DIY Spray paint - a warning and tank painting tips

Hi all,

I’m rebuilding a Mille GT (well, it started as that), and last summer I spray painted the tank (red again).

First, what I did…

Prep - I removed the fuel cap lid (was easy) and the fuel taps (also easy).

I tried paint stripper to remove the (pitted) old paint - but in the end had to resort to a wire brush. Luckily, the tank’s in pretty good contition. So, at this stage I had a nice, bare steel tank.

Then, I used a filler undercoat (fairly strightforward) and used a very fine wet or dry abrasive to flatten it out. Went straight through to the metal to start with, but eventually, it looked OK. I did the spraying outdoors, on still mornings, but I did note that if there’s the slightest breeze, you get no coverage. But, so far, so good!

Then, I decided that I needed to do the colour coat in the garage. I went through two cans of red paint and was pretty pleased with the results.


I got vinyl badges from “Isaydingdong”, which were brilliant. Not the easiest thing to apply, but they have an excellent product (just look on the web).


… about 8 months later, I’m (well, my wife and I!) still suffering from the spray resudue - it gets absolutely everywhere! It’s easy enough to wipe off with meths, but it does get everywhere. I think it forms dust, which settles on everything. It gets walked everyhere, but more importantly, it doesn’t confine itself to where it was formed. Our garage is attached to the house, so it’s come through the door from the garage. There are pink stains everywhere - and it seems to be attracted particularly to plastic surfaces. So, beware - if you do want to do DIY spray painting (you can get a decent finish) - make sure that you think about where the spray will settle (and it’s not only immediately it’s sprayed).

Some other things, while I’m here…

Leave the filler neck on the tank bare - no primer, and no colour coat. If you subsequently have a fuel spill, it’ll seep through the slightly porous filler and get under the paint. If you finish with a 2-part lacquer (which I think are fuel-proof) and you extend this over the unpainted area, it’ll effectively seal the edge.

If the finish isn’t as good as you like, you can build up coats of lacquer and use a rubbing compound to improve the finish. (the abrasive action is enought to get rid of any orange peel effect).

I think that’s it. I wish I’d known about the nuisance from the painting aftermath!



I used to build a wooden frame , then cover it with polythene, and fit an extractor fan via some pipework ( low voltage for safety) a set of paper filters, then into a small bath of water
but I used to use my cellar as a workshop so had to be careful of explosion risk and poison from the fumes
these days I go to a paint shop and pay them !


Had the same issue after repairing my son-in-law,s bandit seat/tail unit. I normally use a very large cardboard box and my £20 dyson as extraction but the seat unit was too big, then had a flash if inspiration :wink: and bought a folding spray tan booth, dyson hose in flap at base and away you go, catches all the overspray and folds up like a tent :+1:


What a great idea! I’m going to get one.


Try looking at pop up tents or beach tents

Thanks very much! Turns out you can get cheap purpose-made spray tents, so I’ll look at those for my next project.

I do appreciate the advice - wouldn’t have thought of this without you all.