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How to Chameleon Paint Your Motorcycle

How to Chameleon Paint Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle paint jobs can help protect bikes from rusting, corrosion, and damage. But their main purpose is to make bikes aesthetically appealing or to give them a different look from other bikes of the same model. In addition, motorcycles with high-quality paint jobs can help hide imperfections and ensure better resale prices. Due to the growing popularity of paint jobs, many motorcycle manufacturing companies have begun to introduce new paint jobs every year to attract more customers. It is not uncommon for riders to buy a bike just because it features a paint job in their favorite color scheme.

But some motorcyclists do not like the original paint jobs due to sharing the same look as other motorbikes. To help make their motorcycles stand out, riders often apply custom designs, decals, and stickers. Lately, solid colors with minimal graphics, holographic paint, matte paint, rust patina, and candy paint jobs have been becoming more popular.

Another popular trend that has been on the rise is the chameleon paint job. This paint job creates the effect of constantly changing colors depending on the bikes’ frame and contours, viewing angle, and angle of the light. Chameleon paint kits are readily available on the market, allowing riders to apply a stunning iridescent finish to their motorbikes at home. Motorcyclists who do not have any experience with painting a motorcycle can also buy ready-to-apply color shift spray paints for a quick and precise application.

1. Motorcycle Chameleon Paint - Get Started

Most bikes draw attention because of their chrome accents, blacked-out look, solid colors, and unique graphics and decals. Chameleon paint attracts attention because of its constantly shifting colors. If you want to ride a modern bike without buying a new motorcycle, then get a chameleon paint job. Another benefit of the chameleon paint is that it is multi-purpose and versatile as it does not require buying separate paint cans for metal and plastic motorcycle parts. If you perform all these steps correctly, you will enjoy the process and the result.

1.1 Chameleon Paint Job - What You Will Need

  • Non-Oil Degreaser Spray
  • Microfibre Cloth
  • Painter’s Tape
  • 400 Grit Sandpaper
  • 600 Grit Sandpaper
  • 800 Grit Sandpaper
  • 1,000 Grit Sandpaper
  • Black Base Coat
  • Clear Coat
  • Filler
  • Sanding Block
  • Epoxy Sealer

1.2 Chameleon Paint - How to Apply

Chameleon spray paints are easy to apply since you do not have to worry about mixing in activator, reducer, or thinner. For a high-quality finish, opt for a chameleon kit. However, you would have to create the right consistency of paint by adding thinner or other solvent. Read the instructions below to learn how to apply chameleon paint correctly

Sand the Surface

The amount of time and effort you put into sanding the surface determines the quality and finish of the paint. A well-sanded motorcycle part will quickly bond to the paint and ensure a lasting chameleon effect from any angle. Since many motorcycle parts are made of different materials, such as fiberglass, ABS plastic, metal, etc, you need to know how to properly sand each one

Metal Parts

  • If you are spraying paint over a metal surface, such as a fuel tank or the chassis, then degrease the surface with a non-oil degreaser spray.
  • Once the surface is clean, use 400 grit sandpaper to remove rust.
  • Apply 2-3 coats of bonding primer to achieve full coverage.
  • If there are dents or scratches, apply body fillers as stated in the instruction manual.
  • Sand the body filler using 600 grit sandpaper, followed by 800 grit sandpaper.
  • Apply 2-3 thin coats of a filler primer to cover the surface and leave it to dry for 24 hours.
  • Wet sand the excess filler with 1,000 grit sandpaper and sanding block.

ABS Plastic or Fiberglass Parts

  • Clean the parts with a degreasing spray and lint-free microfiber cloth.
  • Sand the surface with 600 grit sandpaper to remove old paint and gloss.
  • Degrease the surface again, then apply 2-3 light coats of primer. Next, immediately apply the new paint.

Apply Primer

Most painters do not apply primers, especially if the instructions do not specify or encourage the use of primer. For a chameleon paint job, a primer is necessary to get the desired finish. Even if the paint can be applied directly, it is recommended you apply the primer first. Spray a thin coat of primer on the motorcycle part and leave it to dry for 15-30 minutes.

