Paint Tips


Sure, we’ll paint your bike. But, it is your bike, and we like to see what you come up with. So grab a few cans of Spray.Bike and, as we like to say - DIYFS. Here are a few guidelines to help you through the process of painting your Squid. 

All of our aluminum frames are sold raw and the first step is cleaning and masking your frame. Our SO-EZ and Gravtron steel framesets comes with a protective ED coating that requires a light sanding before cleaning and masking. 


  • Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol (do not use acetone)
  • Lint Free Towels (old, clean cotton t-shirt works fine too)
  • Painters or Masking tape - We use 3M Auto-Refinish Masking Tape 388N 
  • Provided vinyl paint masking (*aluminum frames only)
  • 400 grit sandpaper and cup with water (*SO-EZ and steel frames only)
  • Exacto Knife
  • Q-Tips 
  • Squid Logo masking
  • Respirator Mask, Gloves, Safety Glasses
  • Bike stand and wooden dowel that fits inside the headtube or other supplies necessary to suspend the frame while painting
  • Drop cloth or similar to protect area from overspray

STEEL FRAME PREP - wet sand your SO-EZ / GRAVTRON frame and fork with 400 grit sandpaper taking care to get the tricky bits where the tubes come together. Do not sand through the black protective ED coating. When you are finished, your frame should look dull black in color and all scratched up. Once your steel frame is sanded the rest of the prep and paint process is the same as the aluminum frames. You do not need to use a primer. 

CARBON FORK PREP - Lightly wet sanding your carbon fork with 800 grit sandpaper. The goal is to rough up the clear / top coat without exposing the raw carbon. Find a way to suspend the fork while you are paint. A small dowel that fits inside the steer tube works well as does FIRMLY taping some sort of wire hook and something to suspend the fork from.

Clean the fork with rubbing alcohol, mask the dropouts and apply a thin, even coat of Spray.Bike Carbon Primer. One coat is sufficient.

CLEANING - clean your frame and fork well with rubbing alcohol using a lint free cloth. 


  • Aluminum Frames - using the provided masking to mask off all the areas you don’t want painted. 
    • Top and bottom of the headtube
    • Bottom Bracket shell
    • Inside of the seat tube
    • Dropouts
    • Disc Brake Mounts
    • Use QTips to fill the bottle cage bosses
  • Steel Frames - use masking tape to mask off all the areas you don’t want painted. 
    • Inside the bottom bracket shell to protect the threads
    • Inside of the seat tube
    • Use QTips to fill the bottle cage bosses
    • Use masking tape to tape around the steer tube of the fork to protect it from over spray.

PAINTING: - You will want to make sure you have a well ventilated area to paint in. Painting outside works great. Prep your work space and find a way to suspend your frame while you paint. A dowel clamped in a work stand works great, as does some string through the head tube suspended via garage rafters or a tree branch. Get creative if necessary. 

It is important to keep in mind that Spray.Bike color paints are more a powder than a wet paint, and should be applied differently than you would regular hardware store paint. We recommend you read through the FAQ, How To sections as well as watch the paint techniques videos for some visuals of how best to apply the paint before you start. 


  • Shake the can for 3 full minutes 
  • It may spray gunk out first - that’s okay
  • Fluro colors: spray surface from a distance of 2-3 inches 
  • Solid colors: spray surface from a distance of 2-4 inches 
  • Pocket Clears, Frame Builder’s Smoothing Putty, Frame Builder’s Transparent Finish, Frame Builder’s Cold-Zinc, Frame Builder’s Metal Primer, Frame Builder’s Carbon Primer, Frame Builder's Metal Plating (Gold, Copper, Silver): spray surface from a distance of at least 8 inches
  • Keirin Flake and Keirin Sunlight: spray surface from a distance of at least 12 inches
  • Frame Builder’s Top Wax: Spray onto a paper towel or soft lint-free cloth and apply gently
  • Temperature range 55-70°F / Humidity <70%
  • Practice by painting something else first
  • You do not need to use the entire can of paint - one coat is sufficient, more paint is NOT better
  • Always spray out first to get a nice flow 
  • If it gets "spitty" shake the can for a few seconds and spray out to get a nice flow going 
  • Periodically remove and clean nozzle 
  • Keep the can upright while spraying 
  • When you’re finished, flip the can upside down and spray until the paint stops coming out 


  • Be patient. Ample dry time will yield the best results. Allow a minimum of 30 min of dry time before touching the frame and at least 48 hours to cure before building the back back up. Paint will peel off with making if paint has not cured prior to application
  • Practicing with the paint and your design on something other than the frame will yield a better result compared to diving right in. A practice run through helps work out any kinks and almost always produces a better end result. 
  • As we like to say: “It’s not F’ed until you can’t fix it.” Check out the troubleshooting section of the Spray.Bike website and feel free to email with questions. 
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