Some people say that camouflage is an art, other people says it’s a science. I say it’s a mix of both.
First rule: do what you can with whatever you have. Dirt? Mud? Sticks? Leaves? Old Clothing? Everything is fair game when camouflaging yourself. Some easy tips are to wear colors that blend in, and stay off any well-traveled paths in a survival situation.
Camouflage is all about deception. You want to blend in with your surroundings. Other folks talk a different approach. Neither is “wrong” or “right,” just different.
We always think about camouflaging ourselves, but what about our gear? We want our gear to seep into the background and disappear too. The last thing you want in a SHTF situation if having your gear go missing because of some thieves. We’ll cover camouflaging your gear in another post.
You should definitely know who Fred Bear is. A Bow hunting guru, he basically said the best camouflage strategy is to “Sit down and be quiet.” Whatever pattern you choose as your camouflage, don’t forget to sit down and be quiet! Especially when bow hunting.
As a beginner’s primer to camo, camouflage type has different patterns, but they all use methods of Disruption, Depth, and Surrounding. We’ll show you how to use to methods with household gear to put together some DIY camouflage.
Disruption stems from the tricks our eyes play on us while we look at contrasting images. For instance, all green might be nice in the woods- but the forest isn’t all green. It’s got branches, trees, etc. You need contrasting colors to create disruption and not allow your camouflage to appear too uniform.
You’re still identifiable as a walking figure, no matter what colors you wear. You need to change the silhouette of your body altogether, so that you look more like an animal, not a human. First, change your shape by carrying your pack on your stomach, or crawling on all fours. There are also a ton of camo patterns that appear “animal-like” instead of the standard woodland-style.
One of the very first purposely disruptive camo patterns was used in World War 1, called Dazzle.
Here’s the breakdown: The German U-boats ruled the seas. This presented a problem for the Royal Navy, having their ships sunk left and right by German U-Boats. A man named Lt. Norman Wilkinson, a Royal Navy volunteer reservist, designed a disruptive camouflage pattern to mask an entire ship.
The pattern contrasted shapes to confuse the enemy into making it more difficult to identify the ship. Seeing this image through a periscope would be a bit odd, to say the least.
Animals like fish and frogs use disruptive patterns to blend into their surroundings and confuse their predators or prey. Your DIY camouflage pattern should have this concept in mind.
In order for a camouflage pattern to seem “real” to a human or animal, it needs a sort of depth to it. It can’t just be a tarp. This is why layering materials and patterns is so important.
If you look at a good camo pattern, you can see that it first started out with a brown or green background, but with some disruptive streaks of color. Then the usual branches, leaves, bark, twigs, etc. are all added on top of that. All of these give the camouflage pattern depth. It’s also a good idea to layer camo when you can, since it helps create natural depth.
No matter where you go, there is always a dominant surrounding color. When prepping, always take notice of the predominant surrounding color. That’s going to be your basic color when it comes to camouflage.
Pattern-wise, you want to match your area too. Underbrush, bushes, heck even tree bark should be a close match to your camo. If you’re making camo for your tree stand try browns, tans, and shades of green.
How to DIY Camouflage Your Gear
We are going to camouflage a set of walking sticks that could use a new coat of paint. But remember, this method works on nearly ANYTHING that you need to camouflage.
Things you’ll need:
– Well ventilated area – outside works best
– Drop cloth / crappy tarp
– (1) Spray Can of Metal Primer- just make sure it’s a color you want to use.
– Spray Cans of Top Coat Colors. Go with “camo” or “woodland” colors.” Again you can use whatever brand you wish, just make sure the paint is FLAT. Absolutely Zero shine is what we are going for.
– Sponge, sticks, leaves, or a shop towel
– I primed the sticks with the primer, making sure to hit all areas of the surface that I will be coating with the topcoat.
– Let it dry for about a half hour. Remember- things dry far slower in the cold than when it’s warm out. If it’s cold out, give it another half-hour before checking.
Then I sprayed 3 thick lines of a darker color across all sticks. This creates the disruption that we are looking for.
Finally, fold up a shop towel into a small square and used the outside of the towel where all of the edges come together to blot the a lighter color over the entire surface. Use whatever colors you want (within reason, no pink camo here). From there it’s entirely up to you on how much to smudge, dap, and smear.
For a silhouette of a natural shape in a jiffy, you can use materials from nature (leaves, sticks, grass), lay on the items and then give a quick spray of color.
Then just let it dry and marvel at your work!