Paint a Nerf Gun (n-strike Maverick)




Introduction: Paint a Nerf Gun (n-strike Maverick)

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my first ible! today i am going to show you how to paint a nerf gun. I will be using a Nerf N-Strike Maverick rev 6 (available for 8-10$ but if you have a gun you dont mind taking apart you can use that) 

Step 1: Materials

A nerf gun (of your choice, but again i will be using a Maverick)
Some plastic spray paint (krylon fusion plastic works well) one can of black and any number of other colors you want to use.
An exacto knife
some general purpose sand paper (or low grit if you want to minimize the risk of making scratches the paint wont cover)
some blue painting tape
a small philips head screw driver (I refer to these as tweakers)
and a cardboard surface for painting on top of (a grassy gun is no fun and mom probably wont be happy if you paint her driveway)

Step 2: Disassemble

For the sake of time and fact that there are numerous different nerf guns i have already taken my maverick apart. There is a wonderful tear down of this gun on

  It was highly useful as at one point i forgot where a spring went upon putting it back together. if you have a gun that does not have a teardown or you cant find a video or forum with one, take pictures of the guts before you start pulling things off, and be sure to get multiples incase a screw or spring is under a piece you remove. 

use your tweaker to unscrew all the screws in the guns shell and put them aside in a safe place where none of them will roll away (the last thing you want is to not be able to put your gun back together) gently pry the gun apart and you will see the beautiful orange and bright colored plastic that makes up the inner workings of your gun! 

now that you are inside your gun you should remove all the pieces that make the gun shoot and then anything else you dont want to paint

Step 3: Sand

now that you have removed all the parts you do not want to paint, get your sand paper and lightly sand every piece that you plan to paint sanding the pieces makes a better surface for the paint to stick to and will help it last longer under the grip of your hands.

if you are using the lower grit sandpaper you may have to use more of it to sand the whole thing.

after sanding the pieces you want to rinse them with water to get all the plastic dust off, painting on top of that dust will cause the paint to come off easier than if you had not sanded at all!

I am sorry i have no pictures for this step, i had already painted my gun when I decided to make this ible :/ 

Step 4: Paint Base Coat

Now that you have sanded down and rinsed all the pieces of the gun that you want to paint, you want to make sure they are dry and place them on your painting surface, then cover them with two coats of black (you could probably use a gray primer and then black here as well, just make sure it will bond to plastic) this layer will help fill in some of the scratches and will make a great surface for adding extra paint. 

I used the base layer of black so that when my top layer starts to wear off it will be less noticeable, however if you dont want black to start showing through your paint when it wears off you can use multiple layers of your color of choice however this may not look as good and may require alot more painting.

HOWEVER before you get to adding your colors allow time for the base coats to dry in a dry and safe place for at least 20 to 30 minutes or you will get finger prints on that may never come out without more sanding.

Step 5: Tape

Now that your base coat has dried,  you want to tape off any areas that you want to keep black or whatever your base coat color is. the exacto knife is incredibly handy and cutting around shapes to get smooth lines (such as around the barrel dome)

Step 6: More Painting!

now that you have taped up your gun and used your exacto knife to make nice clean lines around your target areas its time to load the painting surface up with pieces again and head out to the yard (or other well ventilated painting friendly areas) and put on that shiny new finish! 

I recomend painting only one side at a time! that way you will have something to tape up while the other is drying.

make sure to get a good coat and not to miss any spots unless it is intentional If you mess up your tape job and get paint where you dont want it on the first one there are two things you can do. 
one - - you can start all over and sand paint tape paint, or 
Two - - make it look like it should be there! on the other half of the gun, do your best to replicate the same tape pattern and use the exacto knife to clean up the shapes! this happened twice on my gun and the end result actually looks kind of neat!

corners often hide from your spray cans beam so be sure to turn it if necessary or walk around the piece to get all the nooks and crannies!

after you finish painting, set your pieces in a safe dry place again to let them dry for at least 20-30 minutes, then you may check them to see if they are dry enough to handle without putting finger prints on them. 

once dry remove the tape slowly and you should end up with nice hard lines!


Step 7: Reassemble and Enjoy!

allow everything to dry and cure for a minimum of 24 hours! depending on how much paint you put on it could take up to a week to fully cure! so if your gun feels sticky i recommend letting it cure for another few days before picking it up again!

now reassemble your gun, be sure to refer to your photos from step 2 if you cant remember how everything goes together. 

enjoy your custom gun and be sure to post a pic or two for the rest of us to see! happy battles!



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    16 Discussions

    what type of paint did u use to paint it

    If you want to give it a distressed or battle-worn look, could you spray paint it with black and then silver on top then sand it a bit?

    5 replies

    If you wanted it to look like it's black underneath and then there's something silver on top that's wearing off then in theory yeah. However, it's much better to paint it your base color (I'm not sure what you are doing, I can't tell whether it would be black or silver, but that's not important) and then use model paint and dry brush it onto the edges, or wherever else you wanted to give it a worn effect. Ace hardware sells model paints and other hardware stores do too, it should be in the model or train section of the store (well duh, that's obvious, why did I need to say that?) Hobby shops would also carry paints. What gun are you painting, by the way?

    I'm hoping to custom paint a Nerf Maverick for a Christmas present. I'm not really sure on the dry brush technique. As far as painting goes, I'm not very good at it and I'm scared I'll ruin the gun. I'm probably going to paint on a Maverick as practice beforehand when I can get ahold of an extra one. If you can offer any suggestions on dry brushing I'd appreciate it.

    I'm actually also quite new to painting nerf guns. Because my (5 year old) neighbor asked me to paint his, I've got only one painted maverick (which that neighbor broke, so it's taken apart in a shoebox). But I guess I would say to get way less paint than you think you need on the brush because it's a ton easier to add more paint and just keep layering that than to get a glob on your work and have to find a way to work it off without damaging the paint underneath or have it looking nasty. It's not hard to dry brush. Just remember to work in a well ventilated area when you are painting and using paint thinner (model paints are often oil based so you have to use it).

    I'm thinking that I'm going to leave detailing for a later practice project and just try to make the one I'm working on look as if it was manufactured yesterday xD I don't want to end up ruining a gun I mean to give as a gift. I'm going to try to follow the advice I've read up on so that it looks really good. : )

    I'm sure that there will be some much more helpful blog posts or youtube videos that can help you. I'm not anywhere near as experienced.

    I'm quite lazy.. Is it really necessary to sand the entire gun? I've already disassembled and sanded off the logos and such.

    1 reply

    The paint jobs I've seen look better and last longer if everything painted gets sanded beforehand and sealed with a clear-coat afterwards.

    Excellent clear thorough instructions. Can't wait to try on a Hammershot.

    I am painting my longshot with acrylic, but you should put something clear on it to protect it because the paint can be scratched off when it is dry. :(

    the reason i used plastic specific paint is so that the paint would bond better to the shell, acrylic paint will work just fine but like legoman111 said without a clear coat it will deteriorate very quickly and peel off in little bits. i also recommend using a spray paint to get a nice smooth finish, brush strokes stick up more when the paint is dry and can actually make the paint peel faster because the ridges create more friction, it also doesn't look quite as nice :P

    if you want to play in large groups painting the tips is against the rules, and most police and authority groups want you to keep the orange tip so that it is not mistaken as a real gun, it sucks but you cant play using them without the orange tip