Can You Paint Bike Tires? – Expert Biker

Can you paint bike tires? Yes, you can.

In fact, if the paint in your tire is fading away or you want to upcycle your old tire, a fresh coat of paint is just the way to go. Painting bike tires is a great way to rejuvenate the look of any bike. Fortunately, you need not seek the help of a professional to do the needful. You can make painting a tire your DIY project.

With the right tools and a little time at hand, you can turn an old bike tire look fresh and new!

What Kind of Paint to Use for Bike Tires?

Only certain types of paint are compatible with your bike tires because rubber makes it difficult to find a suitor that will adhere to it and not damage it in the process. Before you choose paint for your tires, you need to decide if you will use it indoors or outdoors.

Bike Tires That Will Be Used Indoors

If you are upcycling your old tires and using them indoors for decoration, then acrylic paint is the way to go. Indoor items will not go through much wear and tear hence acrylic paint.

An essential piece of advice! If you want your paint to be long-lasting and not see it chip or fade away, you should splurge and buy good quality acrylic paint.

Bike Tires That Will Be Used Outdoors

If you are using your bike tires outdoors, the paint’s durability is your primary concern as you do not want the paint to chip away as you enjoy your ride.

For that, you can use commercial-grade marine paint. This paint is used on swimming pools and boats, which is a testament to its durability. Commercial-grade marine paint can resist cracking, chipping, and fading. Apart from commercial-grade paint, you can also use spray paint.

How to Paint Bike Tires?

Painting a tire is 70% prepping and 30% painting. There is a lot to be done before paint touches the tires, like deciding on a design, color, etc., so before you want to start painting, make sure you have a plan. Once you have a plan in mind, the next step is to execute it. These easy-to-follow steps will help you in doing just that. 

Step 1: Assemble Your Workspace and Tools

Make sure you have a toolbox, paint can (spray paint, acrylic, commercial-grade marine paint), primer can, metal rods, masking tape, scissors, and scotch tape.

Take your bike to a garage or in an enclosed area away from direct sunlight. Place plastic on the ground and secure it with scotch tape to avoid getting paint anywhere.

Step 2: Remove the Tire from the Wheels

Wash the tires to remove any dirt and dry it with a cloth. After that, unscrew the nut or metal lever that holds the wheels of a bike. Then deflate the tire by opening the air cap to remove all the air.

Press into the valve with your index finger and middle finger to clear the air completely. Then you can easily remove the tire from the wheels.

Step 3: Remove the Rim from the Tire

Pry out the inner tube or rim of the bike using two rods and pulling it in an outward motion. Carefully remove the tube, set it aside in a safe place, and do not bring it out before you are done painting your tire.

You must be very mindful when handling the metal rim as it is prone to scratches. The last thing you want is scratches marking your beautiful bike!

Step 4: Cover the Tires with Masking Tape

Using masking tape, cover the tire treads that will ensure that no paint dabbles in unwanted territories. You have to mask the tire treads with masking tape because if the paint is coated in that area, it will lose its traction. Ensure that when painting, you just paint the sidewalls of the tire.

Step 5: Paint Your Tire

Paint the side walls with primer paint or exterior paint. Apply a double coating of primer if you want a shiny finish. Exterior paint enables the paint to stick better and promises greater longevity. Exterior paint can be found in spray, roll, or brush form.

If you are using spray paint, make sure you hold the spray paint six inches from the bike. Usually, a single coat of spray paint gets the job done. For acrylic paint, use two coats of paint.

For best results, you should apply at least two coats of acrylic paints to your bike tire. Before using the second coating of color, you should let the first coating dry completely. On the other hand, a single coat of commercial-grade marine paint will suffice for a tire.

After you are satisfied with the paint, seal it with a paint sealer.

Step 6: Let It Dry

After you have completed the painting, leave the paint to dry. When the paint is dried for 24 hours, you can add designs using a paint stick or paint pen. Let that design dry for another twenty-four hours.

Step 7: Reassemble the Tire

Fit the tire back into the inner tube. By using an air compressor, inflate the tires and place the tire back onto the bike. Ta-da! Your bike will be as good as new with that fresh coat of paint.


A simple coat of paint can quickly spruce up the look of any worn-out tire. It gives a customized feel that is unique to your taste. To paint a tire can be time-consuming but extremely fulfilling.

If you have the time and will to commit to this project, then all you have to do is gather the tools and follow through with the steps. So why wait when you have all the knowledge to paint a tire? Paint away!

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