Wednesday, May 15, 2013

diy: fuuvi inspired bike bell

I'm a bike person again! In my youth, I think I spent 50% of my time on a bike. I don't know what happened -- actually, no. Scratch that. I do know what happened. Bikes turned into vehicles (which still makes me all sorts of angry) and suddenly, you couldn't bike here; you couldn't bike there; you should have a helmet; you need to be on the road with cars. And sorry, but I don't trust cars cuz guess who wins in bike vs car?

Okay. My mini-rant is over. Now we live right next to actual approved bike paths! Paths that (barely) come into contact with cars. So when I spotted some bikes this winter at a closing-out sale for dirt cheap, I instantly scooped them up.

I still try to stick to the rules in Edmonton, but the one thing I didn't get with the bikes (aside from cheap helmets, locks, and seat pads) were bells. It's the one thing we're supposed to have and the one thing I actually agree with having. I know how it feels to have bikes sneak up on you when you're walking, and it sucks.

Then I spotted these super cute painted bike bells from Fuuvi a couple weeks ago and figured I could do something similar myself. And when I saw that "boring" bike bells were only $6 and the Fuuvi bells are $20, well! Hello, diy!

All you need is a bell, some paint, painter's tape, cheap brushes (I used foam brushes), and clear varnish.


Tape off the bell in whatever pattern you like. (I wish I had moved my tape a little closer together to get a larger blue stripe, but I still like it! Just make sure to consider that fact if you want to keep any of the metallic colour). Give it a nice coat of paint, then let it dry and give it another coat if you feel it needs it (mine did).

Once the paint dries again, peel off the tape and give it a coat of varnish just to seal everything up for good measure (also most of my paints had a matte finish which I didn't like in this application and the varnish fixes that).

If your paint bleeds under the tape, just take a straight razor and gently scrape the paint away along your line, pushing towards the straight line. I found that doing it this way minimized scratches on the metal surface. Mine bled through a little bit in a few spots, but I was expecting it. It's a little hard to tape securely on a round surface.

For the polka dot bell, I covered the clapper (the part that dings the bell) with paper, then spray painted the entire thing in white. Then I used the eraser end on a pencil to put on the dots which I just eye-balled starting from the center out. Obviously, this is one of those "go crazy with your imagination!" kind of DIYs.

I really don't think the type of paint matters too much either. Honestly, I used acrylic paint from the dollar store (the pink and orange), multi-purpose white spray paint, and semi-gloss house paint (the blue green -- which is the colour on our front door). All paints took two coats (except the orange; probably because it was going over the matte white) and covered easily. If it matters to you, there are a lot of paints available that are specifically for painting metal. I just wanted to keep this dirt cheap so I used paints I already had in the house.

Once the varnish is no longer tacky, attach your bell to your bike and you're good to go!


Anonymous said...

Edmonton definitely needs more bike lanes!

Idle Wife said...

Yes! Bike lanes and clear walking paths. It's kinda dangerous to be a cyclist or a pedestrian around here!

Byrdi said...

The green or yellow(delicate) frog tape really do work better than the blue tape. I'm an art student, so trust me, I've tested it!

P.S. They're the same price as blue tape at Wal-mart, for anyone really budget conscious.

daria said...

awesome idea! right now I have a cool bike bell I got as a gift, but otherwise I'd totally DIY one like this :)

steph said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this bike bell! Such a cute idea!

girlsbikingtowork said...

Great post! I've been thinking about doing this myself. Did the paint change the tone of the bell at all? How is the paint holding up a few months later?

Idle Wife said...

Hi girlsbikingtowork (I love that, by the way): The paint didn't change the tone of the bell in any way I could hear! I've been using my bike a lot this summer and the paint looks just like the first day I applied it. But I do keep my bike in the garage, so it IS protected from the elements on days when I'm not using it.

Brian Purtee said...

I painted my daughter's 'Ding-Dong' bell and it didn't change the tone, but it did eliminate the sustain. Would it be feasible to bake the bell after applying the paint? If so; what would be the proper temperature?

Idle Wife said...

Sorry, Brian, I can't help you with that one. You should check with your paint manufacturer on whether or not the paint should be heated and to how high a temperature. For my own bell, I was using simple craft paints that didn't require heating. Perhaps you didn't put the bell back together properly after painting or the paint got into the division somehow (I don't know the specifics on how you painted it and what paint you used)? Otherwise I don't know how paint would effect the bell's sustain.

Rose Murphree Gamble said...

Hey there! Thanks for making this post! I was wondering where you bought your plain bike bell from as I'd really love to paint one as a christmas present. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Rose Murphree Gamble said...

Hi there! I was hoping to do this as a Christmas present And was wondering where you got the $6 bike bells any help would be much appreciated!

Idle Wife said...

Hi Rose! I bought my bell during the summer at Walmart when they have these things stocked. I know that they do not usually stock a lot of bike accessories during the winter, though.

My best thought would be a specialty bike store. I don't know where you live, but in my city, they have stores devoted only to bikes and accessories. If you can, you could also try looking on amazon or some other website that sells bike accessories. The actual painting of the bell only takes a day, so I would hope that even with shipping, you'd be able to get it done. Hope that helps! :)