How To Custom Paint ATV Plastics And Rims | Hunt or Shred

The best way to upgrade the look of an ATV without spending a ton of money is a custom paint job on the plastics and rims. But how do you do it?

The three best methods to custom paint ATV plastics and rims are Hydro Dipping, Spray Paint, and Hand Paint. With every process, you need to do prep work like cleaning, sanding, and priming before applying any paint. This will ensure better surface durability and a refined finish.

We will guide you through the step-by-step process of custom painting your ATV plastics and rims. With our easy-to-follow instructions and some essential painting tools, you can transform the appearance of your ATV and make it truly unique. So, let's get started and learn how to customize our ATV today.

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How To Custom Paint ATV Plastics And Rims

Custom painting your ATV plastics and rims can give your ride a whole new look, making it stand out on the trails and turning heads during off-road adventures. It's about aesthetics and a way to showcase your style and make your ATV uniquely yours.

Learning to custom paint your ATV plastics and rims can be a fun and rewarding experience. With proper preparation, the correct paint, and some patience, you can achieve professional-looking results that will enhance your ATV's appearance and durability.

Custom painting your ATV plastics and rims can make your ride stand out and express your style. There are various methods to achieve a unique and professional look. Three popular methods include Hydro Dipping, Spray Paint, and Hand Paint.

Hydro Dipping Method

Hydro dipping is a process where a pattern or design is applied to a curved surface. This technique is perfect for customizing ATV plastics and rims:

  1. Clean and sand the plastic surface to prepare for dipping.
  2. Choose your preferred design film and cut it to fit the part.
  3. Fill a container with water and carefully place the film on its surface, allowing it to hydrate for a few minutes.
  4. After the film hydrates, spray a water-activated activator, making it dissolve and leaving the ink on the water's surface.
  5. Slowly submerge the part at an angle through the ink, letting the design fully wrap around it.
  6. Rinse off any residue and let it completely dry before applying a clear coat to protect the new design.

Spray Paint Method

The spray paint method is a cost-effective and straightforward approach to custom painting your ATV plastics and rims. To get started:

  1. Clean the surface of the plastic and sand it down to remove any scratches or imperfections.
  2. Apply a plastic primer or adhesion promoter to create a suitable surface for the paint to stick correctly.
  3. Choose your desired spray paint color and apply it in thin, even coats, allowing each layer to dry between applications.
  4. Finish it off with a clear coat to protect the paint and create a glossy finish.

Hand Paint Method

If you're feeling particularly artistic, the hand paint method allows for intricate and unique designs. To hand paint your ATV plastics and rims:

  1. Similar to the other techniques, clean and sand the plastic surfaces.
  2. Choose high-quality paint designed for plastic surfaces, and use a suitable brush for detailed work.
  3. Start with a base coat, and allow it to dry before adding your custom design.
  4. Apply your hand-painted design carefully, allowing each color to dry before adding more details.
  1. Once your design is complete and dry, seal it with a clear coat to protect the paint and make it more durable.

Each of these methods has advantages and can result in a stunning custom paint job for your ATV plastics and rims. Experiment with different techniques to find the one that best suits your needs and style.

Materials and Tools Needed To Custom Paint ATV

Before we can take the necessary steps to paint our ATV, we need suitable materials and tools. Below is everything any custom paint beginner needs to get started.

Paint and Primer

Choosing the right paint and primer is crucial for a successful ATV custom paint project. Opt for a plastic-friendly paint and a primer designed specifically for plastics. This will ensure proper adhesion and a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Safety Equipment

It's crucial to prioritize safety during the painting process. A few essential safety items we recommend using are listed below.

  • Protective gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator mask

Surface Preparation Tools

Properly preparing the ATV plastics and rims is essential for a seamless paint job. Necessary surface preparation tools include:

  • Sandpaper (180 grit for plastics)
  • Plastic cleaner
  • Scuff pad
  • Adhesive promoter

Painting Accessories

In addition to paints and primers, other painting accessories you'll need include the following.

  • Paint sprayers or aerosol cans
  • Masking tape and materials
  • Drop cloths or protective sheeting
  • Finishing glaze
  • Bumper sealer (for plastics)

Preparing ATV Plastics and Rims For Custom Paint

Preparation is the biggest step when applying custom paint to an ATV. It doesn't take much to get paint in the wrong place, potentially damaging or staining the ATV. So follow these preparation tips.

Removing Components

Before starting, safely remove all the plastic parts and rims of your ATV that need to be painted. This ensures proper access to all areas and avoids possible damage to the ATV while painting.

Cleaning and Degreasing

The first step in preparing ATV plastics and rims is cleaning and degreasing. Remove any dirt, dust, mud, or grime using mild soap and water.

Then, apply a degreaser to remove any remaining residues or contaminants on the surfaces. Rinse thoroughly and let the surfaces dry completely.

Sanding and Smoothing Surfaces

Next, gently sand and smooth the surfaces using fine-grit sandpaper. This creates a texture that helps the paint adhere better.

Ensure to sand evenly and carefully to avoid overly rough surfaces. When sanding is complete, wipe away dust and debris with a clean or tack cloth.

