We have to admit it; 2020 for most got off to an awful start. We have the lovely Coronavirus wrecking havoc, leaving people and businesses in it’s wake. With no time line as to when we’ll be back to normal. This does unfortunately impact a lot of airsoft and paintball facilities. With that said, there’s ample time now for all of us to get some projects we once put off because of work and LIFE out of the way. And one of these is my personal favorite to do during spring. DIY Camo custom paint jobs are easy and cheap to do. Here’s the best part; You don’t need to be a Picasso or a well respected artist to pull it off. All you’ll need is some paints, and some tape which thankfully enough, most hardware stores are open during this time and almost all of them carry paint and tape.
I’m also going to cover some other options you can do at home that include camo tape and a DIY ghillie suit for your weapon. Most will include instructional videos to guide you so without further ado, lets jump right into it.
Table of Contents
DIY Camo Materials
Before you do get started I’d like to mention that painting your rifle depreciates its value. So like many things in airsoft and paintball. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. I’m not responsible if something happens or you can’t sell your gear after and I wouldn’t recommend doing this on gear that you plan to sell down the road. So if you must have camo but also wanna sell your gear later; skip down to the bottom and read about camo tape. Benefit there is there’s no clean up and you can keep your gears resell value. (Thank you to Guges Mk3 and interceptor from Airsoftsociety for pointing that out.) Now with that out of the way, you’ll have to head on over to your local hardware shop, if you don’t already have them within reach and purchase a few 12 oz cans of Rust-Oleum Camouflage spray paint. They run anywhere from $4 to $6 per can in price range. Of course the colors I list in this article are NOT mandatory and you could go ballistic and experiment with what ever color options you deem fit, however for tactical purposes and realism, we’re going to stick with the traditional camouflage colors used by most. Khaki, Black, Army Green, Forest Green and Earth Brown.
You’ll want to grab these colors to get started.
- Rust-Oleum’s Earth Brown
- Rust-Oleum’s Forest Green or Army Green (or BOTH)
- Rust-Oleum’s Khaki
- Rust-Oleum’s Flat Matte Black depending on your preference and ideas.
The colors I mentioned above other then black already come in a matte finish, meaning the paint won’t shine when light hits it. So pay attention to the type of black you pick up and make sure it’s a matte finish. Lastly you’ll need to protect your final masterpiece, so make sure to pick up a can of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Matte Clear to finish off and seal in your work.
Other things you may need are plastic plates to use as paint trays or to sample combinations or patterns. You may need some sponges if you’re interested adding in some patterns or break up the paint. Paint thinner or lighter fluid for easy clean up and Acetone to clean off your plastics. Normally I’d suggest alcohol for that but at the time of writing, that’s in very short supply. Lastly you may want to pick up some painters tape. Now painters tape is excellent for masking up parts you don’t want the paint to touch. It’s very versatile and can serve to create some very realistic foliage patterns. I’d highly recommend Frogtape. It’s known for leaving very sharp, clean lines and can be reused a couple of times compared to 3M Painters tape. I’ve used Frogtape for many years personally and it’s my go too.
1st DIY Camouflage Idea: The Sponge Technique
This DIY Camo pattern was published on the Blue Force Gear site and on a scale from 1-10. 1 being the easiest; I’d rate this a 2. It’s super easy to do and only requires one or two colors and a sponge.
To accomplish this look, the entire process is simple. First you’ll want to use the Acetone to clean off the area your working with. Make sure to clean you gear THOROUGHLY. You want to make sure there’s no dust particles or crap on your gear before you lay on the paint. It will show later once the paint is dried if you skip this step and start to paint right away.
Next you’ll want to choose the colors you’d like to work with. Once you have selected your bad-ass tactical colors, you’ll want to grab those plastic plates I mentioned earlier. Or if you’re poor like me. I’d grab some used cardboard to work with. Spray your color of preference until there’s an ample amount of paint on your plate (or cardboard) and get ready to dab your sponge in it.
You then apply your sponge into the paint and get cracking. You don’t have to be perfect. Ultimately the goal here is to break up the black and make it harder to distinguish while in action. You can go heavy or as light as you feel like. Pulling back away every few sponge dabs to take a look at your progress, For better results you may want to first prime you gear with a lighter color. Doing so will make it harder to make out while in the field.
The final product may vary depending on your paint choices however it may look a little like this in the end. Again, the sponge patterns you choose will be up to you. Use this as a guide to get some ideas of your own. For a full detailed break down of how to do this exact style. Check out the Blue Force Gear site and the original article here.
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated look to paint on your rifle or gear using sponges. Check out Go Hunts site and read their step by step article which bumps up the difficulty level up to a 5 and gives you a more complex pattern.
2nd DIY Camouflage Idea: The Foliage Technique
The next technique I’m going to cover is the Foliage Technique. Now depending on where you live this may be a bit more complicated. However will require some foliage from your backyard or street. If you live in an area with little to no foliage or leaves, then you can use you painters tape or paper to cut out stencils to use instead.
Instructables has a great step by step guide on how to achieve this look. And one of my personal go too technique since it’s pattern mimics outdoor fields I play on. As far as difficulty, I give this a 5. Only because it will take a bit of trial and error before you get the look you want. But before you get started painting your gear, I’d strongly suggest you try out your ideas first on a piece of cardboard or plastic plates. Doing this will save you tons of time repainting if it doesn’t come out the way you like.
