Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? And Is It Legal?

Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? And Is It Legal?

A motorcycle helmet is a crucial piece of safety gear for riders. With time, it can develop dents, scratches and other minor damages. Instead of purchasing a new one, some individuals may choose to be resourceful. So you might be wondering if it’s possible to paint a motorcycle helmet yourself.

Painting your bike helmet can bring back its original appearance without requiring a significant investment. Additionally, it allows you to add personal touches that reflect your own style. Keep reading as we discuss the fundamentals of painting a motorcycle helmet.

Can You Paint Your Motorbike Helmet? 

motorcycle helmet with gloves

Absolutely! Painting motorcycle helmets has become quite popular as it allows riders to refresh the appearance and add touches to their gear. When painting a helmet it’s important to choose paints that’re compatible with its material for adhesion. However keep in mind that painting involves more than aesthetics; there are safety and legal factors to consider well.

Ensuring Safety While Painting Motorcycle Helmets 

couple wearing a motorcycle helmet

While enhancing the look of your helmet through painting is appealing it should never come at the expense of safety. Certain colors or types of paint may reduce visibility, on the road. Potentially increase accident risks. Moreover, some paints chemical composition can weaken the integrity of the helmets materials.

To ensure your safety it is important to choose paints that’re helmet friendly and colors that enhance visibility in situations, with limited lighting.

The Significance of Color Selection 

motorcycle helmet and spray paints

When deciding on a color for your helmet it is crucial to consider both aesthetics and safety. Bright colors such as white, red, or orange greatly improve visibility, which’s essential for riding. White in particular, is highly recommended due to its visibility and ability to keep the rider cool by absorbing heat. However, if you prefer colors like black make sure there is contrast with your motorcycles color to maintain visibility.

Choosing the Right Paint Is Crucial 

red protective helmet with design

The type of paint you use plays a role in ensuring helmet safety. Many paints contain chemicals that can potentially compromise the integrity of the helmet. Water based acrylic paints are generally considered the choice as they provide durability and flexibility required for a helmet’s curved surfaces. Another suitable option is polyurethane enamel known for its resilience and thickness.

Is It Legal to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet?

Its important to note that regulations regarding painting motorcycle helmets may vary depending on your location. In parts of the United States painting helmets is generally allowed long as it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the helmet. However it is crucial not to cover or obstruct any safety stickers or certifications on the helmet as these indicate compliance, with safety standards.

To ensure compliance it is advisable to seek guidance, from authorities or traffic enforcement agencies.

Picking the Right Kind of Paint for Your Motorcycle Helmet 

As earlier mentioned, not all paints will do well in a motorcycle helmet. The wrong choice can negatively alter the structure of the helmet. This will make it more prone to damage over time.

Among others, water based paints (acrylic paint) is the best option. It has acrylic polymers for better resiliency and adhesion compared to latex. It is also quick-drying and flexible, making it great for helmets since it has curvy areas. Other benefits include sticking to almost any surface, having a low odor, and being non-flammable.

Polyurethane enamel is another type of paint that you can use in a motorcycle helmet. It contains resin, which can be acrylic or polyester. The latter is the one responsible for giving it a thick component, which also adds to its durability.

While you can use traditional liquid paint and brush for your helmet, another great alternative is spray paint. This will provide even coverage while requiring minimal effort on your end. Nonetheless, those who do not have the experience might find it to be quite tricky.

How much does it cost to paint a motorcycle helmet?

The cost of painting a motorcycle helmet can vary significantly depending on whether you choose to have it professionally done or decide to do it yourself using an airbrush or spray paint. Here’s a general breakdown of the costs:

Professional Helmet Painting

  • Cost Range: Professional helmet painting can range from $150 to over $1000. The price varies based on factors such as the complexity of the design, the number of colors used, and the reputation of the artist or shop.
  • Factors Influencing Cost: Custom artwork, intricate designs, multiple colors, and special finishes like metallic or pearlescent paints can significantly increase the price. Renowned artists or specialized shops may charge a premium for their services.

DIY Airbrush Painting:

  • Initial Investment: If you don’t already own an airbrush kit, purchasing one can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 or more. The price depends on the quality and capabilities of the airbrush.
  • Paint and Supplies: The cost of airbrush paint, reducers, and cleaning supplies can range from $30 to $100, depending on the quality and quantity of paint needed.
  • Ongoing Costs: Consider the costs of maintenance and replacement parts for the airbrush. Also, if you’re new to airbrushing, you might need to practice on other surfaces first, which can add to the cost.

DIY Spray Paint Painting:

  • Cost of Materials: This is generally the most economical option. Quality spray paints cost between $5 to $20 per can. Depending on the complexity of the design and the number of colors, you might need multiple cans.
  • Additional Supplies: You’ll also need to purchase primer, clear coat, and possibly sandpaper, masking tape, and paper or plastic for masking off areas. These supplies can add an additional $20 to $50 to your total cost.

Other Considerations:

  • Time and Skill: DIY methods require time and some level of skill. If you’re new to painting, you might have to account for a learning curve.
  • Quality and Durability: Professional painters typically offer higher quality and more durable finishes than DIY methods. They also usually guarantee their work.
  • Personalization: DIY methods provide the opportunity for complete customization, whereas professional services might have limitations based on the artist’s style or capabilities.

Ultimately, the choice between professional painting and DIY methods depends on your budget, the desired quality and complexity of the work, and your personal skills and preferences in painting.

