How to Paint a Bike Frame in 10 Easy Steps

Want to paint your fixie? Here you will learn how to paint your bike frame and what kind of paint you can use to get some excellent results.

Frames are the foundation of any bike, and painting a bike frame can transform the look and feel of your ride. Furthermore, it’s a pleasant project that can be accomplished in a short amount of time. But how do you go about painting a bike frame?

In this article, you will learn what kind of paint you can use on a bike frame and how to paint a bike frame.

To paint a bike frame, you must first practice, prepare the workspace, select the paint, disassemble the bike, and the frame with sandpaper, tape out the portions you don’t want to get messy, and apply two coats of paint and another to keep the bike rust-free. Finally, dry the paint, and then reassemble the bike.

What is a bike frame?

The frame is the main structural component of the bicycle and is typically constructed of steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. A top tube, head tube, down tube, bottom bracket shell, seat tube, seat stays, and chain stays make up the frame. A frameset is a combination of a frame and fork sold together.

Thumbnail for a blog post how to paint a bike frame in 10 easy steps
Thumbnail for a blog post how to paint a bike frame in 10 easy steps
My favorite bike (at the moment):

State Bicycle Co. Black Label 6061

Best overall fixed gear bike state bicycle co 6061 black label v2
My favorite bike (at the moment):

State Bicycle Co. Black Label 6061

This is my daily ride, my trusty Black Label It’s lightweight and beautifully crafted. It looks like a beast and rides like one too. I upgraded the saddle, but everything else is pretty much as it was out of the box. I highly recommend it.

What kind of paint do you use to paint a bike frame?

If you want to avoid prematurely replacing your bike frame, priming it first is a good idea. It improves the paint’s adhesion to the surface, allowing the main coat to be applied more quickly. It improves adhesion and creates a solid base for the main paint to adhere to.

For the main coat, I recomedn an Epoxy paint. Epoxy paints, more commonly known as floor paint, are ideal for use on metal bicycle frames. This paint is perfect for a bike frame because it provides a protective coating and inhibits the formation of rust.

Epoxy paints retain their lustrous sheen and vivid hues while also standing the test of time. The paint hardeners and resin in these products combine to make an extremely durable, scratch-proof, weather-resistant finish. When the paint is properly adhered to the frame, the finish is so sturdy that it can even withstand dings and dents.

However, be aware that epoxy paints require more time to cure than other paints. Epoxy paints take nearly three full days to cure, while most paints only take a day. 

You can also use Krylon’s Fusion All-in-One Spray Paint or Rust-Oleum Enamel Spray Paint. When you spray paint a bike, both finishes are shiny and can keep your bike from rusting.

What do you clean metal with before painting?

Before painting, use mineral spirits to remove grease and a rust-inhibitive primer to prepare new metal surfaces adequately. To guarantee good adhesion, remove dust with a clean, dry cloth, de-gloss the surface with moderate sanding; and wipe with mineral spirits on sound painted surfaces.

How do you prepare a bike frame for painting?

Check to make sure the frame is thoroughly clean. If it isn’t bare aluminum, steel, or carbon, sand it lightly, so the paint has something to adhere to. Use 1,000 to 1,500-grit sandpaper to texture the surface—you don’t want to remove any material altogether.

Here’s some sandpaper you may use to get the job done.

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How to paint a bike frame?

Below are the steps to paint a bike frame.

  1. Pick your paint

    Check your local art stores to choose high-quality paint that will last. Look for a can with low pressure—the slower the paint comes out, the easier it is to deal with. Don’t mix brands or lines because various paints can react badly.

  2. Disassemble the bike

    You must disassemble the bike to do this job as effectively and easily as possible. This will allow us to get a better coat around the bike and not accidentally paint any components we didn’t want to be painted.

  3. Set up your workstation

    Though possible, painting your bike while holding it is inconvenient, so secure your frame so you can paint it without touching it. For example, the head tube can be wedged into a dowel and clamped into a stand, or you can thread string or twine through the top tube and hang it from a rafter. You should also put down a drop cloth to capture any overspray.

  4. Practice first

    You should practice beforehand if this is your first time painting a bike. You can experiment on a low-cost frame that you don’t mind ruining or even a low-cost metal tube.

  5. Prep the bike for paint

    Sand the bike frame to allow the new coat of paint to adhere. If the frame has thick or glossy paint, remove a lot of the previous paint with low-grit (rough) sandpaper. Use 1,000 to 1,500-grit sandpaper.

