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[Review+Video] How to Paint Your AR with Stencils: MultiCam Version

Have you ever wanted to paint your AR-15, but in MultiCam? We have! So, we stocked up on the aerosol paint and gave it a try. Come learn how to do your own!

Have you ever thought to yourself…I want to paint my AR, but make it MultiCam?

Because I have. (That’s what happens when you have an art kid brain, an AR-15, and some time on your hands…)

MultiCam AR Painting
MultiCam AR!

So, I grabbed some spray paint and went to town on an Aero AR…three times because it’s not as easy as it looks.

Come along with me as I show you how to make your AR-15 really stand out, and hopefully, you don’t have to do it three times as I did – i.e., learn from my mistakes.

If you’d rather the painting process, check out the video below.

As always, head over to Pew Pew Tactical on YouTube to see more guns and gear.

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The Supplies

While the colors would probably be easier to replicate with an airbrush and Cerakote paints — if you’re really determined — I personally prefer aerosol model paints.

I ultimately settled on a mixture of aerosol paints from both Model Masters and a nice matte tan color from Montana.

MultiCam AR Painting

To create that loveable MultiCam look, you’ll need some stencils. For this project, I used the MultiCam Shape Stencil Pack from Freedom Stencils. It did the job quite well, in my opinion.

And of course, you need an AR. I’m using an Aero Precision M5 for this build.

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With tools in hand, let’s get to painting!

How To Paint Your AR – MultiCam Version

1. Apply Your Light Base Layer

So, first things first here…

As you can see right off the bat, I’m painting over a previous failed attempt at getting both this pattern and the color to work.

MultiCam AR Painting White Base Layer
I applied the whiteish base.

For the first layer, I sprayed on Modern Desert Sand from Model Masters.

After you give the gun a nice and even coat — avoiding build-up and letting it dry so that it’s no longer tacky — it’s on to your first layer of stencils.

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2. Apply Stencils and Darkest Paint Coat

Again, I used the MultiCam Shape Stencil Pack from Freedom Stencils. If you look at MultiCam Arid, you’ll notice that the “highest” layer will be your whiteish tan one.

 MultiCam AR Painting Apply Stencils
Apply those stencils.

It manifests throughout the pattern as a series of medium-sized splotches whose ends or tips are usually pointed downward.

Additionally, the white-ish tan layer is not spread uniformly across the pattern, instead appearing in clusters that run in a slashing motion at almost a 45-degree angle. This leaves more space for other colors that will eventually be underneath it. 

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at Freedom Stencils

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Next, we’re going to move to our darkest coat.

I used Testor’s Model Masters Light Earth Aerosol for this layer to give it a nice, darker brown color.

If this is your first-time using stencils, like it was mine, it might be hard to wrap your head around the concept.

But we’re applying the darker paint over the stencils to protect the white sand layer in the stenciled spots.

MultiCam AR Painting Apply Darkest Coat
Apply the darkest coat over the stencils.

This allows us to begin applying the other colors but preserve the white-ish pattern underneath.  Spray the whole gun, avoid any buildup or overspray if possible.

And then grab those stencils because it’s stencil time once more.

3. Apply Another Layer of Stencils & Add Greenish Paint

Grab the more medium-sized stencils from the same sheet as your sandy white layer and begin laying them down on the gun in a similar manner…with a few key differences, though.

To me, the darkest layer of brown in MultiCam Arid looks like it generally occupies more space on the gun than the white top layer.

MultiCam AR Painting Add Second Layer Stencils
Add more stencils.

While some areas are to be left void, get comfortable with making these stencils a little bit more claustrophobic.

Make sure you’re using more of those small, splotchy circles in the pattern for this layer, as well as overlaying at least some of the dark brown stencils over our last layer’s stencils.

From there, you’re good to move on to the next layer of paint.

MultiCam AR Painting Green Layer Paint
Adding a sandy green coat of paint.

Mine was a sort of sandy khaki greenish color that I had a hell of a time finding in an aerosol.

Eventually, I settled on Model Masters Strategic Air Command Tan that Is prayed over the entirety of the gun.

4. Add Final Stencils and Final Layer of Tan Paint

We’re now in the home stretch!