How to Paint a Motorcycle Helmet 

Painting a motorcycle helmet can be intimidating for a newbie. But with the steps below, you will see that it is indeed an easy task.

  • Clean Helmet 

The first thing that you need to do is to clean the helmet. If it is dust and dirt, the paint will have weaker adhesion on the surface. The best way to clean the helmet surface is with a cloth dipped in a mild detergent and warm water. Use the wet cloth to remove all dirt, grease, and residue. Use a lint-free cloth to dry the surface.

Some people might think that sanding will help in cleaning the helmet. However, it will do more harm than good, so you should avoid doing so. By sanding the helmet, you might end up damaging the fiberglass shell or outer plastic, which will weaken its structure.

  • Remove Accessories and Cover the Parts You Don’t Want Painted 

In most cases, you won’t be painting the entire helmet. Hence, you will need to use masking tape or painter’s tape to cover the specific portions that you will leave unpainted. Some examples of these parts include the visor, padding, or the screws or connecting points between the helmet and the strap.

  • Outline Your Design 

If you have a design in mind use a marker to sketch it out on the helmet. This will serve as a guide for your painting process. This will make it easier to distinguish which should be a painted surface and with what colors. Use thin lines to make the marks more visible.

  • Paint the Helmet 

Prepare the paint based on the instructions from the manufacturer and start brushing. Start by applying the base layer, then proceed to the shadows, highlights, and final touches.

If you would like to spray paint the helmet, your best bet is to go with a spray gun instead of an aerosol gun. This is because the gun is easier to control in such a small area.

  • Apply a Clear Coat 

To finish the painting job, apply a clear coat to the helmet. This often exists in the form of an aerosol can. Use a clear coating that works for plastic. This will help in creating a protective barrier to minimize damage to the paint while also helping in making the helmet stronger.

If you want a tinted visor, here are the steps to tint a motorcycle visor.

  • Additional Considerations

  1. Test Paint Compatibility – Before starting your painting process perform a compatibility test by applying some paint on an inconspicuous area of your helmet to ensure that it adheres well without causing any adverse effects.
  2. Proper Ventilation – When painting make sure you’re working in a ventilated area to avoid inhaling any fumes. It’s also important to wear gear for added safety.
  3. Regular Inspections – Once you’ve finished painting it’s important to inspect your helmet for any signs of damage or wear that may impact its capabilities.
  4. Seek Professional Advice – If you’re unsure about how to go about the painting process or what type of paint to use it’s always an idea to consult with a professional. Some specialty stores even offer services for helmet painting.
  5. Prioritize Safety – Personalizing your helmet is great. Remember that safety should always come first. Avoid making modifications that could compromise the effectiveness of your helmets protection.


So, can you paint your motorcycle helmet? Definitely, and it’s a great way to have it personalized and cover any superficial damage. Before doing so, however, be familiar with the legal requirements in your area. Also, see to it that you are using the right paint that won’t chemically alter the physical composition of the helmet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Painting Motorcycle Helmets

  1. What kind of paint should I use to paint my motorcycle helmet? – Not all paints are suitable, for motorcycle helmets. It’s important to use paints that’re compatible with the helmet’s material. Generally water based acrylic paints and polyurethane enamels are options.
  2. Is it safe to paint motorcycle helmets? Will painting my helmet affect its safety certification?If the paint damages the helmets material or covers the safety certification stickers it could impact the helmets safety certification. Always keep these stickers visible. Use paints that are safe for helmets.
  3. Will spray paint stick to a motorcycle helmet and how do I ensure that paint adheres properly?  – Make sure the surface of the helmet is clean and free from oils or dirt. Using a primer specifically designed for the helmet’s material can also improve paint adhesion. Always follow the instructions provided by the paint manufacturer for best results.
  4. Is it legal to customize a motorcycle helmet through painting?The legality of painting a motorcycle helmet varies depending on your location. In general, it is allowed as long as it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the helmet and doesn’t obscure any safety certifications. It is advisable to check local regulations, in this regard.
  5. Can painting my helmet help me be less noticeable, to drivers?Yes it can make a difference. The color you choose matters. Dark colors can actually make you less visible during night rides. Its recommended to go for colors like white, red or orange as they enhance visibility.
  6. How should I pick the color for my helmet? – When selecting a color it is important to consider both visibility and personal style. Opting for reflective colors is ideal in terms of visibility. However if you prefer other colors make sure they contrast well with your motorcycle so that you remain visible.
  7. Is it possible to add designs or patterns while painting my helmet? – Certainly! You can get creative. Add designs or patterns to your helmet. Before starting the painting process use a marker to sketch out your desired design. Just ensure that whatever elements you add don’t compromise the integrity of the helmet.
  8. How long should I wait for the paint on my motorcycle helmet to dry? – Drying times can vary based on factors such as paint type and environmental conditions. It’s always best to refer to the instructions provided with your chosen paint, for drying times. As a guideline allowing least 24 hours for the paint to fully cure is advisable.
  9. Is it necessary to apply a clear coat after painting my helmet? – Applying a clear coat is highly recommended as it adds a layer of protection to the paint and helps increase the overall durability of the helmet.
  10. What steps should I take if the paint I applied is causing damage to my helmet? – If you observe any signs of damage or adverse reactions after painting it’s crucial to cease using the helmet. It would be advisable to seek guidance in assessing the extent of the damage. In situations it may be necessary to replace the helmet for safety purposes.
joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!