camoflauge boat

With a little paint, and a bunch of elbow grease, you can make nearly any piece of equipment disappear into its surroundings.

Most commercial camo patterns are available in DIY stencil packs, but you don’t need to get that specific to trick ducks or other wildlife. Applying a random pattern with a sponge effectively breaks up your outline and goes on quickly and easily. As a bonus, it’s simple to repair when you inevitably gouge your boat on the rocks.

I’ve used a kayak in this video, but you can utilize the same process on your cooler or deer cart. I’ve used this method to rehab more old boats than I’ve told my wife about, and the paint jobs have held up to an incredible amount of abuse.

Step 1: Thoroughly wash the kayak to remove any grit that could interfere with paint adhesion. A pressure washer works well for this, but you can hand wash with a mild soap if you don’t have.

Step 2: Attach a paint-removal wheel to a cordless drill and rough up the surface at a low RPM. Dedicated sanders and grinders spin too fast, which generates heat that can weaken plastic’s structural integrity. If the item is metal, use a medium grit sanding block (right around 120 is ideal). You want to give the surface some tooth, not smooth it over. Be sure to cover every square inch of exterior, paying special attention to corners and edges.

Step 3: Wipe the roughened surface with acetone. You need to remove any sanding dust, and more importantly, any grease or films that may be present. Be thorough to avoid adhesion problems down the line.

Step 4: If your item is plastic, spray the treated surface with an adhesion promoter in even bands using a side-to-side motion. Within one hour, apply the topcoat with an ultra-flat spray paint. Krylon Fusion works equally as well on plastic as it does on other mediums, making it a solid all-around pick. Apply two coats of the adhesion promoter and three coats of color.

Step 5: Finally, sponge a second (and third, if you desire) color over the primary coat. Dab it on in a random pattern, taking care not to go too heavy. If you’re really hard on gear, end with a matte clear coat like Krylon 1311 for added durability.

Hide a Canoe: This technique works well on most plastic canoes, too, except for those made from Coleman’s proprietary Ram-X material, which flexes too much to hold paint. If you’re in that boat, get a large sheet of burlap, be creative with a fabric spray paint, throw the finished cover over the boat, and start shooting ducks.