Home Bicycles How To Paint A Bike Without Taking It Apart

How To Paint A Bike Without Taking It Apart

by Rafal Sulowski

It’s always a pleasure to share this blog with passionate people. Laurens is my colleague and because of his writing skills upcoming blogger (according to his girlfriend).
He is Dutch, which means that he has bike wisdom in his blood. Learn how he and his beautiful girlfriend upcycled this grandma bike and gave it a new lease of life.
Please share his experience with your social circles.

how to paint a bike without taking it apart


Hey guys, have you ever looked at your bike and thought it looked kind of boring? Did you ever have problems finding it in large crowds of bikes? Need something to spice it up a little, give it some character or simply let it stand out of the crowd?

Then this little tutorial might just be for you! A simple spraypaint is all you need.

So, I helped my girlfriend buy a bicycle, which she quickly got attached to. All it was missing was some flair. So I told her about the option to spraypaint it like I did with parts of my own bike.

Now, spraypaint is really easy to get. If you live in Amsterdam or the Amsterdam area, there is a great vendor with hundreds of colors on Waterlooplein a few days a week. He really has every color you can imagine, including metallic sprays, shiny ones, and matt sprays. My girlfriend picked something shiny of course. It was only like 4 euros though, like most of the paints there are! If you live outside of this area, visit your local hardware store.


Of course, there are multiple ways of doing it, but I found that the easiest way to do it is with the use of aluminum foil, duct tape, and coke. Coke? Yes, Coca Cola. If you pour some cola on a piece of crumpled aluminum foil and firmly rub rusty or uneven parts of the frame you’re about to spraypaint, you will find that rust simply disappears. It’s really a great trick and prepares the bike for the spray. We used about one 0.5 liter bottle of cola for this paint job, although we got rid of a lot of rust on the bike in a previous session. Furthermore, we used about 1 roll of aluminum foil (in total, so including the paint step!).


  • After getting your bike rust free and leaving it to dry it’s time to cover up the areas of the bike that you DON’T want to paint.

Now, this does not mean that you have to cover up the entire bike, but depending on the paint can and especially the type of spray cap you have (broader or more focused), simply the areas immediately surrounding the part you wish to paint. You can see this in the picture, where we are spraypainting the rear mudguard, but don’t want to get paint on the tire. As you can see in the results, this works really well. The foil is easily foldable and you can simply shape it to fit any kind of shape on the bike. By doing so, we were even able to spray paint the middle part of the paddles only, as you can see in the picture. We simply folded foil around the black parts and painted the middle section. If the foil doesn’t stick as much as you’d like, use the duct tape. I think the result looks really good.

Oh, and it’s good to mention that if you plan on painting outside instead of in your workshop, it would be kind to cover the street with some paper if you decide to spray close to the floor (such as the paddles and bike rest).


  • After you’re done painting the first layer, let the paint dry for a few minutes (we were outside in a breeze so it was really quick). When it is completely dry you can apply a second layer.
  • Remember to move the spray quickly from side to side while spraying, in order to apply an even layer to your bike.
  • Don’t aim at one spot for too long, as it will start to look denser than the surrounding parts, which is difficult to rectify.
  • After you’ve applied two layers and let them dry you can take off the foil (be careful in order not to scrape any paint off!) or decide to apply a third layer (we didn’t). And…. voila! That’s all folks.

Although I think the bike has a lot more flair now, my girlfriend still wants more paint. So in the future, I think we’re gonna paint the rest of the bike in a different color. All you need is some paint, aluminum foil, duct tape, and cola. Good painting and have fun!


– 1 roll of aluminum foil
– 0.5 bottle of coca cola (or off brand)
– 1 roll of duct tape
 1 bike
– 1 (or more) can of spraypaint
 2 hands


This took us about 1 hour of getting rid of rust, drying and applying paint. If you do it by yourself you should double that time. It also depends on your bike (on its condition, shape, size, intricacy) and the level of detail you want the get with your paint job. More colors, patterns, etc. takes more time of course.


About 8 euro, depending on your choice and amount of spray cans

About Author
My name is Laurens, and I’m a 23 year old Dutch guy living in Amsterdam and studying Urban Geography in Utrecht. In my past time, I work at a hostel called the Trainlodge (together with Rafal, the founder of this website) and in a voluntary youth-house in Haarlem. If you have any questions about how to spraypaint your bike I’d be happy to answer them at laurens_kamps@hotmail.com. Thanks for reading and have fun spraypainting!

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