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painting alum boat camo

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looking for some advice on my sons & i painting an aluminum boat camo for dcuk hunting. What needs to be done to prep boat, does it need to be roughed up for paint to stick? what if any primer works best? i have seen the camo spray paint @ fleet farm & runnings.(is this the best to use)? also what do you think it would take qty wise to do a 12' boat inside & out?

thanks for your help.

Jon, Jake & Sam

p.s. this by the way is all due to the fault of the youth mentored duck hunt, my son is hooked!

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Use the search function, its been discussed many times.

Yes, you'll have to rough up (score) your boat first to get the best results. Use a power orbital with a scotchbrite pad or something similar to it to get the easy stuff off. Wire brush for the nooks and crannys. Make sure its clean before painting.

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Jon -

You need info now since the season is in 3 days. smile Here goes...

The final results depend on how much you want to put into it. I've seen on here about special primers for aluminum, special paint, etc. Those special primers and paint can get spendy. I just painted mine over Labor Day weekend and here is what I did.

-Rough up the surface the best you can...I used 80 grit sandpaper on mine. Take it to the car wash and wash the heck out of it getting off all loose dirt, dust, etc.

-Does yours have any paint on it now or is it the bare aluminum? If it's bare aluminum I'd recommend an aluminum primer but I believe a gallon of that is pretty spendy. I'm not a paint expert by any means, but put some kind of primer on the boat prior to painting it (remember, this is a duck boat, you don't have to go all out on it unless you want to). Any paint you put on it will last a season or more no matter what you do. And it's not a huge project so you can always re-do it with your sons again...make it a yearly tradition prior to opener. A friend of mines dad did that with him...every year in August they would re-paint the duck boat just for fun...anyway....

-Paint....I went with a Kilz paint that was primer/paint. I had an extra gallon from repainting a room in our house so I made due. It works.

-Color - up to you. Where will you be hunting? My guess is you'll be backed up or hidden in some kind of cat tails?? Go with a dark green or a brown/tan base coat. Dark green blends well with the water if you're boat will be sitting on the edge of the cat tails with your boat exposed. Cabelas sells the actual dark green camo paint by the gallon if you want to go that route. I went with a base color of tan because it was green previously, I just wanted to do something different, I had the extra gallon sitting there, and my boat is always 100 % buried inside the cat tails so it really didn't matter.

-Spray paint - pick up some of the spray cans of camo paint...probably 2 cans of each, maybe more depending on how much pattern you want to put on the boat. Start with the dark colors first (of the pattern) and overlap with lighter colors. My base coat was tan so I started with black and brown steaks then went to a lighter brown and green pattern from the stencils and overlapped them. Finally I had a can of really light brown that I used because not everthing out in the swamp is dark once the sun comes sup.

-Patterns...cut your own. Do a search on line, you can get some ideas, look at google images of other camo duck boats and see what other guys did. Use a big cereal box, go to a craft store and get thick contruction paper or something similar, cardboard etc. Draw up a couple different patterns, cut them out, spray away! I traced an oak leaf too and cut that out just to fill some gaps. I finished it up by spraying a can of brown lightly all over the boat to give it sort of a dirty glaze.

-I'm sure there are more technical ways to do it, but remember...it's a duck boat, it will be in a swamp, no need to go overboard unless you want to.

-Easy project to do with your kids in a weekend and they'll be proud to sit in that boat knowing they painted it!

Here are pics of mine before and after. I inherited this boat for free a few years ago 3 days before opener..at the time I slapped some stripes of paint on the green base coat and called it good...killed a TON of ducks out of it the last 4 years because like I said earlier, I'm always 100% buried in the cat tails and they never see the boat because I cover the boat in them anyway.


This pic was when I took the boat out to the slough a few weeks ago..it was green out there then, but now it's all turning brown just like the boat.



My dog saw this whole painting process happening and was very curious as to what was happening with "his" boat. When I loaded it up to haul it to the slough I went in the garage for something and came back to this....hahaha. He was ready. grin



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Here is my 1976 Lund Fish & Ski that was previously yellow and chrome colored to what you see now. I took off all the old remaining decals that were toast anyways and surface sanded all paint. Didn't remove the paint, just roughed it up to get rid of all foriegn residue and help the new paint adhere to the existing.

Primed all the aluminum that was exposed with aluminum primer.

Put an olive drab base coat to start, then cut out some stencils to look like cattails and sprayed dead grass color that worked out good.

Everybody asks who painted the boat, and I say I did! Most think it was done at a paint shop!

Over the last few years with a fast grass blind on it, it's been a duck and goose killing machine. And staedy to shoot out of! grinfull-983-1600-lundduck&fish.jpg

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incredible boat, you said yo had a gallon extra you used did you spray on the base or did you roller or brush it for best effect?


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incredible boat, you said yo had a gallon extra you used did you spray on the base or did you roller or brush it for best effect?


Roll on. Two coats both sides of the boat...still had lots of paint left.

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you said you used kilz primer /paint do they tint that to a color you want @ menards or where did you purchase?

again thanks for all the help.

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you said you used kilz primer /paint do they tint that to a color you want @ menards or where did you purchase?

again thanks for all the help.

We had it tinted khaki brown. Got it at Walmart a while ago.

We had it in the slough the past 2 mornings...I don't think I could have made it blend in any better if I tried. Maybe I got lucky but every color I used is in those cat tails and it just flat out disappears so I'm pretty happy with it. Even put some ducks and a honker in the boat this morning despite yesterday being the worst day on the pond I've ever seen.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • SkunkedAgain
      Those are some fine specimens. Great job
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