When Painting a School Bus Conversion, Here Are 3 Options
Do you need to paint a school bus? Are you in the middle of a school bus conversion and trying to decide if you can paint your bus yourself? Well today, I am going to tell you 3 options for painting your skoolie. We choose option #3 and painted our bus for under $200 and do not regret that decision at all.
Before I get to explaining the painting project, let me catch you up on what’s been going on with Bus #2 .
Jeff has started working on the outside of the bus because around this time of year it rains. The ground gets damp, and then the snow begins to fall. Jeff says that we go from the “rainy season” (autumn) straight into winter. The ground does not dry out until late April. As you can see in the pictures below, the bus is parked in our yard. This will be a muddy, slippery mess once the rainy season starts.
Option #1 – Take it to an auto body shop that paints cars.
This was going to cost around $2,000. There had to be a more economical way!
Option #2 – Take the bus to a place that repairs RVs/campers.
This option was going to cost around $1,600. That sounded better but we decided to look into other options. If we took option #2, I was going to have to give up some cute décor inside the bus. Now ladies, you know that having to sacrifice the cute and pretty things was just not an option I liked. So… Option #3 was a must find.
Option #3- Paint the Bus – DIY Style
Jeff and I looked over several websites and we found this site. Total cost would be under $200. Now, this option sounded like a winner to me.
There were a few things that had to be done before Jeff could start painting the bus.
1. Jeff had to cover up the windows that we no longer wanted to use.
He started by gluing Styrofoam insulation to the windows using Liquid Nails. Next, he measured the windows and cut Trim Coil Metal Siding to fit each window. (The siding comes in a roll and can be bought at your local home improvement store.) Jeff glued the siding onto the foam with Liquid Nails and then used 1/2 inch self-tapping metal screws to secure the metal siding in place around the edge of the window.
He even covered up all the glass on the back door and the holes where he removed some of the lights.
2. He washed the bus with a pressure washer.
3. Jeff used an electric sander to sand all the rust and rough spots.
4. Finally, Joshua and Jeff removed all the reflectors that needed to be replaced. Then, Jeff spray painted the bus black in spots.
Now just imagine my face, when I woke up the next morning and saw black spray paint all over the bus! It looked like a graffiti artist painted the bus after drinking a six pack. I was quite surprised!
After breakfast, I politely asked my husband to explain, “WHY DID YOU SPRAY BLACK PAINT ON THE BUS!” Of course, his
sweet reply was the bus would rust if it rained and he would have to sand it again. To which, I ever so calmly said, “OHHH, spray painting was a great idea!”
5. Now that the bus was ready to paint, we had to decide on the colors.
I came up with what I thought was an ingenious idea, which was to have the children enter a contest for the best bus paint design. I drew the bus, printed it off with instructions, and handed them out to the children. Let’s just say they didn’t think it was such a good idea. Bummer!!
Therefore, Jeff and I sat down and searched the internet for RV colors. Also, we looked at several designs of skoolies. I wanted something with stripes and swirls. Jeff wanted simple and easy. Well, I had to give in because I was not the one painting the bus.
However, Jeff is a sweet guy and said that he would put one stripe on the bus just to entertain me. Aww… I told you he was a sweet guy and great at compromising too!
So, I got out my colored pencils and set to work coloring our bus! We decided to go with blue, tan or almond, and a gold or copper stripe.
Here’s How to Paint a School Bus DIY Style
Jeff called several different stores before finding one who had the paint we needed. The next day, he left to go get the paint. Around 3:00, he returned with NO paint. He had driven to several stores and no one had what he needed; even though, they told him on the phone that they carried the product. Finally, at the end of the day, he talked to a lady in a town over an hour away and she said that she could help him the next morning.
Jeff left early, hoping to get home by lunch, so he could get coat number one on the bus before dinner. Didn’t happen! He got to the store and the clerk had trouble mixing the paint. After 2 hours, he had the blue and almond but they were having trouble with the gold. Jeff called and explained the problems he was having and I suggested to just get a grey paint for the stripe. If we didn’t like the grey stripe we could just paint over it with blue.
Just look what color he came home with! See the color on the bottom of the can on the right!!
What color does that look like to you?!?
Let me tell you, I was told it was Heritage Gold. I said, “OH HECK NO! That is SCHOOL BUS YELLOW!” Yep, I bet you thought the same thing!!
Jeff said that he honestly didn’t think I was going to like it but he was just tired of the clerk continuing to mix the color wrong.
It is so pretty!!!
Here is a before picture.
Here is the after picture.
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Wow! We are pleased with the results for the money we spent. Jeff wanted me to tell you all that this paint is extremely hard to paint with and it does bubble up. Because he was painting the bus outside, bugs were attracted to the paint and got stuck in it. He removed them and touched up the spots the following day. Also, Jeff said that if we had taken option #1 or #2 the paint job would have a professional look. We both agreed for the price difference, we were pleased with the results.
What option would you have chosen? Please tell us in the comments below.
If you are thinking about turning a school bus into an RV and want to paint it yourself, Jeff is available for questions. Just comment below and you will get an answer the same day.
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