Masking and Taping

Mask and tape off the areas that need to be protected from paint or where you don't want the paint to be applied. Cover any openings, inserts, or adjacent areas using high-quality painter's tape and paper.

Be meticulous in this process to achieve a clean and precise paint job. This is an excellent way to speed up the process too.

Priming the Surfaces

Before applying paint to your ATV plastics and rims, it's crucial to prime them first. Priming creates a smoother surface and ensures better adhesion of the paint.

Start by cleaning the surfaces with a degreaser or plastic cleaner to remove dirt, grease, or other contaminants. Next, use a scuff pad or 180-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surfaces, ensuring they're free from rough or uneven spots.

When choosing a primer, opt for a high-build primer or an adhesion promoter designed explicitly for use on plastics. This will help the paint stick better and last longer on your ATV plastics and rims.

Apply a thin, even layer of primer to the surfaces, following the product's instructions. This typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour but can vary depending on your primer. It's essential to allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

After the primer has dried, lightly sand the surfaces once more with finer grit sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections and create an ideal surface for the paint to adhere to.

Applying the Custom Paint

Now that your ATV plastics and rims are prepared, it's time to apply the custom paint. This section will guide you through the process, from applying the base coat to adding special effects and graphics and finishing with a clear coat.

Applying Base Coat

Begin by applying a primer to help the paint stick better and ensure a more vibrant color. Make sure to use a primer specifically formulated for ATV plastics or automotive use.

Once the primer has dried, apply a base coat of your desired color using a spray gun or brush. Allow the base coat to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Adding Special Effects or Graphics

If you wish to add special effects or graphics to your ATV, now is the time. You can use stencils, decals, or freehand painting to create unique designs.

Consider using a vinyl wrap or hydro dipping for more intricate graphics, as this ATV Legion article explains. Remember to let each layer dry before applying the next one, and be consistent in your painting technique to ensure a professional-looking finish.

Applying Clear Coat

Once your base coat and graphics have fully dried, it's time to seal your masterpiece with a clear coat. This protective layer will enhance the color depth and safeguard your paint job against scratches and fading.

Apply the clear coat in a steady sweeping motion, using multiple thin coats and allowing adequate drying time between each coat.

How To Reassemble ATV Components After Painting

Now that your ATV plastics and rims have been custom painted, it's time to reassemble the ATV. Start by gently attaching the freshly painted plastics to the frame, taking care not to scratch or damage the new paint job.

Step 1: Paint the Main Body Plastics

Attach them using the respective clips and bolts, following the manufacturer's recommendations. Double-check you've covered all attachment points, ensuring a snug and secure fit.

Step 2: Paint the Smaller Plastic Pieces

The smaller pieces include parts like the fender and side panels. Carefully align them with the corresponding mounting points, securing them with the appropriate hardware.

Step 3: Refit the Seat

Being cautious not to scratch the painted surface. Make sure the seat locks into place properly. Depending on the ATV size and design, you can even skip over the step and move on to the rims.

Step 4: Reattach the Rims

Begin by placing the rim on the axle and aligning the bolt holes. Tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern using a torque wrench to distribute pressure evenly.

Be sure to follow the specific torque specifications from the ATV manual. Every ATV is different, so no one adjustment fits all.

Step 5: Test Drive

Once all rims are secured, inflate the tires to the recommended pressure and double-check all final fittings for tightness and proper alignment.

With these steps complete, your ATV is ready to hit the trails, showcasing its fresh custom paint job. Take a test driver at slow speeds to ensure everything is reassembled correctly.

What Type Of Paint Should You Use On ATV Plastics And Rims?

Selecting the appropriate paint is crucial when custom painting ATV plastics and rims. For plastics, spray paint works particularly well. But you may also use acrylic paint specifically designed for plastic surfaces.

Whichever option you choose, ensure it's suitable for plastic, adheres well, and provides a durable finish. For ATV rims, it's best to use high-quality automotive-grade paint.

This paint type is designed to withstand the elements and wear and tear from off-road adventures. Additionally, using a clear coat after painting the rims will provide a glossy finish and add an extra layer of protection against chips, scratches, and UV damage.

Here are a few essential points to consider when choosing paint for your ATV plastics and rims.

  • Ensure it's compatible with the material.
  • Select a paint that is resistant to chipping and fading.
  • Opt for a paint that's easy to work with and provides a smooth finish.
  • Consider the climate and outdoor conditions your ATV will be exposed to, and choose a paint that can withstand those variables.

Ultimately, the key to a successful custom paint job on your ATV plastics and rims lies in the proper preparation, paint selection, and application techniques. Take your time and follow the right process for a professional, long-lasting result.

Key Takeaways

  • The best way to custom paint ATV plastics and rims can be done with Hydro Dipping, Spray Paint, and Hand Paint.
  • Traditional spray paint or acrylic paints work well on ATV plastics. Ideally, the paint must be durable, scratch and UV-resistant, and easy to apply.
  • It’s recommended to sand and primer the surface before applying custom paint to ATV plastics and rims.




25 years old. I'm from PA. I love horseback riding and riding ATV's. My husband and I own a farm and our ATV's help us work and have fun.

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