How to Camo Your Gun Without Spray Paint
It’s time to grab your gear, strap up your boots, and head out into nature for the love of the hunt.
Chances are, you’re not planning to wear a black jacket and pants while in the woods. In nature, black simply doesn’t work when you’re trying to stay hidden from the game’s sensitive sense of smell and eyesight. Instead, you’ll be head-to-toe camouflage to blend in.
The Secret to Camoflauge
To properly disappear into nature, it’s important to understand how camouflage works. Wearing the correct patterns and colors is key to successfully camoflauging.
The camo you wear duck hunting in Ohio marshlands in the fall will differ widely from the camo worn deer hunting in Texas.
While in desert terrain, you find yourself surrounded by tan and brown tones. While in the wetlands and marshes, layers of dark greens and dark browns cover the landscape.
Color is the key.
Depending on your game, you could find yourself hunting in different local terrain and throughout different times of the year. Take pictures of your local environment throughout the year, and choose a camouflage color that matches your hunt.
Colors that differ from your natural surroundings will stand out and grab your target’s attention immediately.
Even if you have the right color, it won’t matter if it doesn’t blend into nature’s grass and leaves. If you look at patterns in nature, very few elements are large and solid without texture and shape.
With such a wide range of camouflage styles on the market, you have many ways to explore which will be right for you. Consider buying a pattern that best matches your local nature.
Gun Vinyl Wraps
It’s time to sit down at your workbench or kitchen table and change everything you thought about changing the look of your gun. Forget the days of rattle can paint and sending your guns off to be ceramic coatings. The advantage of GunSkins vinyl wraps can’t be beaten and can be applied at home by you.
We encourage you to gather the following:
- A bowl of warm water
- Synthetic brush or unused toothbrush
- FrogLube Solvent or a few drops of dish soap
- Clean rags
- GunSkins vinyl sheet
- A heat gun or hairdryer
- Squeegee cards
- Razor blade
Many of these tools can be purchased as a kit through GunSkins, saving you time and ensuring you get exactly what you need to wrap your gun.
Before you can wrap your equipment, you’ll need to have an in-depth understanding of how it operates and how it can be disassembled.
You can wrap shotguns, rifles, revolvers, pistols, and other gear with ease and confidence.
Disassembling your gear will allow you to properly clean and wrap each individual piece, giving you access to otherwise difficult nooks and crannies.
Keep track of what components you’ll be wrapping, such as the main slide, grips, stocks, and barrels. Adding vinyl will add a small thickness to your parts, which is why you should avoid wrapping interior and moving components such as your trigger or mag release buttons.
Once you’ve disassembled your gun, it’s time to clean your gun, but this cleaning is a bit different than normal.
Normally, you would use oils and other conditioners that clean and protect your guns from the elements. In this cleaning, you will focus on stripping away these oils and protectants, allowing the vinyl films to adhere to the plastics and metals better.
A great way to strip away these oils is the use of dish soaps or FrogLube Solvent.
Dish soaps break down oils and grime for easy washing. Add a few drops of dish soap into a bowl of warm water. Using a synthetic brush, scrub the carbon deposits and other contaminants from your guns.
Using a clean rag, dry your pieces and wipe away any lifted material.
Repeat the process until your parts are as clean as possible.
Clean Your Work Area
Now that your parts are clean, remove all unneeded tools from the work area, pulling out the GunSkins vinyl sheet, heat gun, squeegee card, and razor blade.
Leaving carbon or unneeded tools in the area could lead to contamination on your vinyl adhesive. This could come from your fingers or the slight magnetic tension created when you peel the vinyl. Why risk it? Wipe down your work surface and wash your hands.
Stick Your Vinyl
Now that your parts and area are cleaned, it’s time to peel back the vinyl and apply it to your gear.
When you peel the vinyl, you’ll notice the vinyl is tacky to the touch, but it doesn't feel extremely sticky. This is because the adhesive is activated by heat from a heat gun or other source.
Apply the vinyl to your gun, ensuring that the vinyl is aligned exactly where you need it. If you find the design isn’t aligned where you want it, you can peel the sheet back up, realign it, and re-apply it to your gun once again.
Heat and Squeegee
Since the adhesive on the vinyl is activated using heat, use your heat gun to warm the vinyl evenly. As the vinyl heats, you’ll be able to pull and stretch it around curves and allow you to use the squeegee card to press the vinyl into every nook, cranny, and crease.
As you heat the vinyl, the adhesive will become more fluid and attach to the metal and plastics microscopic rough surfaces. As the vinyl cools, the adhesive becomes strong and binding, giving you a highly durable finish.
If you find an area that needs adjustment, simply reheat the vinyl, and you’ll be able to lift and stretch the vinyl for a perfect finish.
Once your gear is wrapped, you’ll need to trim the edges and overlaps to lay correctly.
When trimming, it’s essential you use a sharp new razor blade. Any dullness or chips in a blade will grab the vinyl and cause a tear instead of a clean cut. When you use a sharp blade, it should cut simply and smoothly, giving you a clean outcome.
For sharp edges, such as the edge of pistol slides, press the razor’s tip along the edge, slowly pulling the blade along the edge as you slightly pull the vinyl, adding tension. Take your time near the tips or edges to ensure you cut clean angles.
When vinyl overlaps, such as along a barrel, first lay the vinyl flat allowing a partial overlap. Press the layer straight into the vinyl, cutting through both layers. Cut along your entire seam. Along the top, you should be able to remove a thin line of scraps. Next, lift the edge of your vinyl to pull out the scraps tucked underneath.
The two sides will now lay together with a flawless seam. Heat the seam to activate the adhesive, and press the edges down and together.
What to Avoid
When heating and stretching the vinyl, you need to take your time and avoid a few mistakes that could otherwise cause issues.
Don’t contaminate. Contamination and damage to the vinyl will reduce the ability to adhere and create a smooth, durable finish.
Don’t overstretch. While GunSkins vinyl sheets are designed to be stretched around the shape of your gun, overstretching could create unwanted outcomes. First, when purchasing a design you truly enjoy, you may stretch and distort the images giving you a less ideal look. Overstretching also creates tension, which over time and use, could cause the vinyl to lift. Instead, try to apply the vinyl as smoothly as possible, only stretching around the edges and curves.
- Don’t overlap. The vinyl performs best when it sits flat against your gun and adheres to plastics and metals. By overlapping the vinyl, you create a high point that could snag and cause issues. Instead, momentarily overlap the vinyl and, using the razor blade, cut through both pieces of material simultaneously. Remove the trimmings, and the two ends should sit together perfectly, even if your straight cut isn’t so straight.
Your guns and gear take a beating.
Your carry pieces are pulled in and out of your holster, taken with you everywhere regardless of the weather. When hunting, your gear may find itself pulled through the brush, twigs, and being leaned against trees and logs.
GunSkins protective vinyl wraps reduce the risk of scratches and rust, and further damage over time. Over time, your wrap may become scratched as it protects your gear. Simply heat the wrap with your heat gun, allowing the adhesive to become more fluid, where you can remove the old wrap and replace it with a new design.
Wrapping your gear provides you with the control and knowledge to take your guns to all-new levels. Why have a gun that looks like everyone else's? Create one-of-a-kind unique looks while protecting your passion.
Don’t forget to take your time to make your gun look great. After all, you’re building a custom gun, and the vinyl will only lay as well as you work it.
GunSkins has designed and produced a high-end USA-made product you can trust and apply from the comfort of your home. With wraps for guns, mags, gear, and more, you can customize your life with GunSkins.
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