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Question: Is there any paint safe to use on helmets?

Eirika

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hello everyone,

I am so happy to have found this forum for women skiers! Most of my skier friends are men and are very supportive but it is still awesome to have a place to discuss the sport from a female perspective. I am new to the sport and excited for the hills to open!

So I have a ski helmet in a really sad, drab green that I would like to make a little less boring BUT I don't want to compromise safety doing it. Does anyone out there know if there is a safe product on the market to customize a helmet with? It just needs to last 1/2 a season til I can afford to upgrade. With buying new boots & goggles and used skis I am pretty much tapped out money-wise for a couple of months.

I can definitely live with the boring colour if it is a safety issue...

Thanks in advance

Janet
Banff, Alberta
 
#2
I don't know about paint, but you can buy waterproof stickers of almost anything you like. They really individualize and perk up your helmet.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Welcome to the forum!

And if you're looking for stickers to customize your helmet, here's a good one you can get for $1. It measures 2" x 3-3/4".




Send me a PM, if you want one.
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
Our friend bumpfreaq painted his helmet. I'll ask him what he used.



Another with another angle.

(still looking for a close up)
 

Eirika

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Thanks - I shall keep my eyes open

I guess I shouldn't worry about the helmet too much as I am already going to look 'colourful' as I have black boots, will buy black pants, blue skis, purple ski jacket and red googles...kind of a grab bag of colours. I had the ski jacket (it is my winter coat) and goggles prior to buying the skis so that is what I am stuck in. Having good equipment is way more important than looks - for now...

I don't know about paint, but you can buy waterproof stickers of almost anything you like. They really individualize and perk up your helmet.
 

perma-grin

Instructor PSIA L 3, APD Alpine Ski training MHSP
#10
I would definetly check with Bumpfreaq he is the master artiste' when it comes to Ski and Helmet after market graphic applications!!!:clap: He has a great eye for color!
 

tamlyn

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
If you have the bicycle style ski helmet ( this is the high density styrofoam with a thin thermo-plastic shell over it ) do NOT paint it. The outer shell is ussually just taped on and the foam will definitely deteriorate either immediately or over time depending on the paint. Most helmets of this type are not taped at the vents and other openings so overspray is a given. Some helmets of this type have been molded to the foam by heat and pressure, this type helmet is baisically the same bike helmet construction, just a bit higher quality but the other worry with this type of helmet is the outer layer is not painted it is melt pigmented. If you apply a solvent base paint to this type plastic it will eventually dissolve the foam or weaken it at a minimum, due to a chemical property called plasticiser migration.

The other two types of helmets made for Skiing are ABS plastic (Brands live Uvex and POC use this). This is a MUCH better helmet.
Again they are colored through a process called melt pigmenting (more or less mixing the color into the plastic while liquid). There is a new paint on the market made just for plastic. If any paint is going to stick and not attack the ABS it would be this. I think Krylon is marketing it. While I doubt you will compromise the integrity by using a plasic type paint there are other pitfalls to painting out of a can. The biggest problem is they use more solvent in paint cans to thin the paint so it won't foul the nozzle. Because the paint is thin it tends to run if you get good coverage, if the coats are too light it will come out rough. You will also need to sand it with 800 grit sandpaper
then use "tack cloth" to clean it before painting. You will need a "clean room" , a cheap wayto do this is use newspaper to cover the walls or partition an area with newspaper, this will keep the dust out.
Don't use enamel (oil or acrylic) or nitro cellulose laquer, both are solvent based and will attack the ABS plastic. ABS plastic is the plastic used on ski sidewalls (except capped skis)

The last type of ski helmet is the older style UVEX. I am sure other companies made them. Back then helmets were used only in downhill. In 1977 they stopped requiring helmets for GS and with only racers wearing helmets then, there were few companies willing to make them. If you can find one of these it is fiberglass and strong.
They are lined like a motorcycle helmet and were lighter than a motorcycle helmet. These helmets you CAN paint with nitro cellulose laquer (these are the best paints in many respects , like candy apple, pearl, tinted clears,flip flop 2 color paint metal-flake etc.,but also the most difficult to apply), enamel, epoxy, anything you can paint a boat or car with. If you really want a custom helmet I would find a motorcycle shop and I am sure they can tell you who paints gas tanks and such.