    Make certain that the frame is ready to be painted. Clean it first with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits and a lint-free towel. Then, check to make sure the frame is thoroughly clean.

  6. Use masking tape

    Tape off areas that will have components attached, such as the bottom bracket, seat tube, head tube, and dropouts. Then, youse tape to mask off portions of the bike when designing it—just make sure your base layer is totally dry first, or the paint will peel off with the tape.

  7. Paint your frame

    Before using the can, shake it for three minutes. Then, look at the can to determine how close you should hold it when spraying. One coat of paint should be sprayed on evenly and evenly. While spraying, keep your hand moving at a steady speed.

    Always allow at least 15-30 minutes between coats. Coat requirements vary widely between spray paint colors and brands. When the new paint covers the old paint and the metal evenly, you know you’ve painted the frame enough times.

  8. Let it dry

    Allow the paint to dry before layering various colors or applying a second coat. Take the weather into account as well. It is advised to paint in dry weather.

  9. Apply a clear coat

    Apply a clear coat to preserve the bike from rust and keep it looking new. Allow a few hours after spray paint to dry before applying the clear coat. Once the frame is dry, apply an even coating of clear coat all over the bike in the same manner as you did the spray paint.

    Apply three coats of clear coat for the finest results. Allow each application to dry for 15-30 minutes before applying the next.

    Alternatively, you can begin with an oxidizing primer prepared specifically for the metal. It will keep rust from growing in the future.

  10. Reassemble the bike

    Replace all the components you removed from the frame earlier, including the wheels, bottom bracket, chain, left and right cranks, front and rear derailleurs, handlebars, brakes, seat, and front forks. You are now ready to ride your brand-new bike!


  • Spray paint
  • Rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits


  • Respirator masks
  • Sand paper
  • Cardboard or newspaper
  • Bike stand
  • Wrencheds and L keys (for bike disassembly)

Do you need to wear protection when painting a bike?

Image of a man in full protective gear while painting a bicycle frame. Source: adobe stock
Image of a man in full protective gear while painting a bicycle frame. Source: adobe stock

Yes! These kinds of paint release toxic fumes. Please wear the right protection. During painting and restoration operations, respirator masks keep many small and odorless particles from entering your airways. Respirators may also defend against other chemicals, noxious gases, and mold spores.

If you want even more tips, watch this video called How To Custom Paint A Bike Like A Pro With Some Help From Fatcreations from the GNS Tech YouTube Channel.

A video called How To Custom Paint A Bike Like A Pro With Some Help From Fatcreations from the GNS Tech YouTube Channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about painting a bike.

Can I paint my own bike frame?

Yes. However, spray-painting a bike frame requires the ability to achieve a genuinely professional, uniformly applied finish that is durable enough to last. I’ve seen some nice-looking low-cost DIY projects, but it’s difficult to create a finish that properly showcases the craftsmanship of a valuable frame when you do it yourself.

Do you have to sand a bike frame before painting it?

Any old paint that is loose or pulling away must be completely removed before applying fresh paint. Removing such paint deposits requires wire brushing, scraping, and sanding.

Sand the bike frame to allow the new coat of paint to adhere. If the frame has thick or glossy paint, remove a lot of the previous paint with low-grit (rough) sandpaper. If the frame has a matte finish or is entirely bare, sand it with a high-grit (fine) sandpaper.

How much does it cost to paint a bike frame?

The typical starting price for painting a steel bike frame is $516, with prices ranging from $40-$150. The final cost is more if extra colors and patterns are added or the bike is built of carbon fiber.


When done correctly, painting a bike frame can be a simple operation. Use various colors to match your bike to your mood and fashion sense. It will keep your bike looking excellent at all times. Seek professional assistance if you encounter any problems.

This article covered bike frames, the kind of paint you can use on a bike frame, and some steps to painting a bike frame. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • The frame is the main structural part of the bicycle, commonly made of steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber.
  • You can use Krylon’s Fusion All-in-One Spray Paint for bicycles or the RUST-OLEUM Enamel Spray Paint.
  • To prepare new metal surfaces properly, use mineral spirits to remove grease and apply a rust-inhibitive primer before painting.
  • Primer and paint are two tools you need to ensure your bike frame is safe.
  • The paint job will make your bike look great and shine like new.

So did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixies. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

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Written by Bradley Knight, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Bradley, and I've been riding fixed for years. I love all the joy and pain that comes with this unique style of cycling and the passionate community that drives it. If you love fixed-gear bikes, this is the place for you.

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