How to paint a nerf gun

Updated February 21, 2017

If your child dislikes the colour of his or her Nerf brand toy gun, you can alter the colour with a coat of paint. However, before you start painting, you need to know the proper preparation steps that encourage adhesion, or the paint will eventually chip away. Nerf toy guns are made of plastic, a nonporous material ill-suited for adhesion. You must condition the gun to stimulate adhesion by roughening the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Wash the Nerf brand toy gun with soap and water. Rinse the soap from the plastic gun using clean wet rags. Wait for the gun to dry.

Enhance surface adhesion by sanding the Nerf gun with sandpaper. Sand the plastic portions of the gun until they feel rough.

Apply a low-tack painter's tape to the parts of the toy gun you do not want painted.

Move the toy gun to a well-ventilated area, and lay it on top of a clean dust sheet.

Spray a light coat of primer onto one side of the Nerf gun. Hold the can 8 inches from the plastic and apply in a sweeping, side-to-side motion. Wait a minimum of two hours for the primer to dry, and then flip the Nerf gun over and prime the other side.

Wait two hours, and then apply an acrylic spray paint just as you applied the primer. Wait four hours for the paint to cure before using the toy gun.


Be sure to cover the barrel hole and all other functioning parts of the gun with tape, or the paint may inhibit its functionality.


Do not paint a Nerf brand toy gun without abrading it with sandpaper first or the paint will flake off.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Rags
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Acrylic latex spray primer
  • Acrylic latex spray paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.