If you just want to update your helmet I really think I would just get a new ABS helmet and see if you can find stickers. Painting any but the fiberglass helmets have too many safety concerns and the outcome is unpredictable at best. Or if you want to express yourself get an old UVEX helmet (they have a removeable face guard) and find a pro car painter to airbrush any design you want.

hope this helps
 

Eirika

Certified Ski Diva
#13
Thanks!

Awesome information, thank you. My helmet is not the modified bike type it is a hard shell that looks like a lightweight motorcycle helmet. I think it is the second type you mentioned as it is fairly new. It is just the dullest shade of green!

I will look into the Krylon paint - we have a spray booth at work so I can do the multiple light layers with sanding between without worrying about contamination of the paint.

Thank you again for the information. :clap:

Janet

If you have the bicycle style ski helmet ( this is the high density styrofoam with a thin thermo-plastic shell over it ) do NOT paint it. The outer shell is ussually just taped on and the foam will definitely deteriorate either immediately or over time depending on the paint. Most helmets of this type are not taped at the vents and other openings so overspray is a given. Some helmets of this type have been molded to the foam by heat and pressure, this type helmet is baisically the same bike helmet construction, just a bit higher quality but the other worry with this type of helmet is the outer layer is not painted it is melt pigmented. If you apply a solvent base paint to this type plastic it will eventually dissolve the foam or weaken it at a minimum, due to a chemical property called plasticiser migration.

The other two types of helmets made for Skiing are ABS plastic (Brands live Uvex and POC use this). This is a MUCH better helmet.
Again they are colored through a process called melt pigmenting (more or less mixing the color into the plastic while liquid). There is a new paint on the market made just for plastic. If any paint is going to stick and not attack the ABS it would be this. I think Krylon is marketing it. While I doubt you will compromise the integrity by using a plasic type paint there are other pitfalls to painting out of a can. The biggest problem is they use more solvent in paint cans to thin the paint so it won't foul the nozzle. Because the paint is thin it tends to run if you get good coverage, if the coats are too light it will come out rough. You will also need to sand it with 800 grit sandpaper
then use "tack cloth" to clean it before painting. You will need a "clean room" , a cheap wayto do this is use newspaper to cover the walls or partition an area with newspaper, this will keep the dust out.
Don't use enamel (oil or acrylic) or nitro cellulose laquer, both are solvent based and will attack the ABS plastic. ABS plastic is the plastic used on ski sidewalls (except capped skis)

The last type of ski helmet is the older style UVEX. I am sure other companies made them. Back then helmets were used only in downhill. In 1977 they stopped requiring helmets for GS and with only racers wearing helmets then, there were few companies willing to make them. If you can find one of these it is fiberglass and strong.
They are lined like a motorcycle helmet and were lighter than a motorcycle helmet. These helmets you CAN paint with nitro cellulose laquer (these are the best paints in many respects , like candy apple, pearl, tinted clears,flip flop 2 color paint metal-flake etc.,but also the most difficult to apply), enamel, epoxy, anything you can paint a boat or car with. If you really want a custom helmet I would find a motorcycle shop and I am sure they can tell you who paints gas tanks and such.

If you just want to update your helmet I really think I would just get a new ABS helmet and see if you can find stickers. Painting any but the fiberglass helmets have too many safety concerns and the outcome is unpredictable at best. Or if you want to express yourself get an old UVEX helmet (they have a removeable face guard) and find a pro car painter to airbrush any design you want.

hope this helps
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Awesome information, thank you. My helmet is not the modified bike type it is a hard shell that looks like a lightweight motorcycle helmet. I think it is the second type you mentioned as it is fairly new. It is just the dullest shade of green!

I will look into the Krylon paint - we have a spray booth at work so I can do the multiple light layers with sanding between without worrying about contamination of the paint.

