I’m sure at one point or another every mother has become either painfully bored of or moderately hateful towards her once-beloved pram. Bugaboo (one of the most popular pushchair brands) parents certainly aren’t exempt of this. I went through 6 pushchairs in my first two years of motherhood. Graco, Petite Star, Baby Jogger and other manufacturers came and disappeared through my addiction to buying buggies, but it was my Bugaboo Bee Plus that finally won my heart and became the pram I want to use for ever. (Or, until they make an even better Bugaboo. I wouldn’t dream of buying a different brand now, but I’ll leave the pushchair reviews for another day.)
Adam was directly opposed to me buying any more buggies brand new after the copious amounts that had trundled through our home in under 2 years, so I sold off my Baby Jogger City Select Double and paid £275 on eBay for a Bugaboo Bee Plus in black and red that was only 2 months old and instantly fell in love with how lightweight and versatile the stroller was, backwards or forward facing, extend-able seat, huge basket.. and a dream to push. (I can’t push anyone else’s stroller nowadays, they’re far too difficult to manoeuvre!)
Upon finding out I was pregnant 6 months later, I decided I was not ready to part with my beloved beauty in favour of a larger or different pram, (especially when considering that I would be having a second cesarean section, and would need something lightweight and easy to push) and since the Bee Plus can be used from newborn, I set about customising it for the baby girl on the way.
Here and in following blog posts, I’ll show my steps and the how-tos of customising a bugaboo.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Bugaboo Bee + Plus Chassis (although please note, this guide can be used for other brands and chassis’.)
- Water and a cloth
- Dust/Paint Fume Mask
- Old Sheets to protect floor/space around you (and old clothing!)
- Masking Tape
- Primer / Combined Paint and Primer (I used 1x 400ml Hycote Matt Black Paint/Primer.)
- Paint (I again used 1x 400ml Hycote Matt Black Paint/Primer.)
- You may also need sandpaper to smooth out your chassis if you have any scratches in it, my chassis was not scratched so I skipped this step.
This is my Bugaboo Bee Plus before any customisation, removal or preparation was started on it. As you can see, it’s a good condition standard Bugaboo with silver and black chassis and red hood. However, I’m going to spice that up a bit.
1 – STRIPPING THE CHASSIS
Firstly, we need to strip the chassis of everything that isn’t screwed in that doesn’t need painting. Remove the seat, hood and shopping basket until you are left with just the plain chassis. (I later removed my detachable wheels.)
2 – PREPARING THE CHASIS
Please note – I did not sandpaper my buggy because I had no scratches to smooth out. However, if you have scratches, especially deep ones, here is the time to sand them down until your chassis is smooth and ready for paint.
First of all, you’re going to need to wash that whole buggy. Give the whole thing a good clean from top to bottom. A bowl of mild soapy water and a sponge should do it, scrub everything to make sure there is no dirt or dust left. Paint will not stick to dirt or dust, so this is important, but not hard.
Once your buggy is squeaky clean, you’re going to need to tape it up with masking tape! This bit is exhausting, takes a while, but is again important. You need to protect all the parts of the buggy that you don’t want to get sprayed by spray paint. (Fabric or foam parts, screws, any plastic you don’t want sprayed.) It’s important you tape up everywhere so that it’s covered, but make sure the tape doesn’t obscure any of the parts that you are going to spray and make the coat uneven. I removed my front two removable wheels and used plastic bags sealed with masking tape to protect my back two (which requite a bolt being taken out to remove).
Here’s my masked-up bugaboo (fully prepped and ready to go!):
3 – PRIMING YOUR CHASSIS
Now that your buggy is washed and prepped, it’s time to begin the main stages.
To prime a buggy you have two options, please read carefully:
- If your buggy is not scratched (didn’t need sandpapering) then you can use a standard paint/primer as the base priming coats.
- If you sandpapered down the chassis to remove scratches, you will need to completely prime the buggy with a full primer in grey or black.
This is because the current colour on your bugaboo is already primed and painted, meaning that you don’t need to go to excessive lengths to prepare your chassis – but if the chassis is damaged then it should be re-primed.
Now please make sure you remember to only spray in a well ventilated place – outside is the best place to spray! However, I painted my buggy in winter when it was cold, dark and raining, so I had to use my kitchen with 2 ventilator fans on and all windows open. If spraying inside, please put sheets down to protect flooring and surroundings, and be aware that all food products or anything that may be ingested be put away safely – spraying indoors can cause a thin layer of paint to settle on surfaces in the room, particularly if the room is not well ventilated. This paint layer will wipe off clean straight away, but you should be sure to keep an eye on fumes. It is also advisable to wear a fume mask (especially spraying inside) since otherwise you will breathe in the fumes and that same paint layer that settles on surroundings – which is a) not good for your lungs and b) can make you dizzy, blur your vision, cause fainting and or feelings of being “high”. These fumes are not particularly dangerous, but should be avoided without a mask while spraying and until they have cleared and keep the doors to all other rooms closed and windows open. Goggles are also recommended, although I stopped using mine as they irritated me.
Once you have sheets down, old clothing on and any protective masks/goggles on, you can begin priming.
Make sure you shake the bottle of spray paint well (for about a minute to two minutes) before application, and then start spraying the chassis from wherever is comfortable at about a 15-20cm distance from paint-can tip to buggy. I started from the handlebar and went downwards, but it really doesn’t matter where you do. One coat took me about 10 minutes to put on.
4 – FIRST COAT / PRIMER
Left: Pre First Coat / Primer | Right: Post First Coat / Primer
I used a paint/primer so my primer coat was like a first coat of paint, here’s the before and after.
I let this coat dry for about an hour before I checked it and started painting further coats.
5 – FINISHING COATS
I used three more coats of paint on the buggy. The first was after an hour, the second was another hour later and the third was a top up coat half an hour later.
After the second of these post priming stage coats, I removed much of the masking tape to check I hadn’t missed any parts or had any corners obscured. I found that I had, despite being careful, obscured a few thin lines, so I kept masking tape on the majority of the main parts I wasn’t spraying and removed it from the edges to make sure I had a full covering. After another coat of paint, I was finished.
I let the paint dry for an hour before fully removing the masking tape and protection from my frame.
6 – A FULLY SPRAYED BUGABOO BUGGY CHASSIS
The paint went on absolutely beautifully and smoothly, there were no nicks and I even went over some of the plastic with it since it was such good quality. Here’s a before and after shot of the chassis:
I put the sprayed chassis in my basement to dry for a couple of days to make sure the paint was done.
Did you find this helpful or inspiring? Let me know! 🙂
Sprayed your own buggy? Or vinyl? Even something wilder? I’d love to see!