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painting helmets

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
anyone ever tried to do this?
if so what type of paint?

any legit reason not to paint them?
i remember reading something a long time ago about ccm hockey helmets not to apply stickers or paint as it could weaken the plastic.
sounds like a load of you know what to me.
post #2 of 23
It would require sanding down the helmet to get a surface to which the paint could stick ( I guess you could find some kind of primer for it though). I wouldn't feel very comfortable doing that. Also, helmets are for protection, not looks. That said, what’s going to happen to that paint when my helmet takes a hit..... it isn’t staying on, that’s for sure.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
i totally understand and agree with that
however i can get an ugly color of the same helmet much cheaper
i suppose i should have mentioned that
post #4 of 23
The paint can desintegrate the foam.
post #5 of 23
The paint will most likely interact with the shell of the helmet (not the foam, hopefully, unless you paint the inside) and compromise its integrity. I would not do it. It's a common question from climbers (where the answer is supposedly to not even put stickers on your helmet because of the glue!).

post #6 of 23
First up, to whoever said "helmets are for protection, not looks"...yeah. Uh-huh. And cars are for transport, and should only come in primer grey. Do you paint the topsheets of your skis black, since skis are for skiing, not looking at?

All kidding aside...

Helmets are only useful if they're being worn. And making them look more appealing means people are more likely to wear them. This especially applies to youth.

Next up...if you have the right know-how and supplies, it is very easy to do a safe, helmet-friendly paint job.

The trick is to use a non-solvent based sealer/primer. This will form a barrier between the helmet and any future solvent-based paint layers, thusly preventing any chemical/plastic interactions.

I'm gonna be posting my results once my new paint booth is up and running.

post #7 of 23
What do you plan to paint on the helmets?
post #8 of 23

spray paint

I have a Leedom Scream. I also had a can of gold spray paint. Well, uh, some of it got sprayed onto the helmet. Then I used a black magic marker to doodle a few cartoons faces. I also put on a sticker or two. I don't look at it much cuz I'm wearing it but it's distinctively mine.

I've never had a bad hit to check whether the paint or stickers somehow affected the material.
post #9 of 23
I recall that Picabo Street always had her Helmets Airbrushed.
post #10 of 23
Stickers are another option.
post #11 of 23
My helmet is completely stickered and protected me just fine from this fall which involved quite a knock on the head.

(i'm still wrapped in the fence at that point... the other racer standing below is one of the other 30 who came airborn off the ridge right before me)

post #12 of 23
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
Stickers are another option.
And not necessarily a good one. See, the adhesives found in your average sticker also contains chemicals which have negative interactions with a helmet's plastic. Basically, it's CSA (or DOT, or whatever) ratings are null once a non-helmet-safe sticker is approved.
post #13 of 23
While I said to not paint, I am wondering what the impact of painting one of the foam helmets is? The upper plastic layer is there just for surface protection of the foam, so it may not matter if it gets affected (unless the product affecting it soaks down to the foam)? Not painting/stickering is a definitive issue with helmets where an ABS shell provides protection.

post #14 of 23
I'm going to peel the stickers off my helmet to make it safe for use again. Man, all this time I was putting my noggin in such jeopardy. Fack!
post #15 of 23
I was gonna vote for nailpolish (for designs, but not for base color I suppose) Not sure I buy the "dangerous" thang.
post #16 of 23
I kind of like the secure feeling that extra millimeter of protection my stickers provide
post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by FRAU
I was gonna vote for nailpolish (for designs, but not for base color I suppose) Not sure I buy the "dangerous" thang.
Nailpolish falls under the same group as a solvent-based paint. In fact, since nailpolish is acetone-based, it's probably even a bit worse than some solvent paints, since acetone is a very powerful solvent.

Putting a drop of nailpolish on plastic is like putting a drop of acetone on there. It immediately begins to etch and soften the plastic. You might not see it happen right away, but that's how these things work. Acetone can dissolve a styrofoam cup in a matter of seconds. Plastics should be considered a denser cousin to styrofoam, and affected just like styrofoam...and further, the acetone will result in the area being more brittle.

Finally, as for a foam-based helmet with a thin plastic membrane for protection...sure, it can be painted, but absolute care must be taken so as not to expose the foam to any of the paint. This means using the Auto Air 4000 series sealer that I mentioned above.
post #18 of 23
If you're getting the helmet on the cheap, surely you can find a second if it starts melting over your head from the paint! ;-)

Plug up any ventilation holes and mask any exposed foam. Give the helmet a thin uniform coat of spray-on primer then spray on the base color. Should be golden.
post #19 of 23
Coming from a car racing background, we used to have our helemts painted and vinyl graphics added w/ sponsor/team logos, etc. There is a small cottage industry for painting motorsports helmets. When racing I saw no rules against the painting of helmets. This of course does not infer that it is safe. Just FYI.

Of course our helmets were not plastic: .

My skiing helmet has had stickers on for years, taken many wacks from both snowbaording and skiing. Still going strong.
post #20 of 23

OK ... so I'm old ..

I'm old and back in the "Easy Rider" days (68/69), I used to paint motorcycle helmets.

But ... there were approved paints and primers. Even we were aware of that back then.

That said ... use the search feature ... there were several long posts about this and there were even some helmet recalls because they failed when it got cold. Something wrong with that picture no???? ... When it got cold??

And, no .... the foam is not the protective layer that protects your head. It does a good job .... if .... it stays intact and that is the job of the shell.

Note: If the shell fails what do you guess that the effectiveness of foam will be?

There is a safe way to paint helmets .... but guessing .. what the safe was is .... sure ain't the way to go.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the great info
and for reference I decided not to paint it, mainly because I was able to get a color I dont mind at all...white
post #22 of 23
I had mine painted by the body shop that did the custom paint on our race car. My Spa Yellow Pearl helmet is the same color and paint that was used on the car.

I had it done over two years ago and it's held up fine. Cost me $75.00.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
So I asked leedom directly
these were there responses
thought it might be useful

Wrote: Can I paint your helmets?
The hard-shell helmets (Vandal, Scream,Limit) are more receptive to paint because they utilize an ABS shell.

What type of paint should I use?
You should consult the paint supplier and inform them the of the surface material you are painting.

Will this void the warranty on the shell?

Will this degrade the shell plastic?
The level of degradation will depend on how aggressive the chemicals in the particular paint are. It seems to me that your shells are already painted and thus by painting over it would not incur any damage to the shell. The shells have undergone compatibility tests with various paint compositions to ensure the best compatibility and the least amount of degradation.
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