How to Do a Quality Rattle Can Paint Job

Have you considered painting your AR rifle? Commonly called in the hobby as rattle canning, this is a great way to give your rifle some flair and style on the cheap!

For the price of a can of spray paint or a few cans of spray paint and some time and basic materials you can get all kinds of creative with your AR.

I certainly don’t recommend doing this to a $2,000+ AR, but a cheap range plinker? Why not!


9 Tips for Your Rattle Can Paint Job:

  1. Start by getting ideas. Google rattle can + your AR type or look up “rattle can that shit” on Facebook.
  2. I recommend disassembling your AR to the components you want to paint. I have seen guys spend hours taping off their AR to paint. You can do that, but a disassembly is easier and keeps paint out of places you don’t want it.
  3. If you have access to a sand blaster, blasting your parts is a great idea. If not, buffing them up with steel wool or scotch bright will suffice.
  4. After blasting or scuffing, clean your parts thoroughly with Acetone or brake cleaner or any grease dissolving solvent.
  5. Make sure any cleaner you use is not oil-based.
  6. Avoid touching the parts with your bare hands after blasting and degreasing. Rubber gloves should be used.
  7. Pin holes and threaded holes and external threads should be masked or plugged to keep paint out of them to prevent sticky, tight parts from causing function problems later.
  8. Paint in a well-ventilated area, paint fumes can be hazardous. Wear a mask at a minimum.
  9. A light baking in the oven at 150 to 175 for an hour will really set the paint. Do this between colors, too. Allow parts to cool before handling or applying more paint. Use wire to hang parts from your oven racks.

The beauty is if you mess up or don’t like it, strip it or blast it and start over.

You can get really creative if you want and do some righteous camo patterns or even a star wars boba fett theme. Let your imagination run wild!


Have a rattle can paint job you want to show off??

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