About 3 years ago, I got tired of making pretty bows. Don't get me wrong, I still like them, and I still make them, but most of the time for my personal bows, I just like camo. Here is a really simple way to get a nice looking and effective camo job on your bow.
I am starting with the osage selfbow I made for the Bowyer's Journal Ambush Bow Contest. I initially painted it flat black but that was too simple. I had to complicate it just a bit. Don't get carreid away trying to make this too hard. It just plain isn't.
Here it is, sanded and ready to go.
I am using some flat black spray paint from Krylon for the first layer. You can go about doing a camo job in a couple different ways, light first, then overlay some dark or dark first and then masking off the areas you want to stay that color. I chose the latter because it's easier to mask off the smaller areas I want to stay dark. You use a touch more paint doing it this way but it's a small amount anyway. And paint is pretty cheap. Most of what we see in the woods is light with dark streaks.
Here it is painted black.
Then some masking tape and a sharp blade to cut the strips. Again, keep this simple and remember you want more light than dark. Mask off small strips. Use random sizes and shapes. I think it looks best to taper the strips but it really doesn't matter that much. And, this is not the 90's, less is definitely more. Try to move from the handle to the tip so later when you pull the tape, you can move from the tip to the handle and make your life easier.
Then paint it a slightly lighter color. I chose a camo green from Krylon. It is ultra flat paint and works really well.
Do the masking once again. Cross some of the previously masked areas and then lay some alongside them. Mix it up and don't have too much dark in any one area. Again less is more. Planned randomness is a good idea. Everything you masked before is going to stay black and everything you mask now will be green (unless it's black). Got that?
Then spray it with your final, very light, color.
Then peel the tape. Take your time. Don't pull your hard work off. Try to distinguish between layers, pulling the most recently added layer off first. It's much cleaner and easier that way.
Here is the result with a flash and about 10 feet away.
Here it is from 25 feet
The tape will leave some ridges. Scrape them off gently with your fingernail. Don't sand it. That might muddy your paint job.
A final coat of matte clear or satin poly after the paint fully cures and you are ready to go.