How to Make Stencils to Paint Camo

    by J.C. Lewis

    About the Author

    J.C. Lewis is the editor and co-owner of a weekly newspaper, as well as an editor for a group of newspapers in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared on,, LIVESTRONG and Lewis holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.


    Camouflage involves blending something with surroundings to hide or conceal it from view. Use several different stencils to paint a camouflage effect using basic materials you probably have at home. Although the process requires multiple steps to create the camo effect, you will gradually see the camouflage pattern emerge as you work with the different stencils. Once you master the technique, you can create a camo pattern on a variety of surfaces, including walls, doors, shelves and floors.

    Things You'll Need

    • Three square sheets of medium-weight cardboard
    • Ruler
    • Pencil
    • Cutting mat
    • Craft knife
    • Painters' tape
    • 4 paint colors for camouflage -- lightest, light, dark and darkest
    • Paint brush

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    Making Stencils

    Measure and draw a pencil line down the middle of each sheet of cardboard horizontally and vertically to outline four quadrants. The quadrants will serve as a guide for positioning the camouflage shapes to ensure that each color layer will overlap but not entirely cover the other layers.

    Sketch one or two blob shapes in the middle of each quadrant for the first stencil. Use a picture or item of camouflage clothing as a guide for sketching. Make the blobs rounded with lots of arms and legs, similar to coral or spilled oil.

    Draw one or two blob shapes of different sizes over the pencil lines for stencil two. This ensures that the shapes painted in one color do not completely cover the shapes on the previous layer, although some overlapping is fine.

    Create a medium-sized blob shape in the center of the square and one close to each corner for stencil three.

    Place the cutting mat onto a work surface to protect the surface from the blade of the craft knife. Cut out the blob shapes from each stencil using the craft knife.

    Painting with Stencils

    Apply a background layer of paint to the camouflage surface using the lightest of the four camouflage colors. Allow this paint layer to dry completely.

    Position any of the three stencils over the background and secure it in place with painters' tape. Apply paint inside the blob shapes with the second lightest paint color. Leave the stencil in position until the paint dries and then remove it carefully.

    Place a second stencil over the background, lining it up precisely where you positioned the first stencil and taping it into place. Apply paint inside the blob shapes with the next darkest paint color. Leave the stencil undisturbed and then remove it after the paint dries.

    Position the third stencil over the background, lining it up as you did previously with the other two stencils and taping it with painter's tape. Apply the darkest paint color inside the blob shapes. Leave the stencil in place until the paint dries and then remove it.

    • Do not allow children to use craft knives. Use extreme caution when handling the craft knife.