If the cost for a complete paint job and airbrush work is out of the question, and a graphics kit just isn't what you are looking for, then there is always the option of pulling the plastics off and hitting them with a fresh coat of aerosol spray-paint color. This option is affordable and the results can be top-notch.
If your motorcycle's bodywork is already dull from the sun or rashed from a previous tip-over, what do you have to lose? To increase the wow factor of your aerosol spray-paint can experience, we have some points that will help you spray like a professional.
The spray-paint can instructions clearly say to shake, but you'd be surprised to know how many overlook this very basic step. Most aerosol spray-paint cans do not have a shelf life and settling of the contents may have occurred, especially with primers. Make sure you can hear the rattle clearly and shake the paint-can very well. Unfortunately you cannot buy quality surface preparation in a aerosol spray can. Cleaning and sanding the surface is what makes or breaks the finish and the level of adhesion. Study up a little on automotive paint preparation and abrasives for reference.
Not all aerosol spray-paint cans are equal. Use a quality product and look for spray-paint cans with good quality nozzle, that produces a fan pattern. Also, be sure to select the correct type of undercoat and paint. For example, high-temperature coatings for exhaust, epoxy for frame parts and brackets, a lacquer, enamel or urethane for you color coats and a rust encapsulator for corroded metals.
Some aerosol spray-paint cans will have a mark somewhere around the lip of the can. If you see it on your can of paint, twist you nozzle to aim the spray at the mark. When the contents run low, the pick-up tube will be positioned inside the can at an optimal point to reduce sputtering.
Ambient temperature has a direct effect on how you spray paint, even with a aerosol spray-paint can. Avoid painting in high humidity or cold damp weather conditions, as the relatively fast-drying characteristic of aerosol will trap moisture in the finish. In Thailand you best spray-paint your motorcycle in the cold season when the air humidity is at its lowest, or spray-paint in a room with air-condition.
Moisture trapped in the finished paint is called 'blushing' and is evident by a milky haze in the finish. A common mistake when blushing occurs is to try to cover it with more paint, which makes the situation worse.
Chemical incompatibility is a common problem that arises when spraying over existing paints or unknown coatings. Typically what happens when you paint over the wrong type of coating is called 'lifting,' which appears as if the fresh coat of paint is wrinkled. The best way to avoid lifting is to make sure your undercoat and topcoats are compatible, or completely remove existing coatings and start fresh with matching products.
When you've completed your painting but before capping the aerosol can, turn it upside down and spray until the fluid clears the pick-up tube. The short burst of straight air will clear the nozzle for the next paint job.