DIY: Camo Paint Your Rifle – Sponge Style


From Larry Vickers’ Blue Force Gear site.


28 responses to “DIY: Camo Paint Your Rifle – Sponge Style

  1. I did a rattle can camo job on a rifle and shotgun a few weeks ago. Didn’t use sponges but used grass and such. It’s always good to keep looking around as your doing it at natural colors outside. Finished with matte clear. Came out better than expected. Start with a cheaper gun. I was pretty nervous with the ar at first.

  2. Spar satin urethane it after the enamel and flat dries completely; then steel wool the remaining sheen. Still gets bunged up and toasted. Check out eden green highlights/streaks with moss and deep forest/olive background if you’re down here with those sable palms–where ever you’re at, test first on a paper plate then stick in the foliage to see what it looks like; you may be surprised. And, there is no black in nature–adapted eyes go right to it.

    • “…And, there is no black in nature–adapted eyes go right to it….”

      Black bears, black sheep, black wolves, black foxes, black dogs, black cats, black cows, black horses, black marten, black fisher, black skunk, near-black mink, black trees, black… nope, no black in nature.

      However, I do agree that black, like blue, red, and pink, are pretty easy to see compared to many other colors. But the meme “there is no black in nature” grew old the first time I walked in the woods.

      • SemperFi, 0321

        Black gear/rifles still suck. I studied pics of Marines in Fallujah, any of those guys carrying black gear bags, slings, belts, etc. over their desert MarPat stuck out like a sore thumb. Perfect bullseye material everytime. If you value your life, get rid of anything black or spray paint it tan/earth.
        Most of my rifles/shotguns have had a coat of tan/dark earth Duracoat for years now.
        I still can’t understand why the military didn’t go to tan or green rifle plastic decades ago, unless they wanted our military to be obvious targets. The earliest M-16 prototypes did have brown and green Bakelite looking plastic stocks, and then they settled on black for VN issue. Another stroke of military genius.

  3. Here in artic summer, spring and fall I don’t wear black. A sapien can look just like a black or griz bear.

  4. If you haven’t spray bombed your rifles, don’t be afraid of how durable a finish it is and of the camo effects a can of Krylon has going for it. Great stuff. As you use your rifle the camo gets better too, begins to get a natural patina which subdues the colors further.

    • I think most people are afraid of hurting the resale values of their safe queens.

      • Hey, that’s part of freedom to bear your arms.

        Personally, if I was more worried about the resale of my fighting rifle, than camouflaging it to reduce the risk of being shot in combat, whats the purpose of having a fighting rifle? I want to live as long as I can. And every edge I can get is worth more than a pretty unused safe queen any day.

        • I’ve done a couple at home with spray cans and a couple others I had duracoated. My Tavor came in factory green so I haven’t touched that one.

          I actually lean toward the lighter shade of green as seen on the rifle in the picture above given that I live in an area that goes light tan, gray and white with winter. Darker shades of green can look almost black here 4 months out of the year even when there isn’t snow on the ground. Likewise, I have a rifle in duracoated DCU that looks great here until the lush green summer when it’s too light.

      • Completely agree. Spray painting your AR is cathartic. Its a tool that should be treated and used that way. If the rifle is worth more than your life some day if the biker zombies are prowling around the neighborhood, you might as well just sell it immediately and give someone else the opportunity to use it properly.

        Its ok to have a safe queen, but whatever you plan on grabbing when something goes bump in the night better be a tool.

        Besides….I get compliments on it. I didn’t do anything special. Green bottom coat, laid leaves over top, then the tan. Afterwards, a few streaks and splotches of black to break up the profile. That is key. A camo rifle still looks like a rifle. Break up that shape.

  5. I practiced with an air rifle before I started with my guns. I found the best results started with a full base coat of tan. Then I made a MultiCam patterned stencil and applied a light green. The last color was brown using the same stencil. The finished product matches perfect with my MC ACU’s

  6. Centurion_Cornelius

    Nice!…but to do this…

  7. Removing the spray pattern nozzle insert from the push button on the top of the rattle can will result in a “splatter effect”, which if used with the appropriate colors at one to two feet away will provide a good camo paint job. Also, consider using high temp paint as a base coat on the barrel, this will give a longer life for the top coat.

    • Cassandra (of Troy)


      Re: high temp paint

      Manifold or header paint, header paint goes to 1200+ degrees & comes in multiple colors but some (e.g., VHT) need to be hi temp cured for 30-45 mins. The following however doesn’t appear to be like that but I don’t know how good it is.:

  8. Did an AK about ten years ago with the Brownells alumahyde II and just alternated the pieces with different colors while I had the whole thing broken down.

    ODG, FDE and Coyote. Looks good.

    Use some heat and/or direct sun on that stuff, as it’s some type of epoxy and dries quite slowly.

  9. Reblogged this on disturbeddeputy and commented:
    I did one with spray paint, putting down branches with leaves to make a pattern. I think I like this method better (even if a zebra-stripe rifle looks pretty cool).

    • I did the leaf and branch pattern too, that sponge technique looks like you could obtain finer results.

  10. Winston Smith

    You don’t need to practice. If you don’t like it, just do it again. I did my goto AR on the first try and fiddled over the course of a few months until I got what I liked. Banging it around and cleaning it adds to the randomness of the job as time goes on. And touchups are easy!

    Important: be sure to generously tape anything you don’t want painted. Anything.
    Other than that, if you haven’t tried it, just get off the pot and Do It.

  11. Pingback: DIY: Camo Paint Your Rifle – Sponge Style | Rifleman III Journal

  12. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on MCS.

  13. I rattle can all my rifles. Since they are so heavily customized, selling them is near impossible so i dont plan to anyway.

    As another commenter noted, use brings out a nice patina.

    My trick is that after the pain dries, use an old tshirt or rag and wipe the surfaces down with moderate force. It will produce an amazing coating.

  14. I always wonder, if you don’t like the way it turned out, what are your options?

  15. He spent $20 and those rifles are the result? He ought to admit it, there was a 5 YO child involved in the application phase

  16. Cassandra (of Troy)

    Found a quasi-tiger stripe/bamboo leaf motif (medium green ‘leaves’/OD ‘stalks’ w/ exposed factory black in a dappled pattern as background) on a SP-1 to be successful in various parts of AR & LA from spring-late fall, used a piece of white linen canvas w/ sparingly applied irregular dove gray streaks in winter & it too worked well. Tested both by barely concealing the rifle then having various local squirrel/rabbit hunters look for it w/ a case of beer as the finder’s prize, in 4 yrs only 2 winners after approx 25 tries. Have also used taped on dead grass & honeysuckle vines sprayed w/ Testors clear matte model paint to prevent noise/degradation & that worked well in the woods/fields.

    Curious about how well the following would work, sounds good & comes in multiple patterns.:

  17. I love painting rifles!
    I usually stsrt by painting the whole thing coyote, cover the rifle with ‘paper netting’ (used in packaging), then paint brown and OD stripes. I try to not over do green, there isn’t too much green at ground level in my AO most of the year.