How to Paint a Football Helmet


Cleaning football helmet easily

As a football player, your football helmet is one of the most useful items in the field. It offers protection from any potential head injury and its color identifies you with your teammates.

Why will you want to paint your football helmet? Many reasons account for why paint your football helmet.

  • Decoration: You want your helmet to look beautiful as you play on the field. Your helmet gets old and boring with time. A change of color can play the trick.
  • Identification: You have bought a new helmet, but the color does not suit that of teammates, so you want to paint it with the right color. Football is an exciting game and even more so when your colors are same with those of your teammates.
  • Refurbishing: if you buy a used helmet, you can refurbish it and paint it to your desired color.
  • Maintenance: You frequently exposed your helmet to the sun, wind, rain, and dust, which makes the helmet to fade and lose its pleasant appearance. So you can repaint your football helmet to give back its pleasant appearance and long life.
  • Reconditioning: You are joining a new team and you want the colors of your helmet to reflect the colors of your team. So you need repainting your helmet.

How To Paint A Football Helmet-Guide

Now that you have understood why paint your football helmet, follow this step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Acquire All The Tools And Materials You Need.

To paint your football helmet correctly, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Paint (like enamel, lacquer or urethane etc.),
  • masking tape,
  • air brush or spray gun,
  • Sandpaper(fine grain sand paper)
  • a primer or undercoat,
  • polish,
  • Latex gloves.

Fine grain sandpaper for cleaning the helmet hard shell

Prepare Your Football Helmet For Painting.

Follow the following steps to prepare your helmet for painting

  1. Cleaning: The first thing to do before painting is to clean the surface of your helmet by peeling off all the stickers and residue gums from the surface. Then wash the helmet with microfiber cloth soaked in soapy water. This is to remove all the stains that were stuck on the helmet surface. Leave the helmet to air dry.
  2. Sanding the helmet: The next thing is to sand your helmet using fine grain sandpaper. I recommend fine grain sand paper because of its high level of safety (you don’t need to damage the surface of your helmet). Don’t use harsh material if you don’t want to remove the previous layer of paint. But if you want to remove the previous layer of paint and sticker glues for the paint to stick, use 400 grit sand papers. You can still use a brake cleaner. Brush the product on the surface of the helmet and wait for 1 hour and then clean by wiping. Brush again if need be. This is safer than sanding the entire surface of your helmet.
  3. Guide coat: This will tell you the spots that are not yet smooth after sanding your helmet. Apply a black coat on the surface and the spots that still need smoothening will remain black. Black coating will disappear on the smooth surfaces.
  4. Masking/covering: You need to cover the inside of your football helmet and other areas you don’t want to paint using a masking tape before painting. Take some old newspapers and make them into a ball and stuff the inside of the helmet with it. Fasten the newspaper with the masking tape so it doesn’t fall off.
  5. Hanging the helmet: This is the best way to place your helmet before painting. Ventilation is very important, especially if we do not do the painting outside. You can hang your helmet on a wire hanger, candlestick holder or even the branch of a tree.


How to paint football helmet

Apply a Primer or Undercoat

The reason for the primer is to further prepare the surface suitable for the paint to adhere. Painting a similar color over the original does not need priming the shell. You just need to wet-sand the surface so that the color coats can adhere and then apply the paint. The primer is also used to fill minor scratches, to block the pigments in the helmet shell, and any pigments in the underlying paint from dirtying the color coats. Priming looks a demanding task that some people just skip and apply the color coats directly, but the effort of priming before applying the color coats pays.

There are 2 types of primer you can use: Enamel and lacquer. Enamel primers are less expensive and the most commonly used type of spray primers. It takes about a week for enamel to cure and harden, but if you are spraying enamel colors over enamel primer; you need to wait only for 2 days before applying the color coats.

Lacquers are more helpful than enamels; they dry fast and allow you to re-coat whenever you want. Lacquers offer a thinner coat. They are more expensive than enamels and difficult to find.

Again, the use of a primer is to fill imperfections and provide a smooth surface for adhesion of color coats.

After you have finished applying the undercoat or priming, give sometime for the undercoat to dry. It is wrong to paint your helmet while the primer is still wet.

Painting your football helmet

We have finally reached the best part of the process-applying color on your helmet. The choice of the type of paint (enamel, lacquer, or urethane) you used to paint your football helmet depends on you.

Lacquer spray paints are hard to find and more expensive. You can find them in auto body and paint supply shops. Enamels are cheap and very common. Urethanes are expensive and a new type of paint.

If you are using a professional spray gun and can, like Aerosol Spray Can, mix your paints and then shake the can.

Form a fence around the helmet with a cardboard paper in other not to spray the paint to the walls and other objects around. Hold the spray about 10 to 12 inches away from the helmet and apply the paint in short controlled bursts. Make at least 3-4 coats of paint. Spray the first coat of paint (which is light) in short bursts and wait for about 15 minutes depending on the type of paint before applying the second. The 3rd coat is applied if certain places do not satisfy you and to make sure you have an even coat across the whole helmet.

Wear latex gloves so that your hands should not leave marks on the painted surface.

Painting a Pattern

It can be daunting tasks to paint your helmet with multiple colors and much more difficult if you do not know how to go about.

  • Put your reference photo by your side so that you can see without stress.
  • Draw the design on your helmet
  • Use masking tapes on the areas you want to paint to avoid mixing colors.
  • Do not cover the part you want to paint.
  • To avoid any over spray, cover the remaining helmet with tape and paper
  • As described before, paint the colored areas.
  • Wait until the area dry well before moving to the other part.
  • When the paint is dried, remove the masking tape and papers on the part that was covered and mask the painted part.
  • Then we repeat the process until we painted the whole helmet with the preferred colors.

A multi-color football helmet

Polishing and clear coat

For your helmet to look glossy and smooth, use a cloth to rub car polish over the helmet surface. Buff the surface when the polish has dried.

They applied clear coat the same way as the main color. It protects the helmet and prevents the need for buffing. However, enamel clear coats turn yellow with time when exposed to sunlight. Lacquer clear coat hardly turns yellow with time.

We have come to the end of the route. Hope you understand the guide. The process is not easy, but it is worth the pain.


Which paint to use on a football helmet?

You can make a choice between enamels, lacquer, urethanes, or acrylic paints. Enamel primers are less expensive, more common and fairly forgiving. They are the best for general use. Lacquers are more expensive and scarce. Urethanes are equally expensive and are recent paint. They make acrylic paints with water, so are safe on helmets.

 Can I paint my own football helmet?

Yes, you can. Just follow the correct steps. Always wear latex gloves and use a painting mask. Spray the paint in controlled short bursts. First clean your helmet by sanding. Then cover the inside and other parts which need not be painted with masking tape. Prime the helmet and allow it to dry before painting. Spray 3-4 layers of paint coats depending on how even you helmet looks painted. Each layer of paint should dry before you apply the next.

Where can I get my football helmet painted?

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