How to Paint Your Paintball Mask: A Step-By-Step Guide


Now that you’re an avid paintballer with your own equipment, you have essentially free reign when it comes to personalizing your gear! Painting your paintball mask is a great way to have your gear match your personality or playing style. And, it’s pretty easy to do too!

painting your own paintball mask
It is simple to create your own, custom look, paintball mask. Follow the steps below.

You’ll need paint that sticks to plastic, some painter’s tape, an X-Acto blade, and a stencil. Take your mask apart, cover the areas that can’t be painted with painter’s tape, and apply a few thick coats of paint. If you have a stencil, you can paint that on once it’s dry. That’s all it takes!

You might have some paint lying around at home, but it’s pretty likely that type of paint won’t work for your paintball mask. You need to invest in the right supplies to save you the hassle of ruining your mask or having to paint it again!

I totally get it. Creating a custom painted mask might be too intimidating. Luckily, there are some custom painted and designed paintball masks available on Amazon (for very affordable prices).

1. Stock up on supplies.

Paintball masks are incredibly easy to paint, especially if all you’re looking to do is change the base color. If that’s the case, all you need is a special type of paint that can stick to plastic and some painter’s tape to cover the areas you don’t want to get paint on.

If you’re looking to make your paintball mask look a bit more unique, you can consider adding a design to it after you apply the base paint! For an added design, you’re going to need an X-Acto blade to cut out a stencil and/or a pre-made vinyl stencil.

Different Types of Paint

There are several different types of paint out there, but not all will work on plastic. That means you can’t just buy any type of paint and assume it’ll work on your paintball mask.

different types of paint
There are many different types of paint. Make sure that your paint can be applied to plastic.

Here’s an overview of the types of paint that tend to work best on plastic.

  • Acrylic Paint. Not all acrylic paint will work on plastic, so you have to make sure you’re reading the label first. Acrylic paint won’t stay put for too long and might chip easily, but it’ll do in a pinch if you’ve got no other options.
  • Primer & Spray Paint. You shouldn’t just apply regular spray paint to your paintball mask and that’s it. But, putting a primer on your paintball mask first and then following it up with a few coats of regular spray paint just might do the trick.
  • Plastic Spray Paint. Many brands like Valspar and Krylon Fusion now have their own versions of spray paints designed to stick to plastic. That means you won’t have to worry about the paint coming off too soon or having to use a primer first.

Though all three types are viable options, the best choice would be using spray paints designed specifically for application on plastic. They’re very cost-effective and are guaranteed to work on your plastic paintball mask!

If you’re looking for a solid color paint job, all you’re going to need is one color paint. However, adding a stencil will require you to invest in another paint color as well to allow the stenciled area to stand out a bit more.

Painter’s Tape

No matter what look you’re going for with your paintball mask, you’re going to need some painter’s tape to keep certain areas of your paintball mask free of paint.

You don’t want any paint getting on your goggles or on any padded areas of your mask!

Painter’s tape is the best way to guarantee a clean paint job when you’re painting your paintball mask. Without it, the paint won’t hug the curves of your mask as tightly as it could and you’ll be left with a sloppy paint job!

X-Acto Blade

The X-Acto blade comes in handy when you’re applying the painter’s tape and cutting out the stencil you plan on applying later on in the process. X-Acto blades are known for their precision cutting, so they’re the greatest option when it comes to executing a sleek design.

Stencils (optional)

paintball stencils
Make your paintball mask even more custom with stencils. Either create your own with X-Acto blade or buy pre-cut ones.

There’s nothing that says that you absolutely need to apply stencils to your paintball mask, but they can add a little flair and make your mask a little more unique and fitting to your personality.

You have two options when it comes to stencils for your mask. You can either print and cut out your own (with the X-Acto blade) or purchase your own vinyl stencil that’s already pre-cut.

If you don’t have much of a steady hand and can’t guarantee a clean cut when cutting out your own stencil, there are plenty of stencil collections available online that can be perfect for your newly painted paintball mask!

