December 9

How to paint your bicycle argyle using spray paint


About 3 years ago I got into the whole “fixie” craze and decided to build my own. However, not having the money to spend on Velocity V-deep wheel sets and other such fancy upgrades I decided to make my bike stand out with a killer paint job. I decided to do it myself and to take on the challenge of painting it in the style of my favorite dress socks.

I came up with a plan of domination and set it in motion. The bike is and huge hit on my college campus and has received many questions and even a few secret admirer notes left in my water bottle cage.  This is my story (dun dun):

Note: Before you even begin to paint you need to prep your bike. This article will mainly focus on how I actually made the pattern but here are a few tips:

  • Remove all parts but the frame – Before you even begin to paint a frame you should take everything off. I bought my frame with only the fork and a bottom bracket so my job was easy. If you don’t know how/don’t have the tools to do this step I recommend taking the bike to a shop to have it done for you or reading this article.
  • Tape off/fill anything that you don’t want painted – I taped over the bottom bracket and filled my seat post and handlebar post with newspaper.
  • Remove old paint – You can use paint removing chemicals, sand paper, or just paint over the old paint with primer.

Knowing this would be an arduous task I focused on keeping the design simple and therefore decided to make the argyle diamonds as big as possible to minimize effort and maximize effect. First, I bought my paint and measured the circumference of the tubes I’d be painting in the argyle pattern to be3.5”. The picture on the right represents what the top tube would look like if it was laid flat.

First I laid down the basecoat. Note: Since you will be painting over this color with the other colors, try to make it as light as possible (e.g. it’s easier to paint over white with black than vice-versa).

Before painting the second color (khaki) I needed to tape off diamond shapes. I decided to make my diamonds 4”x3.5”. I then made diamond stickers in these dimensions out of sticky printer labels like these.

The diamonds were then stuck onto the frame and the khaki coat was applied. The paint was allowed to dry and the stickers were removed.

The white cross hatching was the most difficult part. Since I wanted to do it all by spray paint I needed to tape off everything but the cross hatching pattern. I decided to make the line ¼” thick, which meant that I needed new diamond stickers that were 3.75”x3.25”.

Next, I pasted these diamonds over the entire bike as seen below and did coats of white.

Once again, the paint was allowed to dry before removing the stickers. Finally I covered the bike with 3 coats of lacquer to protect as well as give the bike a nice shine and voila! Argyle bike domination.


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