I’ve always been a tinkerer. I think that’s why bowhunting appeals to me so much. There is always something to adjust, test or just play around with when it comes to archery and bowhunting. Most recently, this “playing around” included altering the camo pattern on my bow.
While the previous camo was fine I simply wanted to create something that would blend in better with my surroundings. I also wanted something that no one else had - a UA Ridge Reaper Mathews NOCAM HTR bow. So, I gathered a few items and began to layout the frame work for how I would accomplish my goal.
The UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground pattern I choose for this project required a number of different colors and shades.
Now, before I go any further it should be noted that I am no expert when it comes to adding a custom paint job to a bow. Also, I understand that these alterations have voided the warranty on my Mathews. Honestly though, I’ve been shooting Mathews bows since 92’ and have yet to have a need for the warranty. Consequently, the enthusiasm to alter the look of my new bow never faltered. However, if you choose to follow in my footsteps you should be aware of the same consequences regardless of what bow brand you may shoot.
Items Needed to Paint Your Bow
Krylon and Rust-Oleum Camouflage Paint
Obviously, paint is at the top of the list when it comes to items needed to complete this project. I choose a “flat” paint (for all colors) in order to cut down on the glare factor. The last thing I want is a shiny paint job that will draw attention when the sun hits it.
Blue Painters Tape
One word of advice - get the good stuff. The cheaper versions just peel off too easily which will result in paint going where you don’t want it to go.
X-Acto Craft Knife
This will make the precision cuts necessary to make the camo pattern cutouts.
This will be used to clean the bow of any oils that may be on it which will cause issues with the paint adhering to the bow.
This will be used to draw the camo patterns.
Non Yellowing Flat Clear Coat
This will protect the paint job from scratching and chipping.
Prepping The Bow
Before painting my bow I wiped it down thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Next, I had 2 choices: disassemble the bow and paint the parts individually or tape the sections I didn’t want painted and paint the bow as it was (fully assembled). I choose the later; opting to tape the parts of the bow I didn’t want painted and paint the rest of it.
To begin I simply taped up the cam’s and strings with my blue painters tape making sure that I covered the cam axles and roller guard wheels so that no paint would reach them. See above image.
Applying The Base Coat
After the tapping process was completed it was time to apply the first coat of paint. The first color should be the base color for your overall paint scheme. Trying to imitating the UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground design as closely as possible I choose a light Khaki as the base.
After tapping the bow I then moved on to adding the base color. This was applied to the entire bow. See above images.
Adding Additional Colors
The UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground camo carries a variety of colors so I progressed from the lightest to the darkest. The key here is designing the “pattern” of the camo. The UA camo is unlike other patterns in that it is designed using a technology called coincidental disruption. In other words, the pattern looks like a variety of different shapes and colors. Trying to copy that look is time consuming; especially when I only have a sharpie and some blue painters tape to work with.
Nonetheless, the procedure is as follows:
Place a piece of blue painters tape on a hard surface that I do not mind scratching or cutting and draw the camo pattern of my choice.
Using my X-Acto knife, cut the camo pattern out and peel the tape off of the cutting surface.
Place the tape in the area I want the camo pattern to appear making sure to tape all other areas I do not wish to paint. Be very aware of overspray. For this example I used an arrow rest I am doing in the UA Snow Reaper design.
Wait for the paint to dry and peel the tape to reveal my pattern.
As you can see in this image, each different pattern and color had to be individually done over the entire surface of the bow. Patience might be your greatest asset when attempting this project.
Basically I would choose my color, then cut out all of the camo patterns, place them on the bow, cover all areas that did not have a pattern on it and then spray over the pattern cutouts. That’s it. The hard part was repeating this process for every color scheme in the UA Ridge Reaper pattern.
For example, all of the light green patterns were cut out and placed on the bow and then painted; making sure all of the other “non-pattern” areas were covered with tape to prevent overspray. Then the dark green was done the same way, then the brown, dark brown, etc. You get the idea. It was very time consuming and exhausting but worth the effort.
After working my way through all of the different colors I let the bow sit for a few days in order to dry. Next I applied several coats of flat, non-yellowing clear coat to the bow’s finish. This helps prevent chips and scratches in the new paint job. Once the clear coat dried I simply peeled off all of the blue painters tape to reveal the finished product. I then added all of the accessories to the bow.
Here is the finished UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground bow complete with all of the accessories painted in the exact same fashion.
And lastly here is my next project done in UA Snow Reaper.
If you decide to try this project for yourself my advice would be to start off with a stabilizer, sights or arrow rest. If things don’t go well you can always remove the paint with some denatured alcohol and try it again. No harm done to your bow.
Final Thoughts for Painting a Bow
As far as performance goes, this procedure did not affect my bows accuracy. In fact, the Mathews NOCAM is still sniper accurate and in my opinion looks better than ever.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think? And would you do this to your bow?