Skip to Content

How to Paint a Nerf Gun the Proper Way: A Complete Guide

How to Paint a Nerf Gun the Proper Way: A Complete Guide

Most Nerf guns are colored with either yellow, orange, black, or red paint, and most guns follow the same design patterns. Because many of the guns look extremely similar, you may get bored with the colors of your blasters and want to try something different. However, whether or not you have already tried painting your Nerf gun, you will find out that this task is more complicated than just putting on a new coat of paint.

So before you start to customize your Nerf blasters for your next covert mission or Nerf war with friends, keep reading to find all the step-by-step information you need to perfectly paint your Nerf guns!

Sand the Blaster

Very Fine Grit Sand Paper (Facebook Market Place)

While you might be eager to jump right into painting your Nerf blaster, there are a few tasks you need to take care of before you can get started.

Your first step to take in painting your Nerf blaster is sanding the gun down. You can use a piece of sandpaper with at least 100 to 150 grit to start and then finish with a higher grit. Get some sandpaper for your Nerf gun project off of Amazon by clicking here! This pack of 24 has six different levels of grit so that you can get the perfect sanding job for your custom Nerf blaster paint job!

As you already know, Nerf guns have a smooth exterior. By sanding down the surface of your Nerf gun, it allows the paint to hold longer. This means if you do not sand down the surface you will likely be repainting your Nerf gun in a week or so.

  1. Before you start sanding, dismantle your gun as much as you can. Do not force pieces to come apart, and most importantly, DO NOT LOSE ANY OF THE PIECES! Have a designated area where all the screws and inner parts to sit while you complete this project (a basket or bowl may be the best option to ensure no pieces are lost).
  2. After you have the gun dismantled, start sanding down ONLY the exterior of the Nerf gun (do not sand any of the inner mechanism as this could cause the gun to no longer work effectively). Do not be afraid to sand the heck out of your Nerf gun! It is unlikely you will damage the gun by sanding too much.
  3. Stop sanding when the Nerf gun’s original color and shine has dulled.
  4. Before moving on to the next step, clean the Nerf gun thoroughly so that no dust remains on the surface. You may also want to clean your workspace to keep the dust from getting back on the gun.

Want to make your gun look battle-worn? Use a dremel to make bullet marks or “dings” all over your blaster. Be careful not to damage any of the interior workings when doing this!

Read more about sanding your Nerf gun by clicking here!

Prime the Nerf Gun

After sanding and cleaning your blaster, the next step is to prime the surfaces to be painted! Why prime the surface? We apply at least one or two coats of primer before painting our blaster to ensure that none of the previous colors shows through and that the colors you choose to paint your gun stick out!

If the paint you choose to use says it is a 2-in-1 primer paint, you will most likely not need to purchase a separate primer for your blaster.

Apply the primer to the surface of each of the sections of your Nerf gun evenly and allow the primer to dry for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to read the directions on the paint you choose to use to see if the product requires any special instructions or a longer drying time before use.

We suggest using the Rust-Oleum Flat Gray Primer for your Nerf gun! New coats can be applied within just a few minutes and will give you a smooth surface to work on. Not only does this primer look great, but it is made to bond to plastic as well–making it the perfect primer for the job! Click here to order yours.

Pro Tip: Do not leave your blaster directly in the sunlight to dry.

Add the Base Coat

Assorted Colors of Spray Paint (Facebook Marketplace)

When your blaster’s primer is dry, and ONLY when it is completely dry, you can start to apply your base coat. Make sure that all sections are evenly coated and that any sections not meant to be painted are taped off or covered.

Do several layers of this base coat color, making sure that each layer is dry before adding another.

Pro Tip: Are you using spray paint and want to avoid splatters or uneven sections of paint? Start and finish spraying the paint in a different direction!

Add Accents

Rack of Spray Paint (Facebook Marketplace)

Now that you have changed the overall color of your Nerf gun, you can start to really put your own personal touch into the design!

  1. Start by taping off sections that you want to keep as the base color. Once taped off, you can start adding some of the accent colors to the gun!
  2. If you are doing accent colors on both sides of the gun and want them to be symmetrical be careful not to paint one side darker than the other. Start by doing light coats and add thicker coats as needed.
  3. Do not put too much paint in one area at once; otherwise, you might see the paint start to seep underneath the taped off areas!

