Step 3: Paint Prep

Prepping a 30 foot bus for paint is a BIG DEAL! Next time you’re stopped next to a school bus at a stoplight, take a look at just how much reflective tape they have!

Once we got Liberty home, we started on the tape and stickers with a heating gun and razors. It didn’t take long to get the stickers off, but the adhesive residue left behind took days to remove! We tried numerous solvents, but ultimately paint thinner seemed to work best.

The adhesive wasn’t difficult to remove, but it definitely took some time and finesse. Paint thinner evaporates quickly, so we found by painting on the solvent with a brush in small sections and letting it sit for a few minutes before trying to remove really helped the process go faster. We used hand held razor scrapers to take off the adhesive while periodically wiping the sticky residue off onto a paper towel.


Once all the adhesive was removed, we started the longest prep process of all… Sanding. This took us weeks! We used a palm sander on the flat surfaces, but our bus has lots of corrugated metal which requires hand sanding. We used Scotch Brite pads to sand around all the lights and on the corrugated metal.

After a couple weeks of sanding on our own, we found another skoolie crew online who threw a “sanding party” and had their friends come help. We decided to try their idea and bribe our family and friends with food and beer to sand with us. Boy, did that pay off! We’re incredibly blessed to have people in our lives who are willing to lend a hand in the pursuit of our dreams!

After a grueling 5 weeks of sanding, we finally FINISHED! Somehow even though we have a long road ahead, completing this step gave us a huge sense of accomplishment.

We’re in this. All in.

“Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.” -Kara Goucher

Next up: PAINT! 🙂

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