Before you get started you’ll need besides the paint:
- Painter’s Tape
- Latex Gloves
- Brake Parts Cleaner, Paint Thinner or Lighter Fluid
- Old T-shirts (great wipe down, low lint rags)
- Newspapers or bulk paper roll
- Cotton Balls
To sum up the article, you’ll first want to clean the areas you’re going to be working on with acetone. Again, making sure to clean it well. Next you’ll need to disassemble your gear and use your painters tape to mask the parts you don’t want to paint. Once you’ve completed breaking down your gear and finished masking, you’ll want to prime your gear with a light base coat. Using the color Khaki first would be a wise choice here.
After your light base coat has been applied to all parts and has dried. You’ll want to grab your foliage and lay it out more or less how you want it to look on your gear without the paint. Grab you green paint and test the pattern on your plastic plate or cardboard. You want to make sure that the foliage you’re using is vertical as if it was growing from the ground and wrapping itself around your gear. The idea here again is to break up your gears natural lines and to blend it accordingly to your environment. So you’ll want to make sure before you start layering paint that your foliage looks natural. Once again I mention to experiment on paper or cardboard before you apply paint onto your gear to get a better feel for the look you want.
Once you start painting your rifle or gear you’ll want to step back occasionally to see your work in progress. Making any adjustments along the way. After you have applied your base and primary coat, you’ll want to apply a tiny bit of brown just so it can blend into the shade.
Upon completing the last coat of camo color, let it dry and take time to look it over carefully. Set the gun across the room or place it outside and see how it looks from a distance. What you want to see is that the vertical lines and shapes are visible, and that they break up the shape of the gun. If you like the results, FANTASTIC! If not…now is the time to make changes!
If your gear is up to your standards, the time has then come to spray your Matte Clear Top Coat to lock in your colors and protect the paint from handling and storage wear. The matte finish will leave a dull surface, perfect for camo! About any other top coat finish will have a shine, and that can ruin the effectiveness of all your work and cause you some pain!
Let your gear dry for 30 minutes or so so it can be handled safely. Better if you can leave it over night. If you like this pattern and want to give it a shot; You can check out my personal video from my YouTube Channel below. Have to mention how I completed this out of my small NYC apartment. Or if that doesn’t tickel your fancy, you can head over to indestrucables and check out the full step by step article on this DIY Camo job.
3rd DIY Camouflage Idea: Snake Skin Pattern
This is going to be my next pattern I wanna attempt on my G&G Wildhog and it’s simply, BAD ASS. I love this pattern and if painted well, looks wicked on anything. This method will require some netting, like from a laundry bag or small plastic chicken wire.
Difficult rating on this one is a 6 because it will require you to paint your rifle before hand, requiring a bit more time to complete. This step by step was made simple by TropGun on his YouTube channel
4th DIY Camouflage Idea: Digi Pattern
Over at TheProRancher’s YouTube Channel, he shows us how to paint up a serious digital camouflage pattern. However, I do give this a difficulty level of 9. Reason being is the time needed in order to cut out some of your stamps. Like we don’t have time on our hands now, right, right?? Anywho, there are quite a few other YouTube videos with stencils you create on your own, but I chose TheProRanchers video because of the attention he puts into the details and the fact you can possibly reuse the stamps you created for future projects (I say possibly as long as you take care of them) Check out his video below to get a step by step of how to create this ultimate DIY camo pattern and give your weapons that bad ass look you been itching for.
5th DIY Camouflage Idea: The Reptile Pattern
This DIY camo idea comes from YouTuber James Unlimited. It’s an oldie but goodie. Published back in 2015, James Unlimited shows us step by step how to create this ridiculous sick reptile pattern. You will need some Halloween decorations and your typical DIY camo painting materials. However if you’re creative like me, use your nifty FrogTape Painters tape i recommended to cut out the stencils you’ll need for this endeavor. Now the reason I chose this video over some others more recent is simply that the end result with James Unlimited looks out of this world. Check out the step by step video from his channel down below.
6th DIY Camouflage Idea: Ghillie Suit for your Weapon
This next idea doesn’t involve any paint what so ever. Instead you’ll need a camouflage burlap, some type of netting (small plastic chicken wiring usually sold at any hardware store works well), scissors, rubber bands or zip ties.
YouTuber Jace Hebert walks us through the process with his straight forward video on how to achieve a proper ghille suit that works wonders. It’s not the sexiest ghillie suit out there, however you can customize this to fit your style and preference which makes this DIY camo idea very versatile. Meaning you can use this technique for other gear you may have including your battle uniform. Check out Jace Hebert’s channel and his how to video below.
7th DIY Camouflage Idea: Camo Tape
The last DIY camo idea I’m going to write about is the easiest to complete out of the 7 ideas. I’m personally not a fan of camo tape since I prefer to spend time putting my imagination to work. Now I’m not talking trash about camo tape. I prefer the more creative approach. I’m mentioning camo tape because there is a lot of users out there that prefer this method. It’s clean, doesn’t require any clean up and it easily peels off. Also worth mentioning is the wide variety of camo skins available to choose from.
Now I’m not going to spend much time on this method because it’s pretty straight forward. However there is a nifty how to video from YouTube Channel McNett Tactical to walk you through the process, of course if you need some guidance.
DIY Camo Final Thoughts
So there you have it folks. Seven great DIY camo ideas that we can do at home with little to no experience and with minimum materials we can find even at this very moment. I do wish you good health and hope just like everyone else that this pandemic doesn’t grow more out of control then it already has.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this guide and some suggestions for our next article. Throw your DIY camo pics you’ve completed on our Facebook page or in the comments below. Can’t wait to see all your hard work.
Once again everyone stay safe and healthy and please stay inside if it’s not an emergency.