Painting the Bus: Timelapse Video

…In which Dan’s patience and fortitude are tested.

We knew that we’d be painting our bus as soon as possible after buying it, to make it feel more like home. Dan wanted to get this done as soon as we got the bus home, since winter comes quickly in Flin Flon. We needed a specialty rust-proof paint that we couldn’t get in Flin Flon, so we decided to pick up the paint in on our way back from buying the bus. We had to choose a colour quickly, which was probably a good thing (less time for indecision and Pinterest scrolling!). I had a robin’s egg blue in mind; Dan was looking for more earthy colours. After some discussion at the paint counter, we agreed on a dusty duck egg blue called Paris 1900.

[An aside: I have been in love with Paris since I saw Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” when I was 13. My love only deepened when I visited with my mom at 16. We drank chocolat chaud for breakfast and walked everywhere and saw all of the art we could take in. I returned at 21, when I moved to Paris, took French classes and slept/worked in a bookstore with a bunch of aspiring writers. I left when I missed Dan too much, and decided to return to Canada, but Paris will always be my first love. Sorry, Dan 😉 So…the Paris 1900 name felt auspicious.]

The Process

This paint job was a huge undertaking. The taping was the most time-consuming (and frustrating) part for Dan. Dan worked on it pretty solidly for one Sunday and three evenings after work. I was hoping I’d be able to help but Sophie was just not at a stage where she could play by herself long enough for me to be of much assistance. So Dan (aka family work horse) did everything himself. This included:

  • Washing the bus thoroughly with a hose and dish soap (and balancing on a slippery roof to clean that too)
  • Taping off the windows and separating the roof and main section of the bus with painter’s tape and newspaper. Dan taped off the Bluebird logos too so we could keep them intact.
  • Covering tires with tarps
  • Covering sections with plastic drop cloth
  • Painting the roof pale blue with a paint sprayer, letting it dry for about 24 hrs
  • Painting the body of the bus (one heavy coat).
  • Removing tape & newspaper

Tools & Supplies

  • Wagner Flexio 3000 HVLP Paint Sprayer. We justified this purchase because we planned to paint or stain our deck in the spring. I think it was well worth it for Dan’s sanity! The paint went on quickly and fairly smoothly. The sprayer also allows you to choose the volume of paint to layer on so we just needed one coat.
  • Tremclad Rust paint: 1 gallon for the roof, two for the body of the bus which was JUST enough. We used rust-proof enamel paint, a thick paint, that shouldn’t chip or rust over time.
  • Henry Tropicool Silicon paint (for waterproofing – see next steps below)
  • Plastic sheeting, newspaper & several rolls of green painters’ tape

The Results

Overall the paint job turned out really well! The colour wasn’t quite what I expected (maybe because we just had one coat, or because we were painting on yellow?) but I think it still looks pretty cute.

Next Steps

Waterproofing with silicon paint: In the spring we will add silicon paint to the roof to waterproof/prevent leaks – there are some holes in the roof from removing the air conditioning unit. Dan filled this with silicon already but the silicon paint will be an extra layer of protection.

A mural: In the spring/when time allows we are hoping to create a mural on one side (we’re thinking a simple treeline silhouette inspired by this and this). Stay tuned!