Apply Black Base Coat

You must apply a black base coat before spraying on the chameleon paint on your motorcycle. You can also use other darker base coats, but black provides the best shifting colors effect.

It is recommended you apply a coat of epoxy sealer to prevent bubbles and blisters from forming in the base coat. 2-3 coats of base coat are required for adequate coverage. Leave each coat of the paint to settle for 2-3 minutes before applying the next coat.

Apply Chameleon Coat

Once the base coat is set, apply the chameleon paint on the motorcycle part. Apply 2-3 light coats of paint evenly across the surface. More coats will increase the dramatic iridescent effect. However, do not apply heavy layers of paint.

Apply Clear Coat

Spray one layer of clear coat, let it dry a little, and wet sand it gently with 600 grit sandpaper. You should apply enough pressure to smooth the clear coat without cutting through the layer to the coat of chameleon paint. If you want to add graphics to the paint job, like a logo or flames, then do so after applying the first layer. Apply and wet sand the second coat of paint. Finally, apply and west sand the last clear coat with 1500 grit sandpaper for a smooth texture and quality finish.

2. Best Motorcycle Chameleon Paint Kits

Many brands sell chameleon paint that is:

  • Accessible
  • Easy-to-apply
  • Industry-grade finish
  • Long lasting color effect
Chameleon Paint Price Pros Cons
KonFusion Chameleon Quart Motorcycle Paint Kit $175.93-$195.93
1 Quart of Chameleon Paint
1 Quart of Black Base
1 Quart of Clear Coat (High Gloss Finish)
Reducer for Base and Color Coat Activator for Clear Coat
Single Kit is Adequate for Standard Motorcycles and Lightweight Cruisers
Can Be Applied on Tank, Fender, Fairing, and Sissy Bars
Contains UV Sunscreeners, Polymer Resins, High Quality Chameleon Pearl Pigment
Can Resist Humid Temperature, Prolonged Sun Exposure, High Heat, Frigid Temperature, and Rain
Difficult to Apply
Best for Experienced/Skilled Painters
Cannot Be Used in Areas with Low VOC Finish Requirements, including California, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island
*Check Local VOC Requirements before Using*
Krylon Color Morph High Gloss Paint $39.64 per 6 oz spray can Easy to Apply
High Gloss Finish
24 Hour Cure Time
Long-Lasting Color Effect
Resistant to Rust and Extreme Temperatures
Three Color Combinations: Green-Gold, Blue-Purple, Green-Purple
Two-Step Application Process (Black Coat Followed By a Color Coat)
Can Be Applied on Fairings, Shocks, Fuel Tank, Brake Caliper, Plastic Parts
Requires a Separate Black Coat
4-5 Cans Required for Complete Coverage
RustOleum Color Shift Paint $20 per 11 oz aerosol spray Top Notch Coverage
Six Unique Shades - Cosmos Blue, Green Copper, Blue Galaxy, Turquoise Waters, Purple Sunrise, Champagne Pink, Iridescent Shimmer
Best for Metal and Plastic Motorcycle Parts
Can Be Applied to Helmets
Long-Lasting Color Effect
Durable Paint - Scratch Resistant
Prevents Rust and Corrosion
Can Withstand High Temperature, Harmful UV Rays, and Rain
Spray at Any Angle with Comfort Spray Nozzle
Dries Quickly
Can Be Applied on a Black Base Coat - 11 oz Spray Can Sold Separately
Requires a Primer for Metal Surfaces
DupliColor Shift Spray Paint $38.99 per 12 oz spray can Metallic Pearl Flake Paint
Color Shift Takes Place on All Base Colors
*Black or Dark Base Coats are Preferred*
Ideal Paint for Motorcycles
Available in Two Colors - Purple Blue and Purple Green
Dries in 20 Minutes
High Gloss Finish
Color Shifts at Any Angle
Can Be Applied on Wheels, Forks, Fuel Tank, Fender, and Fairings
Features Light Interference Color That Shifts Due to Movement
High-Maintenance Paint
DupliColor Mirage Kit $14.99 per 8 oz of Base Coat, Mid Coat, and Clear Coat UV-Resistant
High Gloss Finish
Best for Plastic Motorcycle Parts
Dries in 30 Minutes
EZ Touch Fan Nozzle
Available Colors: Purple-Green & Red-Blue
One Hour Cure Time
Best for Plastics Only
Not Recommended for Metal Surfaces Except Aluminum
Can Be Applied on DupliColor Mirage Base Coat
3-6 Coats Required for Color Effect
Does Not Resist Automotive Fluids, Especially Gasoline. Should Not Be Applied on Fuel Tank