Pro Tip: Leave the tape on until the blaster is completely dry. If the paint is still wet and the tape is removed it could cause runoff into the base coat area. Be sure when you do start removing the tape, that you pull away from the area just painted. If you pull towards the painted area it could chip the fresh coat.

Mist the Blaster (optional)

Black can of spray paint (Facebook Marketplace)

If you are hoping to get that perfect battle-worn blaster look, then use this next technique: misting!

Misting, simply put, is going over your already painted blaster with the base color of your blaster. However, you are not going to completely cover the accent colors you already added. Take a can of spray paint the same shade as the base color of your blaster and then lightly go over the entire blaster. Only apply a mist to the blaster.

After misting your blaster, it should look slightly battle-worn and faded. It also creates a pixelated effect to make your blaster look video game-worthy!

Do the Rest of the Decal

Set of stencils (Facebook Marketplace)

Want some smaller decals on your Nerf blaster? Do not be afraid to go in with a smaller paintbrush after completing the other painting steps and get creative!

Using Sticker Stencils

Have a very specific design you want to put on the side of your customized Nerf blaster? Try out a stencil! Get the best effect by using a sticker stencil. Simply stick on the stencil, fill in the space, and then remove it! Be sure to have the rest of the gun completely covered if you are using spray paint to avoid any unwanted marks.

Using Homemade Stencils

If none of these stencils match what you are looking to add to your gun, make some stencils of your own! Use some construction or manila paper and use an exact-o knife to cut out your own custom designs. After cutting out your stencil, tape it securely to your Nerf blaster. Do not forget to cover the rest of the gun with either tape or a taped own piece of plastic.

If you are using spray paint, do not get too close to the blaster. The higher pressure will cause the paint to leak underneath your stencil.

Remember to think carefully about each decal you add to your blaster. After you add a design it will not be as simple as a wet washcloth to remove it if you do not like how it turned out. Try drawing your blaster design on a piece of paper to get an idea of how the decals will look before permanently adding them to your blaster!

Add a Clear Coat

Once you have finished painting and decorating your Nerf gun, protect all your hard work with a clear coat.

Once again we suggest the Rust-Oleum Gloss Clear for sealing your custom Nerf gun paint job. With this spray-on clear coat, you will not lose any of your gun’s color and will be ready to move on to the next step within 20 minutes! Get yours on Amazon by clicking here!

Use the same techniques suggested for applying paint. Start and stop each new line off the blaster to avoid any splatters or areas thicker than others.

Be sure that all your decals are completely dry before you add your clear coat and to let it dry entirely before moving on to the next step.


Customized Nerf Vagabond (Facebook Marketplace)

Now that you have completed each of the above steps and your Nerf gun is dry, it is time for the actual fun to begin!

Re-assemble your Nerf gun! Be careful during this step to put every piece back in its original position without leaving any pieces out. While that one random orange screw looks like it is not needed, I promise you it is!

Once your gun is painted, dried, and re-assembled invite all of your buddies over to see your work and have an impromptu Nerf battle!

Custom Paint Ideas

Customized Nerf Rival (Facebook Marketplace)

Ready to change up your Nerf gun, but just not sure what look you want to try out? No worries! Here are 3 unique Nerf gun paint jobs to help inspire you for your own custom project!

Worn Metallic

This paint job gives the Nerf gun a more metallic look and feel, making it seem more realistic.

After painting-and adding a unique modification to the gun-go back over with some darker paint to help make the Nerf appear as though it had been through hundreds of battles (and clearly won).

Check out the video to see the full paint job and modification!

Color Pop

With the standard colors of your Nerf gun, no one section really stands out more than another. Use your custom paint job to make certain sections “pop” more than others!

In this paint job, take a bright orange Nerf Firestrike and paint the body two dark colors. Finish the job with some classic Nerf orange and yellow accents!

Watch below to see how it turns out!

Free Styled Paint and Doodles

If you really want a Nerf gun that looks like it could only belong to you, then this is a great way to design your Nerf gun!

Find a color scheme that speaks to you and just have some fun! The end result of this paint job makes the Nerf gun PERFECT for any Nerf war.

Remember to disassemble your Nerf gun before you begin painting. Leaving the gun together could lead to jams and eventually could stop the gun from working at all. Follow each of the steps above in detail to ensure your custom Nerf blaster not only looks cool but functions well too!