2. Prepare your mask for painting.

It’s time to get to work! At this stage of the process, you want to make sure that you have a workspace setup that’ll prevent paint from getting on the floor, walls, or other surrounding items. Once you’ve done that, take your mask apart.

Once your mask is apart, you can begin applying the painter’s tape to the areas that cannot be painted. That might include the goggles or padded areas of your mask. Feel free to use your new X-Acto blade to cut the tape to the shape of your mask.

Setting Up Your Workspace

You might want to get right to painting your paintball mask, but setting up your workspace is super important if you’re worried about spray paint getting on any other items in your home. Safety is incredibly important when it comes to painting and the possible fumes involved in the process. 

That means you might want to consider:

  • Wearing old clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting paint on
  • Setting up plastic covering on the floor to keep paint off the floor
  • Painting outside or in an open area that doesn’t have items sitting around
  • Making sure there’s proper ventilation so the fumes don’t get too powerful

Whether you set up your workspace on a table or floor is up to you and how you plan on painting your paintball mask.

For more precision (like you need for stenciling) and to remain at eye-level, you might want to use an old table covered with plastic covering. A basic paint job of a solid coat of paint won’t require much more than an open area that you can paint in!

Now it’s time to get your mask ready for painting by taking it apart first.

Taking Your Mask Apart

You technically could keep your mask intact when painting it, but it puts you at risk for accidentally painting your goggles or padding as well as missing a few key parts.

You want to make sure you’re painting every visible inch of your mask to get the coolest look.

You’ve probably already taken your paintball mask apart in the past, but remember not to force anything when doing so. Trying to force pieces apart can cause them to break or snap, rendering your paintball mask practically useless!

If the goggle portion of your paintball mask is completely detachable, you want to remove them from the painting area so they don’t get any paint on them.

Some masks are a little harder to take apart than others. If you can’t figure out how to take your mask apart, you could refer to your masks owner’s manual or do a quick Google search to see how the mask is supposed to come apart (if it’s supposed to come apart at all).

Once your mask is fully apart, you’re ready to move onto cleaning your mask.

Cleaning Your Mask

You don’t have to go crazy when cleaning your mask before painting it, but there are a few things that you’re absolutely looking to do at this step in the process. This is what’s most important:

  • Use a rag and a little water. Take a small rag (or paper towels) and dampen it. You don’t need to use any type of soap at this step. All you’re trying to do at this point is to wipe away any residue that might be leftover on your mask that can prevent the tape or paint from sticking properly.
  • Make sure you get all debris and dirt off. What you’re trying to do here is get rid of any dirt, leftover paint, or dust that’s just sitting on the surface of your paintball mask. 
  • Dry your mask. Your paint and tape won’t stick to the mask if there’s even a little bit of remaining moisture. That’s why you need to use a dry rag that won’t leave behind any type of residue that’ll get in the way of the painting process.

Now that your mask is perfectly clean, you’re ready to move on to applying the painter’s tape and getting ready to actually paint your paintball mask!

Applying the Painter’s Tape

paintball mask painters tape
Any kind of painter’s tape will work. It is necessary to cover the parts you don’t want to be painted. You can simply use the same one that you would for painting the walls.

If you’ve ever painted a wall in your home before, putting the painter’s tape on your paintball mask is somewhat similar to that. Here’s a walkthrough for applying your painter’s tape to your paintball mask prior to painting it.

  • Make sure your mask is clean. Before you even get to putting the tape on or painting your mask, you want to make sure that your paintball mask is completely clean, free of dust, and dry. You should do a quick wipe down with a dry paper towel or a rag to get rid of any lingering moisture or dust that’s still sitting on your paintball mask.
  • Put the tape on. Now that your mask is dry and will hold tape and paint, you can start to put the tape on. Be sure to work around the edges of the mask and goggle regions as close as possible, trying to avoid leaving gaps along the way. If you need to, you can use your X-Acto knife to cut the tape to better fit certain areas of your mask.
  • Make sure the tape is secure. You’ve firmly placed the tape on your mask, but you need to make sure that it’s completely secure before you start painting. It would be unfortunate to have an air bubble or small opening that messes up your paint job! Now would be the time to use the edge of your X-Acto blade to make sure that your painter’s tape is as secure as possible.
  • Allow the tape to set. We know how badly you want to get right to painting, but you need to make sure that the tape is fully set on your mask before you move onto the next step. Give the tape at least half an hour to set before moving on.

