, or plastic can be used to fill up any scratches present on your helmet’s outer shell. Make sure you properly flatten them out and then let the spots air dry and harden.
Step 6: Cleaning Your Helmet
Just like with scratches, you do not want your dust granules to live their imprint on the wrap. Besides that, the helmet surface should be oil-free to allow proper adhesion.
Start the cleaning process by rubbing off as much dirt as possible. Don’t apply too much pressure, as you do not want any new scratches or dents. Once you have thoroughly wiped the helmet clean, dampen a piece of lint-free cloth in soapy water. Its best if this solution is warm.
Clean away as much dirt as possible by rubbing the solution in. Maintain circular motions. You should also get rid of the removed helmet components off of dirt. Once you are done, clean off by using some warm water.
For some more cleansing, dampen another piece of lint-free cloth in rubbing alcohol and apply it on the helmet’s surface.
Step 7: Cutting Your Vinyl Wrap
With your helmet ready for application, we can now move on to the vinyl wrap. Position it above your helmet and slowly cover your helmet’s surface. You should start roughly cutting out pieces. When using a vinyl wrap with images, designs, logos, or names, make sure you are not cutting out important parts.
You can also apply knifeless tape, paste on the vinyl wrap, and then pull off the thread. This helps in taking care of precision.
Step 8: Heating Your Vinyl Wrap
Start this step by peeling off your vinyl wrap’s backing. Once this has been done, you can focus on pasting the wrap onto the helmet.
As the helmet is spherical and has curved edges, you will need to apply some heat to wrap the vinyl around it. This is where the heat gun comes in handy. Plug it into the power outlet and slowly heat the vinyl wrap while molding it onto the helmet surface. Make sure the temperature is not too high as you might otherwise end up causing damage to the vinyl.
Pull it in the necessary angles and do not heat only one place. Using your squeegee, pressure out all the air bubbles to get an even finish.
Step 9: Getting Rid of Excess
Using your hand, for one last time, secure the vinyl wrap into position. Ensure that it is properly molded around the helmet with no air bubbles in view.
Now, grab your utility knife from the tabletop. Slowly, trim off the excess vinyl wrap pieces hanging off from the sides. You should not leave any scratches on the pasted wrap or helmet.
If you had used knifeless tape, now would be the time to peel off the thread-like tape.
With all excess pieces cut off, we are now almost good to go!
Step 10: Sealing off The Wrap
To prevent the wrap from easily coming off, you will need to heat it one last time. Set the temperature on your heat gun to about 90 degrees Celsius and start blowing on heat. Do not hold the gun too close to the helmet surface and make sure you are evenly applying the heat. Secure all the parts and do not rush. Fluctuating temperatures will destroy the vinyl wrap’s fit.
Step 11: Placing The Parts Into Position
With your wrap firmly stuck, you can now focus on assembling the helmet. Screw in all the parts you had removed one by one. Make sure the mouth of all vents is left open. If you wish to attach a wrap onto your face shield, get that done before placing it onto the position.
Your helmet is now ready with its brand-new look!
Is It Safe To Vinyl Wrap A Helmet?
Vinyl wraps do not decrease the protect ability of your motorcycle helmet. It causes no chemical damage to the outer shell material and leaves no scratches on the paint, once removed. This allows the riders to often switch to new designs and styles without having to swap out the helmet.
Compared to paint, vinyl wraps are considered to be the better and safer option. Paint reacts with the compounds present on the outer shell causing it to deteriorate faster. Besides that, once you have painted on your motorcycle helmet, you cannot remove it without scratching.
Is wrapping long-lasting?
Your wrapping’s lifespan will depend on its quality. A good quality vinyl wrap might last you for about 10 years as long as you take care of it.
What material is suitable for wrapping?
Usually, vinyl is used due to its texture. However, you can also use fiberglass to wrap your helmet.
Is it illegal to paint a motorcycle helmet?
Painting your motorcycle helmet is illegal in some places and legal in others. You also need to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some will forbid you from using certain chemicals which might be included in your paint.
How do I change the color of my motorcycle helmet?
You can have a motorcycle helmet’s color changed by wrapping it. Vinyl wraps of one solid color are available. By using the steps mentioned in our article, you can wrap your helmet at home.
The time has come to bid you goodbye! All the necessary information regarding the helmet wrapping process has been relayed. We hope you read the article thoroughly and follow all steps diligently to get a quality outcome. Doesn’t your motorcycle helmet look way cooler than it did before?!
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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