How to Customize a Helmet, Step by Step, the Right Way

Evan Rally
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Are you one of those people who feels like wearing a helmet makes you look dumb?

Think about it this way: Not wearing a helmet means you don’t have enough common sense to protect your head from asphalt.

That looks pretty dumb to me!

Oof.

Now that I’ve roasted you – you can turn that helmet look from bucket head to badass by simply customizing your motorcycle helmet.

You’ll actually WANT to wear a helmet when you look like Venom on your GSX-R, Darth Vader on your Road King, or Boba Fett on your Scrambler. But how to customize helmet?

This could be your reality.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to make a custom motorcycle helmet that will turn heads. You can paint or decal your own show-stopping custom motorcycle helmet in a weekend with as little as $20. Or, you can trust one of the pro customizing businesses down below to deliver you a striking one-of-a-kind lid. Whether you buy a new helmet or use an old one, these tricks will serve you well.

Let’s get into it.

Customize Helmet on a Budget: Paint and Decals

Let’s say you already spent more than you should on that Ducati Monster in the garage. And you dropped a lot of change on a Sena helmet.

You have about $50 left to turn that boring white helmet into something worth looking at, your own fine custom motorcycle helmet.

Instant win.

What do you do? 

This is where paints, decals and stickers come in. 

Tip: Do not try to customize the size of a motorcycle helmet. You can easily ruin its safety features. Get the right fit the first time with our Helmet Size Calculator and Fit Guide.

How to Customize Your Motorcycle Helmet with Decals and Stickers

Stickers and decals are easier than paint, so let’s start there. 

You can pick up packs of stickers at Etsy or Amazon. Just look for any topic you’re interested in. 

Pick stickers made for outdoor use. Generally, these will be waterproof and fade less from the sun. Plastic or vinyl are better than paper-based – they’ll stretch to fit the contours of your soon-to-be custom motorcycle helmet. 

For a cool camo look, pick up a kit from Camokitz. This YouTube video walks through a simple process to create an epic unique lid using their kits. 

Steps to Decaling a Helmet

  1. Make a plan – what stickers will go where? Which ones will overlap others? 
  2. Remove the helmet’s visor to avoid smudging it or slapping a sticker on it by accident.
  3. Clean the entire helmet with alcohol and a rag, and let it dry.
  4. Apply stickers according to your plan. Use your driver’s license to smooth out air bubbles as you lay down each sticker. 
  5. Pop the visor back in and hit the road!

Dangers with Decaling your Helmet

Stickers might change the way your head slides against pavement during a crash. So use your own common sense here.

If you’re hitting the track, maybe don’t cover your custom motorcycle helmet in rough decals? 

That’s it for stickers and decals – on to paint. 

How to Customize Your Motorcycle Helmet with Paint

Not an artist? Don’t fret. You too can paint a well-finished custom motorcycle helmet without a lick of artistic ability. Here’s how:

Truer words have never been said.

First, make a plan. Once you lay paint down it’s 100x harder to fix mistakes. Figure out what design you want and how you’ll achieve it on your lid. If this is sounding too involved, don’t worry: next I’ll explain how you can hire a pro to paint your helmet.

Steps to Painting a Motorcycle Helmet

Second, pick up your materials:

  • Paints (spray paint or traditional paint that will bond to your helmet’s shell)
  • Sandpaper or Sanding Block (400 grit is good)
  • Clear Coat spray paint
  • Stand to keep your helmet stable
  • Newspaper or sheet for your work area
  • Painters masking tape
  • Rags and alcohol cleaner

Third, get painting: 

  1. Remove the visor and any peaks on your helmet.
  2. Wipe down the whole helmet.
  3. Test your paints on a small area – make sure they won’t rub off with a fingernail. Glossy helmets usually need sanding. Some matte helmets hold paint well. You can skip the next step if yours does. 
  4. Sand all the surfaces of your helmet that you’ll paint.
  5. Clean off the helmet thoroughly with a rag and alcohol – to remove all the dust. 
  6. Mask off key areas with your tape and plastic or newspaper: vents, rubber seals, neck opening, visor area, and any safety stickers (like the DOT certified sticker).
  7. Paint according to your plan.
  8. Clear coat three to four times to protect your design.

Take off all the tape bits and refit your visor. You’re ready to show off your glorious custom paint.

Raver meets motorcyclist. (Image Source)

Sharpies also work over a plain color base. Check out this YouTuber’s awesome custom motorcycle helmet art with just one black Sharpie. 

Dangers with Painting a Motorcycle Helmet

Time for your sensible side (or wife) to tell you the hard truths.

No helmet manufacturer is ever going to say you should paint your helmet. You might even void your helmet’s warranty

When sanding a helmet, apply even pressure and don’t sand any more than you need to. That material is there to protect your head. Don’t sand half that protection off!

Avoid paints that might damage the shell of your helmet. Many cheaper helmets are polycarbonate (plastic) with higher-end ones using materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber / aramid.

How much does it cost to customize a motorcycle helmet yourself?

Covering a custom motorcycle helmet with stickers, decals, and paint costs anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the process and materials you choose. 

Most of the ‘cost’ comes in time. A very detailed design on a custom motorcycle helmet like this octopus or unique fire look has to be done in multiple layers with many tools.

Pro Motorcycle Helmet Customizers (and Deals!)

Decals and painting might be cheap, but they take time and effort. And they’re easy to screw up. 

Trusting the pros to make you a custom motorcycle helmet that’s unique AND flawless is worth every penny. 