3. Cost of a Chameleon Motorcycle Paint Job - DIY vs Professional

Even though chameleon paints have multiple colors, they are not that expensive. You can get chameleon paint for about $250-$300. The cost of paint jobs increases due to having to add a black base coat, primer, and clear coat that are sold separately. Moreover, if you paint your motorcycle’s entire frame, including the brake calipers, wheels, forks, suspension shocks, fairings, and fuel tank, then the costs will increase to $800-$1,500. It is cheaper to paint a single motorcycle part. This allows you to give your motorcycle a personal touch without spending a lot of money and keeping the original paint job.

The cost of hiring a professional painter to chameleon paint your bike is even more expensive. Most painters charge an hourly rate. Your location, the motorcycle part you want painted, and the quality of the paint can also increase the price. The average cost is between $1,500 to $3,500 for a professional chameleon paint job.

4. Tips for a DIY Motorcycle Chameleon Paint Job

  1. For maximum color effect, read the instructions before applying the paint.
  2. Paint in a well-ventilated area and wear safety gear that protect the eyes, hands, and face. Check for oil and fuel leaks on your motorcycle before applying paint.
  3. Check the temperature and humidity levels in your workspace. The ideal humidity level should be about 70% and the ideal temperature range should be between 60°F/16 °C to 95°F/35°C. Avoid painting in the sun or in the evening.
  4. Take your time prepping the surface you plan to paint. The motorcycle parts should have no dust, grease, wax, and grime before you apply paint.
  5. Do not apply paint on a damp surface.
  6. Use a 400-800 grit sandpaper to remove rust from the motorcycle. If the motorcycle parts you want to paint are glossy or already painted, scrape the glossy flakes or older paint with sandpaper.
  7. Put tape on the surrounding surfaces you do not want covered in paint.
  8. Make sure you spread a tarp, drop cloth, or a plastic sheet on the floor and walls to keep them clean.
  9. Some chameleon paints can be applied directly after the base coat and do not need a primer. But if the base coat or color coat does not bond with the metal or plastic surface, then apply 2-3 coats of primer.
  10. Shake the aerosol spray for 60 seconds before applying the paint. Test the nozzle and the flow of paint on a piece of cardboard to see if the paint has the right consistency.
  11. For a smooth finish, hold the spray paint about 7-10 inches from your motorcycle and apply it using a sweeping motion.
  12. Apply light coats of paint, especially the first layer. Use the following coats to increase the color effect, but do not apply thick layers of paint because they won’t bond well with the motorcycle parts.
  13. Check whether the paint has dried fully. If you leave fingerprints, quickly fix it by repainting the area.
  14. Use 1,500-2,000 grit sandpaper to wet sand minor damage to the surface. Gently sand the surface to avoid removing the clear coat and color coat underneath.
  15. Cure the paint based on the instructions listed on the spray can.
  16. Store the paint after completing the project.

5. Takeaway

Chameleon paint jobs have a metallic luster that gives your bike a luxurious look and gives it a sporty character. Make sure to check the rules regarding motorcycle customization in your state before getting a chameleon paint job. In the United States, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulate paint jobs on all types of vehicles. The organization dictates that motor vehicles should have a uniform color that can be easily seen from the front, sides, and rear. If chameleon paint is illegal in your area, you can get in trouble with the law.

Riders who do not use their motorcycles on a daily basis and keep them stored in the garage can apply the chameleon paint to be creative and enjoy a rewarding DIY project.

Also Read: How to Paint a Motorcycle Gas Tank
                    How to Paint a Motorcycle Frame
                    How to Paint a Motorcycle Fairing with a Spray Gun

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