My journey into trike building

Tanks for the Memories

“What the trike needs is something eye catching on the tank”

This statement by the wife has led to some interesting discussions with Jamie, the owner of the workshop where I am building the trike. We started with wrapping the tank, then moved to hydro dipping, then on to paint techniques such as lacework and an airbrush design.

After an hour of discussion and a few suggested styles and ideas I decided on a marble effect in panels on the tank.

This post hopes to show you the stages that went on to produce the effect.

I started by purchasing this 5 US gallon tank back in march 2015, from Cycle Haven.

The bare tank

The first thing done was to flatten off the high and low spots, and fill where necessary. then it was time for the first coat of primer.

First primer and fill

As can be seen above the tank is then checked again for high and low spots and any low spots filled to the highest level of the tank. This makes them a uniform size and shape and ready for the next coat of paint.

With the basic undercoating of the tanks done then its time to start the base coats of paint.

This coat is a straight forward black and is again flattened off with wet and dry and then wiped clean. This makes it ready for the final coats of paint, in this case Fords Panther Black. The colour is a deep black with a slight metal flake in it which gives it a lovely sparkle in sunlight.

The next step is to mark off the areas on the tank that require the marble design that we settled on. The colours for the design are a candy apple red, and a grey white.

The effect is obtained by applying the two colours wet and then using some plastic and scrunching it up and rolling it across the wet surface to form the effect

Once this is done its left to dry and then the masking tape is removed. This leaves a ridge around the edges of the marbelling which has to be flattened back before the first coat of lacquer is applied.

This leaves the whole thing looking like this.the wet spots are from the drying of the panel cleaner.

Now we start to see the shiny bits of the paint regime, as the tank is taken away for its first coat of shiny lacquer.

After each coat the lacquer is flattened back to remove any perfections in the finish, and to give the next coat something to adhere to.


Once the third coat of lacquer is applied then this to is flattened and then polished to produce a full and shiny finish.

Though this tank is not finished, this will be the overall look of the tanks with the tank fuel cap installed.

As you can see there is a lot of work, and layers, to painting anything. Adding in a design complicates matters even more.

Once the tanks are fitted to the trike there beauty is revealed.

The final effect

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