You’re now going to move on to some of the larger, more complex shapes in your stencil pack.

MultiCam AR Painting Add Third Layer Stencils
Final layer of stencils!

As these stencils are much larger, have them occupy both open space and intersect previous stencils.

I opted for a tan color called Marrakech in the Montana 94 can line for the final layer.

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at Amazon

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I felt it fit the color profile I was looking for much better than other options.

MultiCam AR Painting Final Tan Paint Layer
Top it off with a final layer of tan-ish paint.

5. Remove All Stencils

Once the final layer of tan paint is dry, begin removing every stencil layer to reveal the masterpiece before you.

 MultiCam AR Painting Remove Stencils
Remove Stencils

Ta-da! You’re done!

Conclusion

Hopefully, this gives you a fundamental understanding of how I achieved the MultiCam pattern by painting from the top layer down.

MultiCam AR Painting

If it still hasn’t clicked yet, don’t beat yourself up. It literally took me three tries to get anything remotely passable.

Overall, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. You don’t necessarily have to follow my instructions to a tee. In fact, I think experimenting is one of the most fun parts of rifle arts and crafts time.

 MultiCam AR Painting

But hopefully, this at least gave you a starting point. So, give it a shot and let me know how it went for you!

To watch me paint this again, check out the video below.

Have you painted an AR or any gun before? Let us know how it went in the comments below! For a more basic paint job, check out our piece on How To Paint Your AR-15.

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6 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Cruiser51

    Nice article. I would like to know after all the paint coats applied to the rifle, did you experience any change in the operation of the safety selector, mag release, bolt release, stock adjustment and smoothness of the trigger?

    November 27, 2021 4:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ryan

    The hipsters over at Squid Bikes know a thing or two regarding spray paint. Might be useful in painting your stick.
    Check them out at squidbikes.

    November 26, 2021 2:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    SEH

    Outstanding tutorial on painting a rifle. People underestimate how important this can be for hunting, a large all black rifle can really stand out against your normal camo patterns!

    November 26, 2021 10:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John

      Seriously? You mean after literally millions of people hunting with "a large all black rifle" over these many many years and bagging all sorts of game your main concern is a rifle that's a color 99% of common game animals can't differentiate anyway?

      For example; Deer have very limited color vision and can only identify middle green wavelength and short blue wavelength. So they can see yellow, blue, and gray colors better than other colors but still very poorly. Their optical system is not sensitive to dark and blaze colors like orange, pink, red and black color and they perceive these colors as yellow or gray. Painting the rifle a camo pattern is not going to help at all, any camo pattern to them that does not contain yellow, blue, and/or gray all looks grey to them as does the color black. The colors deer see best are Yellow, Blue, Gray, White, Green - so, for example, if you used the MultiCam pattern colors in this article the deer are more likely to see the rifle because the colors used will reflect light in the middle green wavelength and short blue wavelength ranges (especially the green and FDE colors). Black is the least easy color for deer to see, and when they do see it at close range it appears as Grey to them, if your background is the darkened wooded colors or you are in shadows they can't see the black at all, if you are in the open they are least likely to detect black.

      November 29, 2021 8:28 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        SEH

        I think its awesome that you researched the color spectrum that deer can see, but as someone who has spent most of his years hunting different game all across the country from the west coast to the east, there is many other game out there other than deer. Studies have shown that Bear and Turkeys are able to differentiate the different spectrums of color, and can therefor identify things based upon color. A full black rifle may be great for hunting dear, but you have to know your target animal. If you use a camouflage pattern that is specifically designed for that animal, then you're doing great. On a side note, I don't know why my comment on this triggered you so heavily, maybe you should just go outside, take a breath and realize that other people have different experiences than you :)

        November 29, 2021 8:50 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          John

          It didn't really trigger me, I mean not against you or what you said specifically. Its just that I had a couple of days running into the "best thing since sliced bread' sentiment for a lot of things in the gun world that overall are just digging the money and time pit deeper with no real usefulness or being done for the wrong reason and one creates a "justification" for having it. Your post was sort of upbeat like one of those.

          I apologize to you for doing it.

          November 30, 2021 10:34 am
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