Spray Painting 101

The following instructions are based on easily obtainable off-the-shelf items and serve as a guideline in getting the job done (by even by a person without prior spray painting experience) while keeping the cost low.

Preparation and Planning

Be sure to remove all traces of grease, dirt or any foreign matter, then dull glossy surfaces to reduce glare and improve adhesion, thus prolong the Camo Paint life application.

Determine the background you will be hunting in and decide the pattern you want to imitate before you begin. For example; if you are camouflaging a duck hunting boat, the most obvious choice would be dead reeds or cattails for your spray pattern. If you are painting a tree stand or deer blind, then tree branch and leaf pattern would be best.

Decide on a base color. In most cases the base color should be a lighter color with the darker colors applied as subsequent layers - creating shadows around the natural pattern you choose. Several colors may be combined as your surroundings or seasons vary. More greens and browns may be used earlier in the year, moving to lighter tan later in the year.

Take note to match your surroundings. Never over “shadow” (over apply dark color) items with a lighter "skyline" backdrop, such as tree stands. Also do not to use light colors on, for example a ground blind in heavy trees, where the backdrop may be darker. Ensuring that your equipment matches your most current surrounding is an important technique that, if mastered, can make a difference between success and failure.

Example: Painting Instruction for Marsh Duck Max

Suggested material checklist

A)  Pressurized can spray paint
     Krylon Camouflage Olive Drab with non reflective finish (base)
     Note:  Krylon Olive Green with non reflective finish as base color
               is easily available off the shelf and ensures a good
               contrast when Khaki reeds/cattail pattern is applied, but
               the object may end up looking darker than its
               surrounding. A good alternative may be to use custom
               mix paint from Home Depo. I’ve successfully used
              “Granite Grey” with the following configurations

               Colorant                   OZ              48                96
               B      Lamp Black         3                1                  0
               E      Thalo Blue           0              14                 1
               KX    White                 4              34                  1
               L      Raw Umber         3             46                   1

     Another good way to decide on the base color would be to take
     a picture of the surrounding you hunt in and compare that
     picture against those pre-printed colored card slip on the shelf,
     and have the store custom mix that color for you. You should
     end up with a pretty accurate base color.

     Be sure that the paint you select is flat. The last thing you need
     is a glossy looking hunting boat.

     Krylon Camouflage Brown (or flat black) with non reflective      finish for tree bark pattern

     Krylon Camouflage Khaki with non reflective finish for reeds/      cattails.

     Flat black paint
     These colors are easily available at Home Depot

     {Take note}: Use only when temperature is between 50ºF
                          (10ºC) and 90ºF(32ºC) and humidity is below
                          85% to ensure proper drying. Paint tends to run
                          and smudge if below the optimum temperature.

B)  Surgical gloves, preferably vinyl as rubber gloves can be
     dissolved by paint after prolonged exposure. Vinyl gloves are      obtained from Walmart for the same price as rubber gloves.

C)  Electrical or masking tape. Electrical tape will allow easy removal      and reapplication several times.
     Modeling clay or “Blue tact” will work as well but they have a      tendency to stick to the painted surface when you remove the      stencil and you end up wasting precious time removing them.

D) Krylon Easy-Tack (repositionable Adhesive) – Available at Hobby      Lobby.

E) Safety glasses and mask. Before work begins, spray painters
     should read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the
     chemical they’ll be using then wear the appropriate personal
     protective equipment such as safety glasses, mask, gloves or
     coveralls to protect themselves against its hazards.

     As proper ventilation is important when working with paint
     coatings, a safe thing is to do it outdoors with a slight breeze
     at your back and wear protective equipment.

General Stencil Spray painting tips

1.  Always ensure that spray is perpendicular to the stencil to keep
     the pattern sharp.

2.  Keep spray at distance of approximately 8 - 10 inches (adjust
     for optimum distance) from surface.

3.  Short burst of paint and avoid applying too much paint as it
     would smudge. The key is patience.

4.  Apply Krylon Easy-Tack repositionable adhesive generously on
     one side of the stencil and place it over the portion you wish to
     begin. The adhesive alone will not hold the weight of stencil
     hence you stil need to use electrical or masking tape (or
     modeling clay or blue tact) to hold the top and bottom corners
     of the stencil to the surface. Most of the time surfaces you work
     on are not even (example ridges or bends), hence on certain
     parts there would be gaps between stencil and surface. Do not
     attempt apply paint where there is a gap or else your pattern
     would not look sharp. Lightly press on that part of the stencil
     and the adhesive will temporarily hold that portion of the stencil
     to the surface long enough for you to apply paint. Repeat this      process on other parts where gaps exist before repositioning
     your stencil.


Step by step stencil application

1.  Base Coat and shadowing technique 
     Apply a base of coat color with the flat color of choice, then
     with the flat black paint lightly apply elongated randomly
     shaped patterns every few feet, approximately 4 inches in
     width and 2-3 feet in length at varying angles. Avoid applying
     too much paint as the purpose is to simulate shadows.

2.  Apply Tree Bark Pattern
     Apply the pattern with Krylon Camouflage Brown (or Black).
     Ensure that the bark break-up pattern is vertical and the
     placement (inner edge) of the subsequent stencil meets edge
     of what you have sprayed on earlier. This will result in a
     continuous seamless pattern.

     Always ensure that spray is perpendicular to the stencil to keep
     the pattern sharp.

3.  Apply grass pattern
     Krylon camouflage paint takes approximately 15 minutes to dry
     and by the time you complete the last section, the first part
     would have dried out and ready for the grass pattern to be

     Apply the pattern with khaki paint or any other suitable colors
     by keeping the spray gun/can perpendicular to the stencil and
     tracing each grass blade one at a time, either from top to
     bottom or bottom to top. You may want to intentionally skip
     certain parts or grass blades at random so that the overall
     pattern does not look repetitious.

     Before repositioning the stencil lightly spray random grass
     blades first with brown, then with flat black to add additional
     depth to the pattern.