Can You Paint Carbon Fiber? Myths About Carbon Fiber Painting

Suppose you have a Specialized Venge Comp or Scott CR1 Team and you want to paint the carbon fiber parts of these carbon fiber road bikes. Before starting the painting job, the first question may come to your mind, Can I paint carbon fiber parts of my vehicle by myself? 

Yes, it is possible to paint over carbon fiber. The design of carbon fiber enables it to absorb paint fast and consequently dries quickly. However, you should do the painting evenly to prevent the carbon fiber patterns from being identified.

For every paint job you may come across, there are different challenges you may encounter. Do not worry, as this article will dive into the necessities of the painting. Keep on reading to find out the ins and outs related to carbon fiber painting. 

Can You Paint Carbon Fiber

What Paint Can You Use on Carbon fiber?

The fast absorption rate of the carbon fiber and its woven material may fail to complement it as intended. Therefore, to avoid dull-colored carbon fiber, it is necessary to use the correct paint.

Epoxy-based paint will provide a top-class finish over your carbon fiber, making it stand out. Besides this, its flexible nature allows the carbon fiber to absorb the paint highly. 

Additionally, this paint doesn’t cause damage to the fiber. You can use other paints, but they must reach the standards. 

Spray paint is a great option for painting over carbon fiber.

Can I Paint Carbon fiber? Easy 8 Steps to follow 

Yes, you can paint carbon fiber if you have necessary painting tools and you know the proper instructions. Painting carbon fiber is similar to fiberglass painting. 

Before painting, you need to ensure that you arrange the necessary additives for mixing with the paint you choose for carbon fiber. Choosing the right paint is one of the key points to do the job successfully. 

Once you have all these things then it means that you are well-prepared, and you can start the painting procedures. Let’s know how you paint carbon-fiber. 

Painting Carbon fiber: Step-By-Step procedures

A roller and a brush are highly recommended during carbon-fiber painting as the streaks will be little or none. In case you choose to use an airbrush, the paint you will apply needs to be well diluted.

The following are the  requirements for the painting: 

  • Long sleeves
  • Painter’s tape and mask
  • Gloves

Step 1: Clean the surface you want to paint

Initially, clean the surface you want to paint using mild soap and water. Allow the surface you have cleaned to dry.

Apply metal polish on the cleaned surface to make it shine, thus allowing the paint to stick to the surface better.

Step 2: Choose an open space and cover the unwanted areas 

Now select an open space for painting and cover the parts that you don’t want to paint. Covering the surface using tapes or stickers is advisable to allow the paint to stand out and avoid damage. 

Step 3: Apply Primer

For the paint on your carbon fiber to last long, it is advisable to apply primer. The primer will ensure better spreading and attachment onto the surface. 

You can use HM-180 Carbon Fiber Primer (Source: )  due to its low viscosity and strong penetration capacity. However, if you are using spray paint an airbrush is more effective.

Step 4. Paint With a Light Shade First

Use a light shade paint first on the carbon fiber to know if the paint is enough or if more is required. Once you’ve painted, allow the paint to dry.

The base color will define how the carbon fiber will appear so a correct choice needs to be made to make it nice. Darker shades will make it distinctive.

Note: I recommend you to choose acrylic enamel paint to get a durable and smooth finish. Nippon Paint Multipurpose Spray Paint could be best for both cars and bikes. 

Step 5. Use a Dark Shade After Base Paint Completion

After finishing painting the base, use darker shades for a distinctive appearance. This part is complex, but for a better and nice appearance, use an airbrush. 

Step 6. Polishing the Surface

Polish the surface of the carbon fiber using a rotary device, ensuring that the paint won’t peel off easily. The polishing needs to be done after applying the first coats.

Step 7. Use Clear Coat After Carbon fiber Painting Is Done

After the painting is complete, allow the paint to dry for about 24 hours, and then apply a clear sealant coat for protection. The sealant you use should make the paint look smooth and matte.

Step 8.  Proper Waste Disposal

Various wastes have different toxic substances, while others are explosive. It is necessary to dispose of the waste properly to avoid such hazardous risks. The waste disposal should be as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Challenges to Overcome When Painting Carbon fiber

For every type of work you may do, there are challenges you will encounter. Similarly, the painting of carbon fiber is no different as it has its challenges. These challenges include:

  • Preparation: If the carbon fiber surface is not well prepared, the painting won’t turn out as expected.
  • The time needed: Painting takes up a lot of time and requires patience.
  • Learning Curve: An expert will use less time compared to a beginner
  • Paint Application: If you apply many coats on the carbon fiber, it will become dark and not transparent, damaging the carbon fiber.

Ways to remove Paint Coats on Your Carbon Fiber:

Are you wondering how to remove paint coats that fell on your carbon fiber by mistake? If yes, worry less. You can remove the paint on your carbon fiber using sandpaper. 

However, you should take caution not to damage the paint. Before using the sandpaper, apply metal polish to prevent carbon fiber damage.

To remove a new coat of paint on your carbon fiber, use pumice stones as they are hard and won’t destroy the material.

Ways to Protect the Paint Coat From Fading over Carbon fiber

Ensuring that your carbon fiber is protected against the sun’s rays is essential. This is because the sun’s rays cause damage to the paint. So to avoid this, you need to use UV-resistant lacquer paint to avoid fading.

Restoration of Faded Carbon fiber

To restore faded carbon fiber, you need to begin with a hot soapy cleaning and rinsing. This should be followed by cleaning using either SX 103 MULTI-PREP cleaner or SWX350 H20-SO CLEAN cleaner. Then afterward you can repaint using epoxy-based paints.


Is Primer Necessary Before Carbon Fiber Painting?

Yes, primer is necessary before painting. High-quality adhesive and oil-free primer are highly recommended for the best results. Always ensure sanding of primer between coats.

Can You Paint a Carbon Fiber Bike Frame?

Yes, you can paint a carbon fiber bike frame. If you are painting over raw carbon fiber, then you may use a carbon primer. 

If the bike still has factory paint, the primer isn’t necessary, and painting can take place. In case the bike has some metal exposed, then priming the whole frame is required.

Can You Paint a Carbon Fiber Car?

Yes, you can paint a carbon fiber car. Since carbon fiber is now commonly used by many car lovers, painting is possible. 

It is advisable that an expert rather than an individual does the painting of a carbon fiber car. This is to ensure maximum style and an amazing look.

Can you Paint a Carbon Fiber Hood?

Painting a carbon fiber hood is possible if you want to. The process of painting is lengthy and complicated, but it’s a wonderful experience. However, if you feel that you can’t be able to manage it, you may take it to an expert.

How Much Cost To Paint Carbon Fiber?

The cost of painting depends on the depth of your pocket. The painting process is time-consuming and hard work then prices are bound to be high.

Suppose, you can paint full carbon fiber Bike frames from 675-2000 dollars and forks from 200-375 dollars.

Final Thoughts: Is it hard to paint over carbon fiber? 

Painting carbon fiber has never been easier; it is simple and fun. Despite being lengthy and complicated at times, it’s not impossible. 
If you have the zeal to do it, then go for it, as it is not impossible. Try it out and enjoy the painting process on your carbon fiber.