Here are several of the best customizers for motorcycle helmets:

Company NameWhat They Do
HelmadeDesign your own custom motorcycle helmet on their site, using any of the helmets they work on as a base (from brands like Arai, Airoh, and Bell). They support tons of colors and effects, and some simple graphics. They make a classic open face helmet as well.
VeldtPick your color scheme and apply it to Veldt’s custom modular helmet – suitable for any riding style. Similar to Helmade, they support many colors and effects, but few graphics. However, they do sell some beautiful patterns created by artists. 
AirgraffixPick one of their airbrushed designs, from Spiderman or Venom to Boba Fett or a Stormtrooper. Send in your existing helmet or pick up a new helmet through them from HJC, Arai and others. 
CC Custom GraphicsEach custom motorcycle helmet is COMPLETELY UNIQUE when you order from CC Custom Graphics. Talk through your design with them and get exactly what you want. Based in the USA. 
Blaze ArtworksPick one of their present designs, like an imposing grin or skull reaper, or commission your own custom design. Award-winning airbrush artist Pavel Vlasov paints each piece by hand in the UK.
Axcel Fast GraphicsAxcel makes completely custom motocross helmet designs to your specs. Check out some of their work here
HP GraphicsHP Graphics wraps helmets in vinyl. Pick from one of their wraps here or commission your own completely custom design. Vinyl gives you a unique look without altering your helmet at all. If you stop liking the design, just peel it off.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do vinyl wraps last?

Vinyl wraps usually last 5 to 7 years. Lifetime can vary depending on material quality and how much sun you expose the wrap to. Wraps will eventually fade, but materials are so good now they don’t fade much faster than real paint. 

If you’re interested in wrapping your helmet, check out our full guide to wrapping a motorcycle helmet.

Do vinyl wraps damage the paint underneath?

Vinyl wraps will not damage the paint underneath. They are designed to be peeled off. With a vinyl wrap you can change your style whenever you’re ready!

How much does it cost to professionally paint a motorcycle helmet?

Customizing a motorcycle helmet through a professional painter or designer isn’t cheap. A simple Helmade ONE open face costs $250 just for the paintwork. A fully custom helmet design with iridescent paint from CC Custom Graphics can cost well over $500, not including a new helmet.

However, the work of these artists speaks for itself. You will turn heads.

Better on the helmet than your head. Source

The Easy Way: Epic Graphic Helmets

To paint or sticker a custom helmet by yourself is cheap, but time consuming. 

Custom painters do wicked work, but they can easily double the price of your custom motorcycle helmet. 

Want amazing helmet art without the price tag?

Pick up a graphic helmet from Icon, HJC or another reputable helmet manufacturer. We’ve also put together round ups of great Halo Master Chief helmets, Star Wars helmets, and 46 more cool helmets. If none of those look good, search for Graphic Helmets on Amazon or Revzilla with the links below and shop to your heart’s content. 

You can find all styles from full face to open face, half helmet, and even some unique modulars.

Tip: Avoid buying helmets on eBay or Etsy unless you know what base helmet they used. Say you drop $500 on an epic Predator helmet. Open the box, and it’s a cheap knockoff that cracks from a two foot drop. No fun.

Adding Accessories: Tail Lights and More

You’re finished painting, but your custom motorcycle helmet still won’t turn heads. What more can you do? 

Try adding gear and accessories like lights, glow in the dark tape, horns, cat ears and more. 

Light ’em up. (Image Source)

You could even add a tail light for improved visibility. Grab this model that intelligently flashes when it senses you slowing down!

Safety Tip: Make sure your accessories don’t create snag points on your custom helmet. Sticky materials will cause extra force on your neck in a crash. Big protruding objects that don’t immediately snap off in a crash will do the same.

FAQs

Is customizing motorcycle helmets safe?

Customizing motorcycle helmets is generally safe. Avoid creating snap points or sticky surfaces with your customizations. If you’re wearing a custom motorcycle helmet on a track or other very high speed scenarios, be even more careful. 

Generally, customizing a motorcycle helmet is legal. However, the rules may vary based on your jurisdiction. Blocking your vision may be illegal in some states or countries (as well as stupid everywhere). 

Also, you should avoid painting over any safety certification stickers like a DOT or ECE certification. In many countries these certifications are mandatory, so you may run in to trouble if you cannot prove your custom motorcycle helmet is certified.

Is it OK to paint a motorcycle helmet? 

Yes, it is generally okay to paint a motorcycle helmet. Use a paint that won’t damage the strength of the helmet’s shell. Be careful to not obstruct your vision. And paint something worth looking at!

How much does it cost to customize a helmet?

Customizing a helmet costs anywhere from $20 to $1,000+ depending on materials and labor costs. A simple paint job at home will run you $20 to $100. A complex custom design with a talented artist like Blaze Artworks can easily cost over $500. And that’s not including the cost of the helmet! 

What paint can I use on a motorcycle helmet? 

You can use any paint on a motorcycle helmet that doesn’t damage the shell’s material underneath. Any water-based acrylic paint should be fine. Be sure to spray many layers of waterproof clear coat on top to seal in your design from the elements. 

Can you put stickers or a wrap on a motorcycle helmet? 

Yes, you can put stickers or a vinyl wrap on a motorcycle helmet. Neither will damage the helmet or hamper your safety according to Helmets.org. Some companies will even wrap a helmet for you, ensuring flawless application.

Comments

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  • Stuart

    10 months ago

    I want to turn a military helmet into a crash helmet. Can this be done

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