Thank you again for the information. :clap:

Janet
I would forget the Krylon and use acrylic paint like Bumpfreaq did on his, use some sponge art technique and play with it a bit, maybe even let some of the dull green come through the design, and use some rubber stamps with cool stuff.
 

Eirika

Certified Ski Diva
#15
I would forget the Krylon and use acrylic paint like Bumpfreaq did on his, use some sponge art technique and play with it a bit, maybe even let some of the dull green come through the design, and use some rubber stamps with cool stuff.
I may even be able to mix the techniques with a base colour sprayed on and decorative work done by hand...hmm.

This forum rocks and I am very inspired now! I was give old ski poles by my boss (we have an abandoned equipment nook in the tech area of our theatre) that I am now thinking of stripping the chipped paint off of and repainting to match my spanky new-to-me Volkl skis!

:dance:
 

Eirika

Certified Ski Diva
#18
Hello again Tamlyn,
I just identified the helmet as a Protec B2 snow helmet which is ABS plastic so I am going to try and find the Krylon plastic spray paint for the base layer (going from matt army green to black) and then maybe an acrylic to do graphics. If all else fails I'll fall back on stickers. It is a good helmet and an awesome fit so I would like to fix it up colourwise!

So thanks again for the advice.

Janet
If you have the bicycle style ski helmet ( this is the high density styrofoam with a thin thermo-plastic shell over it ) do NOT paint it. The outer shell is ussually just taped on and the foam will definitely deteriorate either immediately or over time depending on the paint. Most helmets of this type are not taped at the vents and other openings so overspray is a given. Some helmets of this type have been molded to the foam by heat and pressure, this type helmet is baisically the same bike helmet construction, just a bit higher quality but the other worry with this type of helmet is the outer layer is not painted it is melt pigmented. If you apply a solvent base paint to this type plastic it will eventually dissolve the foam or weaken it at a minimum, due to a chemical property called plasticiser migration.

The other two types of helmets made for Skiing are ABS plastic (Brands live Uvex and POC use this). This is a MUCH better helmet.
Again they are colored through a process called melt pigmenting (more or less mixing the color into the plastic while liquid). There is a new paint on the market made just for plastic. If any paint is going to stick and not attack the ABS it would be this. I think Krylon is marketing it. While I doubt you will compromise the integrity by using a plasic type paint there are other pitfalls to painting out of a can. The biggest problem is they use more solvent in paint cans to thin the paint so it won't foul the nozzle. Because the paint is thin it tends to run if you get good coverage, if the coats are too light it will come out rough. You will also need to sand it with 800 grit sandpaper
then use "tack cloth" to clean it before painting. You will need a "clean room" , a cheap wayto do this is use newspaper to cover the walls or partition an area with newspaper, this will keep the dust out.
Don't use enamel (oil or acrylic) or nitro cellulose laquer, both are solvent based and will attack the ABS plastic. ABS plastic is the plastic used on ski sidewalls (except capped skis)

The last type of ski helmet is the older style UVEX. I am sure other companies made them. Back then helmets were used only in downhill. In 1977 they stopped requiring helmets for GS and with only racers wearing helmets then, there were few companies willing to make them. If you can find one of these it is fiberglass and strong.
They are lined like a motorcycle helmet and were lighter than a motorcycle helmet. These helmets you CAN paint with nitro cellulose laquer (these are the best paints in many respects , like candy apple, pearl, tinted clears,flip flop 2 color paint metal-flake etc.,but also the most difficult to apply), enamel, epoxy, anything you can paint a boat or car with. If you really want a custom helmet I would find a motorcycle shop and I am sure they can tell you who paints gas tanks and such.

If you just want to update your helmet I really think I would just get a new ABS helmet and see if you can find stickers. Painting any but the fiberglass helmets have too many safety concerns and the outcome is unpredictable at best. Or if you want to express yourself get an old UVEX helmet (they have a removeable face guard) and find a pro car painter to airbrush any design you want.

hope this helps
 

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