Nerf Guns: half awesome fun, half picking up foam bullets. Fact of the matter is, the color schemes are about as menacing as a rainbow. With bright colors and a chunky frame, you Nerf-emies will see you comin’ a mile away.

But what if you could paint your toy gun arsenal to make it strike fear into the hearts of your opponents? For years, Nerf enthusiasts have been painting and modifying their toy blasters to lvel-up their look, and with this Nerf Gun Painting Guide from the Nerf Gun Center, you can too.

The guide is 11 chapters, each with in-depth videos, images, and the step-by-step to turn your yellow blaster into a military-looking pistol with custom stock and suppressor. Let’s go through the process:

1. Sanding Your Nerf Gun

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Pretty simple, this one. Starting with a 100-grit sandpaper and finishing with a 220-grit, you will slowly whittle down the paint around your Nerf gun. This makes the surface less glossy and slick and makes it a lot easier to paint afterwards.

2. Use A Dremel Tool to Blast Marks

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To continue the whittling down process, use a Dremel tool at low speed to blast out the Nerf logo, excess markings, and give your gun a dirty, used look. Unlike any base Nerf gun, you want your custom build to look like it’s been through a war in which people use actual bullets.

3. Clean The Gun Afterwards

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With all that dust and residue from the sanding, you’ll want to use a soapy sponge and some water to wash your Nerf gun clean. You can also use a toothbrush to reach those cramped areas before wiping it all down with a micro-fiber cloth or airing it out to dry.

4. Spray Some Primer

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Any good paint job starts by applying some primer as a base, so lay your blaster parts on a piece of wood and spray a few thin layers of the stuff all over them. The wood board makes it easier to rotate the parts and spray them from different angles, cutting down on hand contact with the individual pieces.

5. Apply A Base Coat of Paint

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Now you can finally get to painting. Depending on what appearance you want your Nerf gun to have, spraying it either white or black first will have varying results.

Spraying the blaster black with result in the more metallic look you see in real guns. Spraying it white on the other hand makes it look more like a sci-fi space blaster. No matter which coat you choose, either one will end up looking way cooler than the base Nerf colors.

6. Place Some Tape For The Accents

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With your base coat down and dried, you can now tape around the blaster to ready it for the accents. These tape strips provide an easy stencil to paint over and reduces the risk of the second and third colors running off and bleeding into the base coat.

7. Spray On The Accent Coat

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Unlike the base coat where you can kind of spray willy-nilly, applying the accent coat needs a lot more finesse and control to prevent it from damaging the rest of the paintjob. Make sure the overspray hits the pieces of tape you put in the earlier step.

Should you mess up (and you will mess up), you should wait for it to dry first and retouch it later when putting on the final details.

8. Misting The Gun

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Using two contrasting colors, you can create a misted color which dulls out the shine of the paint and gives the Nerf gun a more muted look. Misting also helps add texture to your blaster’s surfaces, making it look more like a real gun instead of something made of plastic.

9. Use Stencils to Add Decals

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If you don’t have the resources to professionally laminate a piece of paper, you can achieve a similar effect by covering your design in clear packaging tape, cutting the pattern out with an X-ACTO blade, and placing it on the area of the blaster you want to spray it on.

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Once the stencil is on, you can use a small brush or sponge to apply your desired paint onto the blaster. Lightly dab (not brush) the color onto the stencil while firmly holding it in place.

10. Add Details to The Nerf Gun

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There are many ways to add extra details to the blaster once it’s been painted, but for this guide they use a paint called Rub ‘n Buff which gives the gun a more aged look. This paint is quite expensive so to mimic the same effect on a cheaper level, you can use two acrylic paints mixed with a clear polyacrylic finish.

This is also the step where you can fix your mistakes with the accent painting. If the paint has run off into the base coat, lightly paint over it with the base colors.

11. Finish Off With A Clear Coat

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To finish everything off, spray a clear coat over the entire Nerf gun to preserve the completed paintjob. Choosing your clear coat largely depends on whether you want a shine on your gun or not, so make sure to plan accordingly before spraying over your work.

Just like with the primer, you can place the Nerf gun on a wooden board to make it easier to spray it from different angles.

As mentioned earlier, this is just an overview of the in-depth guide you can find on the Nerf Gun Center webpage. Follow the steps there and you’ll have a professional, totally-not-plastic-looking Nerf gun to intimidate your family and friends with in no time!


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.