Paint Your AR 15 Multicam

Introduction: Paint Your AR 15 Multicam

Have you ever wanted to paint your AR-15, but didn't know how?   This instructable can help.  This is how I used spray paint to create a MultiCam camouflage pattern on my rifle. 
Note: this is NOT an Airsoft gun... this is the real deal. But this would work equally well on an Airsoft gun (I think)

Check out video of the finished product!

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Step 1: Get the Supplies

For this project you will need:

-Painter's Tape
-Wax Paper
-Utility Knife
- Krylon Fusion River Rock
- Krylon Camouflage Brown
- Krylon Camouflage Olive
- Rustoleum Satin Nutmeg
- Krylon Fusion Satin Khaki
- Rustoleum Deep Forest Green
- Rustoleum Matte Clear Coat
-The Guts to put spray paint on your rifle.

Step 2: Create the Camouflage Pattern

To create the camouflage pattern, you will need painters tape and wax paper.  You need a piece of wax paper about 1.5 feet long.  Then cover it in strips of painters tape, making sure to slightly overlap the strips of tape.

Once one side is covered, flip the sheet over and cover the other side in the same fashion.

You will end up with a "sandwich", with wax paper in between two sheets of tape.

Next, draw lots of freehand blotches ranging in size from very small to about the size of your hand.

Once you have lots of blotches, start cutting them out using a utility knife.  Be sure to cut over a cutting board, you will be making LOTS of cuts.

Step 3: Clean and Tape Your Rifle

Make sure your rifle has no oil on it, if it does the paint wont stick.  Once your rifle is clean, its time to remove the bolt and tape up anything you don't want painted.  I stuck twisted up aluminum foil into the end of the barrel to plug it.  I also taped over the serial number, trigger, and front sight post..  You may want to tape the barrel to keep it black, or tape the buffer tube to keep the stock from possibly binding; but I painted basically everything. 

If you are painting magazines, tape off everything that enters the magazine well to prevent magazines sticking in the weapon, I painted two of my P-Mags, which have a clear window in the side, which also had to be covered..  I also painted my ACOG. I taped off the lens openings and the part along the top that collects light.

One note, if you choose to remove the charging handle, make sure to cover the hole it leaves, you don't want to be painting the inside of your rifle, especially where the bolt slides.

Step 4: Time to Start Painting

Now comes the moment of truth... painting your rifle.

You want to lay down a base coat of River Rock, which will become your "white" part of the camo.   Two light coats should be perfect.

Note: I painted one side at a time, then flipped it over and painted the other side.  Before I flipped it, I waited at least an hour to make sure the paint was dry enough so that it wouldn't stick to the board and pull off.

Step 5: Place Your "Stickers"

Once your paint has thoroughly dried (I waited overnight for every coat) you can place your blotch stickers wherever you think will look good.  The white parts in MultiCam are usually grouped together, and usually small. 

Remember that sometimes LESS IS MORE.

Step 6: Add the Brown

Once your stickers are on, paint a Krylon Camo Brown coat.  Once this coat is completely dry, add some more stickers.  The Browns are grouped together, and not evenly distributed.  Just put them in groups where they look good.  There are slightly more of these than the whites.

I don't have pictures of the stickers before I painted over them.

Step 7: Paint the Nutmeg and Olive Coat

Once the brown coat is completely dry, it is time to paint the Nutmeg and Olive coat.  You will first spray the Nutmeg in a Diagonal pattern about 8 inches between stripes.  Once that has dried for about 5 minutes, use the Olive paint to fill in the gaps you left between the Nutmeg stripes.  Be sure to try to make a nice blended gradient between the two colors.  This will really make the final product look nice.

Note: Remember which way your diagonals run in this step.  Mine ran parallel to the pistol grip, that's how I remembered.

Once this coat is dry, start adding your medium to large stickers.  These should cover about half of the total surface area of your rifle, so be liberal when applying them.  Try to cover your gradients so they stand out when your paint job is complete.

Again, sorry about no sticker photos.

Step 8: Add the Khaki and Deep Forest Green Coat

This is the final coat of paint.  Remember which way your stripes went last time?  This time we're painting stripes that go the opposite way.  First lay down the Khaki stripes about 8 inches apart.  Then after about 5 minutes fill in the spaces with the Deep Forest Green.  Go for a nice blend where they meet.

Step 9: The Great Reveal

After the last coat has completely dried (overnight) you can start peeling off your stickers to reveal your new paint job.

Note: Try not to uncover the parts you want to remain original looking; ie: your font sight post, serial number, etc.  We want those to stay covered because we still have to put the clear coat on.

Step 10: Time for the Clear Coat

Now that your paint job is revealed, give it a good once-over to find any hidden stickers that you missed (I found two that I had missed...).  Now put on a coat or two of Clear Matte Coat over the whole thing to protect it from chipping or scratching and you are all done!  Once your sure its dry (overnight again) you can put on your attachments, replace the bolt, and its ready to fire.

Here is my final result

Enjoy your new paint job!

Note: With a little elbow grease and paint solvents, this paint can be completely removed if you ever get tired of this look.

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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I've read this many times and what I don't understand is how do these "stickers" stay on the rifle and not blow away as soon as you start spray painting? This isn't double sided tape, just regular painters tape sandwiching a sheet of wax paper, so there is literally nothing to hold them in place as you paint. What am I missing here?


    Reply 4 years ago

    The wax paper is just the backing, basically. You peel the painter's tape off of the wax paper after cutting it. I guess you could use a single layer of tape on the wax paper, instead of sandwiching it, but that way you get two stencils with one cut.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I started with my P Mags just to get a feel for how to do this with perfection before I start on my AR 15, but I noticed when I laid my base coat that it came out very blotchy and you could still see large parts of black. It took at least 4 layers of this coat to look nice. Did this happen to you as well or did I do something wrong? I cleaned every mag off and made sure there was no grease.


    5 years ago

    Great write-up, and the end result looks awesome. A friend recommended taking some 00 steel wool and going over the clear coat to give it a flatter finish if you want a little less shine.


    6 years ago

    Did u put the camo stickers on the gun itself before spraying on the kaki?