Even kids can learn how to use a sponge to paint.

How to Sponge Paint Camouflage Patterns

by RS Wagner

Enlist the help of your child and support our troops at the same time by sponge painting your child's bedroom wall -- or even a piece of furniture -- in a military-style camouflage pattern. Camouflage patterns consist of wavy and irregular splotches of four colors layered over each other. Use a natural sea sponge to apply the colors for best results, as synthetic sponges produce a straighter, more regular pattern. When painting camo with a sponge, apply the colors from light to dark. If you have never tried sponge painting before, practice first on a piece of cardboard.

Base Coat and Layers

Cover any molding or trim with blue painter's tape if you are painting a wall. Spread a dropcloth on the floor. Tape the edges of the dropcloth along the wall to hold it in place.

Apply the base coat with the roller. Select forest green for a tropical, summer or winter color scheme. Apply earth red for a red desert look or sand for a gray desert style. Use an edging paint pad or small angled brush to edge the corners, wall top and bottom. Cover 45 percent of the wall with the base coat.

Soak the flat end of the sea sponge into the paint. Choose dark green for the tropical and summer look or field drab for a winter camouflage style. Select earth yellow for the red desert or field drab for gray desert. Run the sponge over the inside edge of the paint tray or on a piece of cardboard, eliminating any excess paint.

Lightly press the sponge to the wall in a random pattern. Use a camouflage stencil if you would like a more defined camouflage design. Dab the paint in only the stencil areas. Cover 45 percent of the wall in this manner.

Create a random color pattern by twisting the sponge left and right as you press the sponge to the wall. Overlap as necessary, but do so sparingly.

Use a different sponge for each color. Repeat the instructions for the first layer. Sponge each of the last two colors on 5 percent of the wall.

Sponge on the remaining layers with light green and black for tropical camo, sand and black for summer, winter and red desert. Include earth yellow and black with the gray desert pattern.

Items you will need

  • Blue painter's tape
  • Dropcloth
  • Edging paint pad or small angled brush
  • One of the following color combinations:
  • Tropical Camo: Forest green, dark green, light green, black
  • Summer Camo: Forest green, dark green, sand, black
  • Winter Camo: Forest green, field drab, sand, black
  • Red Desert Camo: Earth red, earth yellow, sand, black
  • Gray Desert Camo: Sand, field drab, earth yellow, black
  • Natural sea sponges
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • Camouflage stencil (optional)


  • If you want some of the base color to show through when using a stencil, randomly dab the paint inside the stencil, leaving some transparent areas.
  • Thin latex paint with one part of water to eight parts of paint.
  • Step back from the wall occasionally, ensuring the pattern isn't too heavy in any certain area.
  • When sponge painting in corners, cut smaller pieces off the sponge.


  • If you don't blend the edges of the walls with the center of the wall before the paint dries, you will achieve an unsavory picture frame pattern around the wall.
  • Don't wait until the paint dries to apply the next layer.

About the Author

RS Wagner began writing professionally in 1997 as a frequent contributor to the "Sun Herald's" column, "What's Cookin'." She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from William Carey University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images