How to paint desert camo

Written by kittie mccoy
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How to paint desert camo
Paint a desert camo pattern on furniture or vehicles. (old soldier 101 image by Paul Moore from

Most people are familiar with standard woodland camouflage which consists of greens and browns, but these colours won't keep you concealed in a desert environment. Desert camouflage utilises tan colours to help you blend into the sand in the same manner woodland camouflage allows you to blend into the forest. You can create your own desert camouflage pattern on any paintable surface even if you don't have any painting experience or skills.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tan paints
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller

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  1. 1

    Purchase two different shades of tan coloured paint. One shade must be noticeably lighter than the other to create a camouflage pattern. Paints in colours such as sand, desert sand, buff, tan or khaki will work.

  2. 2

    Purchase a smaller amount of black or dark brown paint. You only need to use a small amount of this dark paint on your desert camo so you can purchase less of it than the tan coloured paints.

  3. 3

    Apply one or two layers of the lightest colour of paint to the entire item with a paintbrush or paint roller. Wait for the paint to dry between the layers and before continuing on to the next step.

  4. 4

    Paint irregular shapes onto the dry base coat of paint with the darker tan paint and a small paint brush. Avoid making perfect circles or other neat and recognisable shapes as they may stand out and ruin the camouflage effect. Wait for the paint to dry before continuing.

  5. 5

    Paint small loops or curved lines with the black paint and a small paintbrush. Avoid painting any large areas black, just focus on adding small lines and details with this paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose latex paint rather than oil based paint, if possible. The latex paint dries faster than oil paints, says author Lucianna Samu in "Paint Saves the Day." Latex will allow you to finish your camouflage pattern sooner.

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