DIY Digi-Camo Paint Job the Easy Way

Over at the KTOG (Kel-Tec Owner’s Group) Tim Tackett posted up a how-to-guide to painting digital camouflage on guns.

He basically uses a natural sea sponge and dabs on the paint. It is not quite digital, but the results are not too bad. There are some specific tips of things to avoid due to the nature of the paint he uses.

He uses Aervoe Military spray paint. You can find it here.


It comes in a decent palate of colors.


Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • The_Sargentos

    Dabbing on spray paint defeats the purpose somewhat. Plus three colours will cost $97 all up.

  • Candu
    • Actually, those kits require the use of a stencil. If I understand the article that is linked to, the whole point to this method is to not use a stencil. The upsides in not using a stencil: saves time and gives a more organic feel instead of the harder edges of a true digital pattern.

      • hami

        I think the idea is that at any realistic distance the hard edges can’t be seen in a digital camo paint job.

      • Yellow Devil

        I could be wrong about this, but I read somewhere that the term “digital” when referencing camo isn’t so much because of the blocky shapes, but the programming method the camo was produced. So technically, Multicam is digital, but they designed it to appear more organic.

        • Geodkyt

          True. “Digital” refers to generating the pattern. Lots of “non-blocky” camoflage patterns are “digital”.

          The term for the “blocky” camoflage pattern is “pixel” or “pixellated”. It can be created without using digital processes. And was, when the US Army first experimented with it in the early 1970’s. . .

        • n0truscotsman

          That came from I believe and I consider it reliable

          The Soviets had “digital/pixel” patterned camo back in World War 2, but that doesn’t make it “digital”. Rather interesting situation that confused me at first 😀

      • iksnilol

        The hard edges are an advantage, makes it blend in easier. I know it sounds wierd but try it once. Take a piece of woodland camo and one of digital woodland. Then put them in the forest, maybe 10 meters from eachother. Stand a bit away and see which one is easier to see.

        • Geodkyt

          The pixellation frequently “confuses the brain” (depends on other environmental characteristics, including pixel size to target size, color matches, etc., as to how well it does that). There are no shapes the brain can recognize, because it blends together in a non-organic (yet still “not a big straight line”) fashion.

          Many non-pixellated patterns have shapes large enough to be “seen” as discrete “objects”, thus somewhat reducing camoflage performance.

          Camoflage development is literally a post-doctorate level of expertise at the highest levels. Luckily, even the relatively “crappy” patterns in modern use are better than what was available 30 years ago – so long as the color palette doesn’t totally bone you (UCP, I’m looking at YOU {grin}).

        • n0truscotsman

          If they are of similar color, then there will be no difference.

          The key is how they are applied: is the wearer matching camouflage with the foliage? taking advantage of the shadows in the tree or grass line? taking advantage of being outside the “normal” planes of where people typically search for people?

          I never understood the “logic” behind getting bent out of shape over patterns when colors and how they’re applied are the determining factors for camouflage effectiveness. In a desert, beyond 100 meters, will one be able to tell the difference between MARPAT desert and US4CES or any other new ‘desert” pattern out? probably not. I know guy cramer would throw a hissy fit over my statement, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

  • gunslinger

    i don’t know if have the time…lol

  • n0truscotsman


    When you camo your rifle, you are trying to get rid of the black and create some sort of rough pattern that will hide the reflection of the weapon and give it more natural appeal to the environment, hence “camouflage”.

    If a bad guy is beyond 25 meters, will they be able to tell the difference in effectiveness between digital camo or a 30 minute job consisting of spraying the entire rifle with tan krylon and giving it green and brown, angled, vertical “strafes”? of course not.

    reptilian and “laundry bag” type patterns look neat though.

  • Peter B

    Book title: Faux Finishing for Firearms

  • rico lib

    Been doing Camo’s for 2 decades. The human eye cannot discern all these very fine details at any distance other than being close up. All of it merges together. But there are subtle ways of controlling color in layers and with regard to one color next to another and the use of colors compatible with nature and also importantly the understanding and application of colors being warm and colors that are cool and their adjacent placements which should alternate often. And yes it should be attempted to apply colors with a technique used to intermixed diverse colors broken apart or ‘sprinkled’ per say. Yet colors that are too small and too close lose its effect even at a short distance. Field Expedient Time may be lost too. Geometric patterns (without straight or sharp lines) that can be seen at a distance along with warm and cool colors (found in the particular environment one is presently operating in) are what really makes the Art of Camo work. The effort of this Art Form seeks to ”Fool the Eye” thus ”Fool the Mind”. Inexpensive yet durable paints work just fine. No need at all to pay big dollars for paint. Krylon is great stuff. Just be sure to use a FLAT Clear Coating once the job is complete. So go ahead and use gloss colors if you find that ‘just right color’ but be certain to mute it with a enough Flat Clear Coating to get the right nonreflective look.. Paint as early in advance as possible to avoid the odors of chemicals contained in spray paints. This can take weeks even. Do NOT store the painted item in a closed container as it can retain that terrible and noticeable odor. It must be in open air to best release odors and to cure harden the paint. The great benefit of spays is that they can be easily redone and fast too. Keep this kind of paint totally away from inside the gun and vital parts. For Exterior Use only,. Use paint on parts of gun that are not likely to be exposed to solvents to avoid ”goo” mess…. receiver, bolt chamber etc. I have lost any like of Rustoleum since it both stinks and is not the great paint that it once once… at least the spray cans variety.

  • rico lib

    recomment : the painted item may be stored certainly .. but only AFTER the paint is allowed to thoroughly dry/cure/release odors.

  • LeeC

    I seem to recall reading that ‘pixelated’ patterns were designed to fool digital optical devices such as night scopes. I’ve used sponged colors on ceramics which led me to experiment with it elsewhere. The effect is quite good for a homemade paint job as described in this article. Give it a try, I think you will be surprised at how well you do! Bring out your inner artist.