Pine Needle Camouflage Paint Jobs.




This instructable will illustrate the steps one should take to create a pine needle camouflage pattern by using spray paint. Pine straw camo is great for paint ball, hunters, camping, birdwatching, or any situation in which you wish to conceal something in a pineland/scrub/brush setting. This is not my original idea, in fact you can find something similiar all over the net. Special thanks to the guys at arfcom for the inspiration.

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Step 1: Gather Materials


Spray paint :: (colors of your choosing, I recommend greens, browns, and other earth tones, the rust color below looks just like a pine needle.) I used Rustoleum's camo colors for obvious reasons, but most important feature to look for is an ultra-flat or matte paint.

Pine needles:: The most important material in this instructable. get enough to fully cover the object to be painted. In this example it is a paint ball hopper and a 7.62x39 magazine. You can choose to quickly grab pine needles off the ground, leaving whatever leaves, sticks and other vegetation might be stuck to them, or clean the and bundle them neatly, it's your call. One yields more masking surfaces, the latter yields a cleaner more sharply defined line.

Object to be painted:: In this case a paintball hopper and a AK Mag.

Pizza box, newspaper or other barrier:: To catch overspray.

Dust Mask- Think Safety
Safety Glasses
Razor-For Trim work
Fishing line- To hang parts to dry.
Masking Tape-Obvious.
Sandpaper- to rough up surfaces

Step 2: Prepare Surfaces

Prepare all surfaces to be painted.

Lightly rough up shiny surfaces.
Degrease, wash, and otherwise clean the surface for best paint adhesion.
Mask surfaces that won't be painted.
Prep pineneedles if you so desire, by cleaning and separating out only pine needles.
Set your spray booth/newspaper/pizzabox or otherwise up and prepare to spray.

Plastic Surfaces:: Now is the time to use the plastic primer, spray 2 light coats of primer on your object so that the surface is covered. There's no need to pile the primer on. You may choose to prime other surfaces, but keep in mind that your trying to get an ultra-dull finish in the end.

Also, If you haven't done so go outside and pickup your pineneedles.

Step 3: Base Coat

Lay down an even base coat to all sides of your work piece. I found it's easier and less time consuming to simply hang the piece and evenly spray from all sides. Light coats work best so don't rush it! Everyone hates sanding bubbles and runs, so take your time, the base coat is the most important in this setup.

Also be sure to remember that the base color will be the color of the "needle" in the final product. Since I am in West Central Florida, Pine needles on the ground are typically this brown/rust color, as such I wanted my needles that same color. Be sure to plan your colors out ahead of time, typically working from light to dark, or dominant color to less dominant.

Step 4: Second Color

This step will create your first set of needle outlines, and is probably the second most gratifying step in the whole process.

This will be your second most dominant color, so lay down a few (the least of all the steps) needles across the work piece. It is imperative that the needles be pressed against the work piece otherwise your lines will be blurry. Use your judgement on how many needles you want to use, heck practice on the pizza box. Use just enough needles to still see your base color.

Spray in even quick strokes across the work piece. You should use crosshatching (XX) spray patterns or slashes (/) to lay the paint down. In doing so you'll create the camo pattern interleaves.

Note: I sprayed the Tan color in the pics below all around because I wanted to lighten the piece up. Ordinarily I would Slash.

Step 5: Third, Fourth, and Fifth Colors.

Add more pine needles and spray using a slash pattern, the third color should use less strokes than the second, the fourth color even less and so on... adding needles lets less paint through, so the last color should be the one you want the least of.

As a matter of preference you can choose to leave the original needles on or remove them after each step, If I had to do it again I would have made the original pattern tighter and left them on and added needles for each color. In fact the AK Mag was done this way and I liked the results better, they didn't show up on film but the finished product looks amazing in person.

After you've finished one side, do the other, don't worry about exact pattern match, remember if you look at the brush there's all kinds of shading, colors and light that changes the way you perceive that environment this adds that effect.

Remember if you don't like your pattern, paint the base on and start over. This is really easy to do and change so have fun!

I've included some other early works, as I write this I have a Mask that is drying and I will include pics later.

Please add questions, comments and pics of your jobs too!

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    22 Discussions

    Wow dude! Absolutely beautiful! This is a lot easier than I thought it would be.
    I ought to try this with my airbrush, I'd imagine getting thinner lines with it will add to the effect. Thanks for sharing this man!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    They're pretty reliable. Only tho the newer one's are kinda built poorly. Such as the 2006 ver. GTI. They kinda suck, and I have one. Leaks everywhere. Luckly, I know how to fix them. But the one in this instructable is a EVO. Nice maker, pretty reliable.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    ive got a few ideas for my new gun, but idk if i want to cammo-ize it or give it a really bright paint job... i'll be playing mostly in the woods so ill probably do something like this... could you do it with regular leaves?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Those look great, I just finished my mask and the Piranna e-force the other day. I see you masked the goggles too!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. My brother-in-law did the rim around the goggles. I just left my black (out of laziness I guess). It was actually a lot of fun! We were trying to think of other stuff we could "como-ize". We only spent about $15 total. $5 for each color paint. Now I just gotta find a way to keep it from scratching so easily. I'm going to try a clear enamel coat. I'll post the results when I finish.


    11 years ago on Step 5

    That's sweet, I like the handle on the right side, it sort of looks like pearl grips from a knife or a revolver.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    what kind of marker is that? it looks like a JT, autococker, or a spyder


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, im getting in to woodsball and this will help, im going to do this when i get spray.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    A nice idea I hadn't come across before, and well documented (nice photos!). Looking at your last picture of the hopper, I'd be tempted to put small amounts (ie lots of pine needles, few gaps) of a much darker colour to break up the outline- the colour effect you've got is good but still slightly homogeneous (sp?), and to my eye small amounts of much darker brown would provide the outline disruption as well as simple colour matching.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You're absolutely right. The gun and the Magazine are both dark with better brown shading, unfortunately I was unable to capture it on film, both bad lighting and poor camera work on my end. I've also seen this done with needles from a corn husk broom where you can hold the needle to the intended work space and spray small sections at a time, so you can pinpoint your patterning.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool. I wonder if you could use stretchy stuff, like the mesh plastic bags that fruit comes in, to press the needles against the piece while allowing paint through. If the mesh doesn't touch, it would be "out of focus", and shouldn't leave its own pattern on the piece, assuming the strands are sufficiently thin...