How to Create Camouflage Patterns

Written by heather inks
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Mimetic and disruptive camouflage are commonly used by animals in nature. Mimetic camouflage occurs when an animal appears to be something else, like the stick bug who resembles a dead stick. Disruptive camouflage creates visual confusion by breaking up the animal or person's outline through manipulation of light and dark colour patterns, creating a contrast that visually confuses the predator or prey. You can create your own camouflage patterns in just a few easy steps.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Piece of paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • Sheets of stencil plastic
  • Sheets of cardboard
  • Cardboard cutter
  • Craft knife
  • Tape
  • Paint
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller

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  1. 1

    Decide on the purpose of the camouflage pattern. Are you seeking to blend in and mimic an environment or to create a camouflage pattern that creates visual confusion like a typical hunter's pattern? If you are hunting, you will need different patterns for different hunting environments, e.g. snow, rocky terrain or leafy trees.

  2. 2

    Sketch a rough draft of your camouflage pattern--for instance, zebra stripes, leopard spots or blotches of colours resembling a hunter's camouflage. If you are making a "fashion camouflage pattern" then you can use stripes or blotches and unusual colours.

  3. 3

    Determine how many colours are in your pattern. One sheet of stencil plastic or one piece of cardboard will be needed for each colour. For instance, if your pattern uses three greens and one brown, you will need four sheets of stencil plastic or cardboard.

  4. 4

    Draw the pattern for each colour individually on a separate sheet of stencil plastic or cardboard. Cut the shapes or patterns out of each sheet using either a box cutter or a craft knife.

  5. 5

    Place one stencil sheet on the surface or object you're camouflaging. Hold the sheet with your hand or tape it on. Paint the colour using the stencil. You can spray it, paint it with a brush or roll it. Continue with this stencil on the entire surface that needs to be camouflaged. Then repeat these steps for all the other colours in the camouflage pattern.

Tips and warnings

  • Sheets of stencil plastic are usually more durable than cardboard. They are waterproof and can be washed in between colour applications.

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