Once you’ve got your mask taken apart and the painter’s tape applied properly, you’re ready to start painting your paintball mask!

3. Paint your mask.

spray paintball mask paint
Now you are ready to start applying primer or spray paint.

This is what you’ve been waiting for! The first thing you’ll need to do is apply the base paint for the entire mask. To get the best color and reduced risk of chipping and fading, you should be using at least two coats of paint on your mask.

After you’ve let those two (or more) coats dry, you can figure out where you’d like to put your stencil on and attach it to your mask with painter’s tape. Paint the stenciled area with different color paint and quickly move onto the next step.

Applying the Base Paint

It’s time to get that first coat of paint on and the painting process started! As we went over earlier, there are a few different types of spray paints that you can use to paint your paintball mask. Here’s a look at how to use each to get the base coat on your mask.

Primer & Spray Paint

  • Apply the primer spray paint first. Without primer, your spray paint won’t stick too well to the plastic of your paintball mask. Therefore, you’ll need to apply a single layer of primer to your paintball mask before painting. 
  • Wait for the primer to dry. Most primers will dry within 30 minutes, but you might want to wait up to a couple of hours to confirm that the primer is completely dry and ready to be painted over. If it’s not entirely dry, the paint won’t work as well as it should.
  • Spray paint the mask. From about 6 to 8 inches away from your mask, spray paint the areas that you want to be spray painted (i.e. Don’t spray the areas with painter’s tape).
  • Let the spray paint dry and apply another coat. One layer should be enough in most circumstances, but more than one layer is best if you’re in an environment where the paint might chip or scratch off more easily. Spray paint usually dries pretty quickly, so you might be able to get to your second coat in less than 10 minutes. Repeat.

Plastic Spray Paint

  • Spray paint the mask. With this type of spray paint, you’re skipping the entire primer process as seen in the above painting style. All you need to do is stand about 6 to 8 inches from your paintball mask and spray all areas of the mask that you want to be painted.
  • Let the spray paint dry and apply another coat. This is the final step of painting your main color on your paintball mask. Let your first coat dry for about 10 or more minutes and then paint another coat!

For the highest quality paint job, we highly recommend using two separate coats of paint. That’s the best way to protect the integrity of your paintball mask’s paint if you happen to scratch the mask or chip the paint off when you’re in a game.

If you’re looking to add a stencil design to your paintball mask, you’re absolutely ready for that step now!

Painting the Stencil On

Now that you’re done with the solid color paint job, it’s time to paint the stencil onto your paintball mask. There’s a very specific process you must follow to get this right, so make sure you’re paying attention here.

This is exactly how you should be painting the stencil onto your paintball mask:

  • Make sure the base layer is already dry. You can probably already figure out how this could possibly go badly. If the base layer isn’t completely dry, spray painting a new and different color paint will cause the paint to mix and run. This will totally undo everything you just did and you’ll have to start over again.
  • Use another paint color. This goes without saying. There’s no point in putting a stencil on your paintball mask if you’re only going to paint it the color of your mask’s main color. Choose a color that fits well with your color scheme and will stand out the way you want it to! Try to use the same brand of paint that you used to paint your entire mask for a more fluid design.
  • Choose the stencil location. Decide where on your mask you want to put the stencil. You should do your best to pick a flat area that doesn’t leave any open spaces between the stencil and your mask. It is okay to choose a curved area as long as the stencil is able to adapt to the curve.
  • Securely tape the stencil onto your mask. It’s time to break the painter’s tape back out and secure the stencil to your paintball mask! Do your best to make sure that the stencil is as flat as it possibly can be. If it’s not, the paint might leak under the stencil and mess up the design that you were trying to go for.
  • Spray paint your stencil. As much as you wanted to make sure you were getting your entire mask painted in the earlier steps, you want to ease up on the amount of paint that you’re using when it comes to the stencil. If you apply too much paint in the stencil area, it’ll start to leak under the stencil or drip once the stencil is removed.

