Straight from the box, Nerf guns are clearly plastic toy blasters. It certainly doesn’t help that they are often bright neon orange, yellow, or blue. While there’s nothing wrong with leaving Nerf guns as they are, doing a personalized paint job on your newest acquisition can make it uniquely yours.
Just doing a quick Google search can show you the amazing ways a Nerf gun can become a work of art after skillful application of paint. Nerf guns have been painted to look sci-fi, steampunk, realistically battle-worn, and even perfectly replicate guns from the Borderlands and Mass Effect video game series.
Here are some basic painting tips for adding customized color to your Nerf gun:
There are ways to paint your Nerf gun without disassembling it, however, that can be difficult and result in a less polished paint job. Since your blaster probably has complex parts that can’t be easily painted while assembled, taking it apart is usually a better course of action.
That being said: If you want it back in working order, don’t just take out the screws and begin laying your Nerf gun out in a million pieces! Be careful as you open the top, keep track of all the springs and screws (labeled Ziplocs usually works well), and most importantly, take pictures of how the innards are supposed to fit together.
You can sand by hand or using a dremel tool. While this step can be tedious, sanding your Nerf gun panels is worth it as it gives the paint more surface area to bond to. You’ll want to take your time and sand until the plastic feels rough. If you’re worried about making deep scratches that the paint won’t cover, use low grit sandpaper.
Depending on how you want your Nerf gun to look in the end, you’ll want to tape off certain parts. This is especially important if you want to keep some of the original color, make different colored sections, or do some sort of striped/alternating colors design. Scotch 3M light blue painters tape is what is often recommended by modders, since it was made for painting and won’t leave a sticky residue like duck or masking tape.
Nerf guns are made of slick, smooth plastic, meaning that just any type of paint won’t work. You have to use a special type of spray paint made for plastics. One brand that is famous among Nerf gun modders for bonding well and lasting a long time is Krylon Fusion. You’ll need whatever colors you want as well as black.
Some prefer using regular black spray paint rather than Fusion black, while others prefer the other way around. Whatever you choose, use should use some form of black spray paint as an under layer so if your paint job gets scratched, you don’t have the original neon poking through. If you’re new to painting Nerf guns, stick to just painting the outside panels, as you can easily clog up the innards. Once this black primer layer has dried, you can begin taping and painting the main body coat into the style of your choice.
Don’t forget to spray each painted panel with sealant before reassembling, and let us know what awesome color scheme you used in the comments!