How to spray paint a camo pattern

Written by amy rosenstein
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How to spray paint a camo pattern
Create a camo pattern freehand with spray paint. (Tank on training course image by Andrew Breeden from

Camouflage is man's way of mimicking nature, in order to blend in. Artfully painting machines and uniforms to meld into the environment gives you a tactical advantage, as you can see but not be seen. To add a camo pattern to an object, first you must determine the environment you want it to blend into, be it the forest, desert or digital space. Create patterns using the environment as a reference to freehand draw shapes, and select spray paint colours that will work with the pattern to give you a realistic result.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Matt spray paint in dark, medium and light shades of same colour
  • Chalk in contrasting colour

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  1. 1

    Pick matt spray paint colours that fit with the environment you are trying to blend into. Choose three shades -- dark, medium and light -- of the same colour for a camo colour palette. For a forest camo, choose black, dark green and light green. For a desert camo, choose dark brown, medium brown and light brown. For digital camo, choose black, grey and navy blue.

  2. 2

    Spray the object with the darkest colour of the colour scheme selected. Hold spray paint 6 to 8 inches from surface, and use long sweeping motions to avoid harsh start and stop lines. Apply an even coat. Let dry.

  3. 3

    Examine the environment you are trying to mimic, either in pictures or in person. Create a pattern freehand on the object. Draw chalk lines in a contrasting colour from the basecoat to correspond with effect you'd like to achieve: foliage-like shapes for forest camo, long, wavy shapes for desert camo and blocky, pixel-esque shapes for digital camo.

  4. 4

    Spray medium colour onto the pattern, following the chalk lines. Do not coat the entire object; let some base colour show through. Let dry.

  5. 5

    Spray the lightest colour onto the object to highlight certain pattern areas. Let both the basecoat and the second coat show through to create a textured appearance. Let it dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Work outside or in a well-ventilated area when working with spray paint.

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