Now that the stencil is on and applied, it’s time to finish up the process, put your mask back together, and get you back in the game!

4. Put your mask back together.

The best time to remove the painter’s tape is when the paint is completely dry.

Make every effort to slowly remove the tape to prevent splattering and the peeling of any residual paint that might still be on the tape.

Once your mask is completely dry, put your mask together again and make sure it looks the way you want it to! If it does, you’re ready to get back in the game and show off your brand new painted mask in the process.

Removing the Painter’s Tape

You might be so excited to get your mask back together that you’re willing to rip the painter’s tape right off. You shouldn’t do that! There’s actually a proven method of removing painter’s tape in a way that doesn’t cause the paint to peel or drip in the process.

Here’s how you should remove your painter’s tape from your paintball mask.

x-acto blade
Use your X-Acto blade to cut your own stencils. Later use it to remove the painter’s tape when you are done. Only do this when you are sure the paint is dry.
  • Make sure all paint on the mask is dry. If the paint is still wet when you try to take the painter’s tape off, there’s a greater chance of the paint dripping or leaking outside of the original design. The pattern that once looked so perfect now has blots of paint that makes it look sloppy.
  • Use your X-Acto blade to score the tape. Scoring the tape can be a little tricky and requires a steady hand, but it’s the best way to remove the tape without taking any excess paint with it. Carefully use your X-Acto blade at the meeting place of your painter’s tape and the surface of your mask and glide the X-Acto blade neatly. This will break up the paint connecting the painter’s tape and the mask itself.
  • Slowly lift the painter’s tape off the mask. Don’t impulsively rip the tape off and expect it to go well. Slowly peel the tape away from the surface of the paintball mask, ideally at a 45-degree angle. If the 45-degree angle isn’t going well, try to transition to a 90-degree angle to see if it works any better.

This step is pretty important in maintaining a high-quality paint job and keeping the paint from coming off during the removal process. Now you can throw the painter’s tape in the garbage and get ready to put your mask back together!

YouTube video of changing the color of your paintball mask.

Putting Your Mask Together Again

Now that your mask is entirely painted, you’re ready to put it back together again. Here are some tips for putting your paintball mask together again after you’ve painted it.

  • Guarantee the paint is dry. Once again, making sure that the paint on your paintball mask is entirely dry is incredibly important at this step. If it isn’t completely dry, the paint might smudge or scrape off when you maneuver the pieces back together.
  • Carefully put it back together. Your paintball mask has at least several fresh layers of paint on it now, so you want to be careful about putting it back together. Do your best to avoid any pieces of your paintball mask scraping one another during the reassembly process.
  • Inspect your mask. Now that everything’s put back together, make sure the paint is sitting the way you want it to. This would be the best time to do any touch ups to the paint, meaning areas you may have forgotten to paint or areas that scraped away as you were putting the paintball mask back together.

Once your mask is put together again and painted as you wanted it to be, it’s time to get back out there to show off your new gear!

Remember that it’s pretty easy to repaint your paintball mask if you don’t like the design or if you just want to switch it up in the future. All you’ll have to do is apply a few extra coats of paint onto your mask and you’re basically starting over from scratch!

Conclusion

Painting your paintball mask is an awesome way to intimidate your opponents or make your gear stand out. For a basic paint job, all you need is paint that works on plastic and some painter’s tape. If you want to add a design, you also need a stencil and an X-Acto blade. Here’s a guide for painting your paintball mask.

  • Disassemble your mask.
  • Cover the areas that can’t be painted (like your goggles) with painter’s tape.
  • Apply a few thick coats of paint to your mask and let it dry.
  • Attach your stencil and paint it on.
  • Let your mask dry and then put it back together!

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