I feel a bit like Robin Hood lately…

…walking around the house with a big hunting bow in my hands. SO unlike me.
Patrick got this bow years and years ago, then loaned it to his ex-wfe and just recently got it back. It was pretty scuffed up and the arrow rest was busted, so it clearly needed some love to get it back into excellent condition again.
While I can’t restore it back to it’s original shine (due in part to the at-home-camo-job Patrick had done before, discussed below), I knew I could at least improve upon what was there with an all-over paint job.

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Years ago, Patrick decided that he wanted his once red and black bow to be camo. He attempted sanding it down to paint it, but got frustrated with the process and settled for the Do It Yourself Camo kits for bows and rifles, that are essentially comprised of Camo Tape.

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The tape used on his bow was a soft finish tape, unlike duct tape, which actually helped when it came time to strip it all off. The quality of the tape was higher, thus the quality of the adhesive was higher, and it came off mostly in large pieces.

You can see the remaining adhesive left behind from the tape.

You can see the remaining adhesive left behind from the tape.

Once I got all the tape off, we tackled the remaining adhesive with nail polish remover. That cleaned it all up pretty quickly. It did remove some of the remaining paint, but most of it was gone from Patrick’s earlier attempt at sanding it down, so we went into this knowing it would need to be painted over.

IMG_9935With all of the tape removed, it was time to use a sanding sponge to scuff up all the remaining smooth areas of the bow, prepping it for a coat of primer.
IMG_9936Once all the surfaces were sufficiently scuffed, I went to work taping off all the strings and mechanisms of the bow, protecting them from overspray.  I also removed the broken arrow rest. At the same time, I taped over all the Hoyt logo panels, the sticker on the back-side of the bow stating it’s draw weight, etc, and all the metal casings for bolts that would later be re-attached.
With everything taped up, it was time for a coat of primer. I used what I generally stick to, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer. Two thin coats and we were ready for some paint!

IMG_9943For my paint colors, Patrick chose the Rustoleum Camo colors shown here
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The next part of the process was pretty labor intensive. I did some research of camo painting, and found lots of tutorials. I watched several and took a few tips from each one in order to come to the style I preferred. I decided to go with a multicam camo, as I know that is Patrick’s preference. When you study multicam, you’ll notice that the majority of the space is either dark tan, or green.
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The lighter tan is used sparingly, and generally in clusters while the dark brown is used sparingly, and is spread out, often overlapping the light tan. Since that was my first color to tackle, I started with a thin coat of tan spray paint.
(Some of the upcoming photos were taken with my ipad, as I was taping off the patterns upstairs).

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While the tan paint was drying, I set to work making my stencils. I opted for male stencils instead of female, to allow for a more precise line around each color-area. To do this, I took a piece of wax paper and covered both sides of the paper with line after line of overlapping painters tape. I bought the thin tape b/c I was working around such small areas on the bow, but thicker tape would have worked even better.

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With my sheet of tape finished, I took a sharpie and marked out shapes similar to camo patterns I found online.  Check out Pinterest or Google Images for samples of Multicam patterns. I then cut those out using a small pair of scissors. Since these were going to represent the light tan areas, I stuck with smaller sized pieces, in longer shapes and several coordinating small circular pieces to cluster around the larger stickers. With the tape on each side of the wax paper, each cut out section made 2 stickers, so I had coordinating shapes for each end of the bow. You just peel the sticker off the wax paper, place it on your surface and press firmly on all edges. One tip that a tutorial i found pointed out is that longer strips should go horizontally, not vertically.

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With my stencil stickers in place, I took the bow back outside and gave it a once-over with dark brown.
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While that was drying, I cut out the pattern pieces for my dark brown.  For the dark brown, I went slightly larger than the light tan pieces, and stuck to the same idea: longer, narrow pieces, some small circular pieces to cluster. I did, however, use a bit more creative license when it came to the shapes of these pieces.

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With the brown dried and the stickers placed over the brown paint, I threw on a coat of black. Patrick wanted some black mixed in with the camo, but since we were using black for the surface color of the handle, I wanted to keep it minimal. Though I completely forgot to take photos of it, I did a few very small stickers, placed them over the dried black paint, and moved on to the next color; Green.

With a coat of the forest-green paint over the entire surface, I got to work cutting out the larger pieces from my tape-sheet. These were intended to be more as “background”, would layer over the white, brown and black, and would cover a good bit of the surface of the bow.  I was more relaxed in the shaping of these pieces, and in several I cut sections out of the middle of each piece.

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With these stickers in place, I took the bow outside for it’s last coat of paint. This time I knew I needed some blending to my colors, so I got my tan, brown and green ready and went to work spraying short, light lines of paint across the surface. I went in a diagonal across the bow, overlaying each color until they blended together well.
At this point, Patrick was bouncing off the walls with excitement.

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Once this coat was dried, it was time to slowly and carefully peel off the stickers to reveal the finished Camo pattern. I think I held my breath the entire time, but was pleased to see a great multicam hidden below all those layers of tape.

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The white patch near the top is actually the black, which was a glossier paint than the Camo paints were, and is reflecting the light in the hallway.

At this point, we let all of the paint settle over night, so we would be ready to tackle the rest of it in the morning.

My initial plan the next morning was to tape over the camo and spray the handle, edging and backing all solid black. However, after seeing the camo, I was worried that the tape might pull up some of the paint.  With how many layers of paint you put on with this method, you end up with some pretty prominent “edges” to each color-area, and I was concerned those would get caught by the tape and be pulled up.
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So instead, I taped off every other area of the bow and did 2 thin coats of clear-coat over the camo to help seal it. When taping off the handle, I took care to place a piece of paper over each of the taped-up Hoyt panels, so they wouldn’t accidentally get peeled off when it’s time to remove the tape from the handle before the final coat of black paint.

IMG_9959Once the clear coat had had about 2 hours to cure (according to the bottle of spray paint, it was dry to touch in 15 minutes, workable in 2 hours), I set to work removing tape from all the white areas, and prepped to tape over my camo facing.

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As it got later in the day, the temperatures dropped, so I had to start being careful about how/where my paint was drying to keep it above the 50 degree mark stated on the bottle. But check out the awesome sunset I got to enjoy while working out there!

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I threw a quick coat of black on 1/3 of the bow, let it dry for 20 minutes, then on the 2nd 3rd and let that dry for 20 minutes, then on the final 3rd and let that dry for 20 minutes. At that point I called it a night and brought it in to cure overnight. I removed the tape from the camo areas before going to bed.

In the morning, I did a quick touch-up coat of black in areas that I noticed needed more blending, but made sure to keep the over-spray away from the camo areas.  Once the black was all sufficiently cured, we put a coat of clear on one side of the bow and let it dry for several hours. Then we flipped it over and did a coat of clear on the other side, and let that cure for several hours.

At that point, we were all done and ready for use! Time to re-install the sight, and install the new Whisker Biscuit I bought Patrick as part of his Christmas gift 😉

I wish I had been more intentional with the photos I took in the beginning so I would have had a better before/after shot, but you get the idea.

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