Introduction: Customized an Old Helmet
So I've had this helmet for a few years now and I've used it for skateboarding and cycling, so it has a lot of wear. And a couple of days ago I was looking at it and the helmet looked so plain and dull that I decided to customize it. This is my first time customizing a helmet. It was fun and I'm satisfied with the result so here's what I learned along the way. Let's get started.
- 120 Grit Sanding Sponge
- Isopropyl Alcohol 70%
- Masking Tape
- Box Cutter
- Spray Paint
- Acrylic Paint
- Precision Paint Brushes
- Clear Gloss Spray
- Protective Gear - Safety Glasses & Respirator Mask
Step 1: Sanding & Cleaning
First thing was to make that surface baby smooth and clean. You got to get rid of the dirt, dust, former decorations like stickers and everything that has adhere to the helmet by sanding the surface of the helmet's shell. This will release a lot of particle that you don't want to inhale or get on your eyes so wear your protective gear. After that, grab a cloth, pour some isopropyl alcohol on the cloth and rub that helmet clean.
Step 2: Taping
For a clean look and in order to protect the padding inside the helmet, tape all the holes, secure the straps inside the helmet and seal it under. Why? Well this kind of paint can melt the padding and compromise the helmet. Use a boxcutter for the hard to reach places.
Step 3: Prepare a Design Layout
Now this is my first time customizing a helmet and Im not used to drawing and painting on curved surfaces. So I felt more confident by preparing a design layout. First I drew couple of rough sketches on my drawing notebook. Then I drew my design on the helmet using chalk. This helped me scale, position and distribute my design around the helmet. I did this a few times because I also wanted my hand to get accustomed to the movements.
Step 4: Spray Paint & Drying
For this part I needed to find a well ventilated area, and again use my protective gear. I used the sidewalk in front of my house. I placed my helmet under a piece of cardboard and applied even coats from top to bottom, in order to avoid dripping. Then I let it dry for 15 minutes before applying another coat. Depending on the quality of the paint, you will know the times you'll need to reapply another coat. In my case two coats was enough. After that, I let it dry for a good full day in a dry shaded place. This is very important. The paint's odor has to be aired out and it must be fully dry for the next step.
Step 5: Customizing
Once it was dried, I grabbed my design layout some paint brushes, some acrylic paint and started working.
Step 6: Checking & Fixing
For this part we I removed the tape. If you do this you will notice that some of the paint on the edges might dry a bit on the the tape and by removing the tape you might also remove bit of the paint. Those are parts that need to be retouched. Also there can be parts inside the helmet that you might want to paint. For me, when I removed the tape and tried on the helmet , I could see the inner edges of the helmet at some angles and I wanted consistency with the colors I chose in the outer shell. Also this step also helped me put some details on the edges of the holes that otherwise I couldn't do with the tape on.
Step 7: Taping Again & the Finishing Touch
The final step was to apply lacquer and so to avoid getting some inside the helmet I had to tape it again. The lacquer will help protect the paint and give it a glossy look.