Making Realistic Gun Props

Thursday, 29 December 2011, 8:00 | Author : Janet
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If you want to quickly and easily create a gun prop to accessorize your costume, we recommend implementing a technique called “silver leafing.”  The term “leafing” normally refers to a sheet of paper that is used to transfer metal pigments onto a solid surface by applying pressure; however, we tend to use it’s simplified counterpart “Rub n’ Buff Silver Leaf” which is a rub-on paint.  As you can see in the above picture, this technique will add dimension and distressing for an authentic-looking prop.  (Note: Silver is one of many available in the “Rub n’ Buff” collection.  For gun props, we recommend using traditional metallic colors, such as gold, bronze, or silver.)

In order to make this tutorial completely beginner-friendly, you should purchase a pre-made base for your gun.  You can usually find plastic models of guns similar to what you need, since toy manufacturers model their foam-projectile guns off of real guns.  As a starting point, be sure to check out the toy guns at Nerf, Buzz Bee, Lanard, and MacTommy.

Once you have your prop base, use the following tutorial to complete the “leafing” process:

Color Any Hard to Reach Areas
Are there any areas of your gun that you will not be leafing?  For this specific gun prop, we wanted the front of the barrel to be silver and the rest of the gun to be black.  We started by applying a coat of silver paint.
Add Painters Tape as Needed
You can protect your gun by wrapping tape around different parts that should not be painted.  In this way, you can continue to spray paint large areas without worry.
  Apply the Base Coat to Prepare for Leafing
This can be any color you choose – though we believe that matte paints will provide the best accent.  For a standard gun, black is an acceptable color choice.
  Apply “Rub ‘n Buff” Leafing
Be sure to grab a clean rag and squeeze a small drop of leafing onto it.  If the base coat is completely dry, you may begin to apply the leafing, rubbing any hard edge, raised text, engraved pattern, or random “scuffed” surface.  You really can’t over-do this effect.  However, be cautious of the transient nature of this “paint”; it doesn’t dry and it will continue to smear upon contact with any surface. Once you are satisfied with the level of distress, you may remove any tape and apply a clear-coat sealant.

(As mentioned in a previous post, when preparing gun props for a convention, you should disable the trigger and add an orange tip on the end of your barrel to distinguish your weapon as a costume prop.)

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