View Full Version : AR-15 Lower Graphics Color Fill

02-14-2012, 8:44 PM
I've got my first AR-15 lower on order and I'm looking at the various ways to color fill the graphics and lettering. I found several videos online with instructions.

The methods that I saw included using crayons, enamel paint, whiteout, fingernail polish, etc, to fill the design/letters. Then cleaning up the excess material applied using Rem oil, isopropyl alcohol, MEK (methyl-ethyl ketone), fingernail polish remover, paint thinner, etc.

My concerns are these:
1) I want to use something fairly permanent. The fingernail polish or enamel paint seem like the best options to me. The others seem very temporary.

2) I'm concerned that the organic solvents used for clean-up may dull or damage the finish on the receiver. Is this a concern? I'm also wondering if it makes sense to add a clear coat of laquer or varnish on top of the paint?

What methods have you had the best results with? Any tips or suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

02-14-2012, 9:04 PM
I went the tacti-crayola route on my 15-22 and have been impressed with the durability of it. Fired thousands of rounds and done some pretty through cleanings and it's still on there.

If you want true permanence though I would probably recommend going one of the other routes. Model paint was the other method I considered, but I was unsure of how I would like it a year or two down the road and figured it was easier to redo/undo the crayola if I changed my mind.

02-14-2012, 9:35 PM
I went with enamel paint, a toothpick, and all worked out great. I used a thick business card to scrape the excess paint off, then just repeated the process until i completely filled the engraving. laquer or varnish is not necessary. Oh, and Hoppe's #9 works well to clean the lower when you are finished, and NO it will not dull or damage the lower.

Worst case, if you try it and don't like it, you can remove and start over or leave it stock.

Good luck-

02-14-2012, 10:25 PM
First tape around the area you want to paint
I also used model paint with a needle/tooth pick
Like tatoo style, dip ink a little bit at a time
I ran two layers for white; have a few q-tips ready to absorb
Extra paint that might leak or over flow; came out clean and sharp
Plus no need to wipe anything, take it slow

02-14-2012, 10:29 PM
I went this route. Less than 5 bucks (wife's fingernail polish remover price not included, LOL)


02-15-2012, 12:38 AM
there's a stickied thread (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=59672) about this over in the gunsmithing forum.

02-15-2012, 3:08 AM
Laquer Stick from Brownells. Wipe on wipe off that simple. That's what it's made for.

02-15-2012, 5:11 AM
Yeah I went with the crayons as well and is working out pretty good and the great thing about it is I can remove the colors when I want and switch it up for new ones in the future. But until then I haven't noticed any of the wax coming out of the etching.

02-15-2012, 7:04 AM
did my lower with crayons 2 years ago. still looks new

Paper Boy
02-15-2012, 7:17 AM
I went with model paint and its help up well

02-15-2012, 7:40 AM
Thanks all for your thoughts. Good stuff!

02-15-2012, 8:16 AM
Enamel paint and thinner. Painted it thickly over the rollmarks. Once dry, applied thinner to a paper towel and cleaned off the paint not in the rollmarks. Really easy and didn't have to worry about being neat and clean.

02-15-2012, 9:13 AM
I did mine with a model paint pen from Walmart. Very easy and looks great after.

02-15-2012, 10:20 AM
+1 model paint!

02-15-2012, 10:28 AM
Testors paint, cover the whole roll-mark and let dry 5min. then take a linen cloth (you want something with NO "nap" or fuzziness) and wet with Testors Thinner. Gently wipe in one direction several times until the paint is removed from everything but in the roll-mark grooves. Let dry.