A Guide to Custom Painting Your Tools

Put an artistic edge onto your workbench's MVP.

A reliable, well-crafted tool will last for ages and see you through all kinds of outdoor and DIY projects. And to set it apart from the pack, personalizing any of your tools — like, say, the above Harcore Hammers hatchet from Lumberjack — with an easy paint job turns it into a one-of-a-kind art object that's display-worthy when you're not putting it to good use. They're a cool addition to any style-minded woodsman's tool shed, but we figure you don't have to chop your own wood to own one — they can serve as a rustic home decoration if you live in the city.

Since we had some hatchets on hand, we decided to roll up our sleeves, and paint our very own. All you need is some painter's tape, spray paint, primer, and a design. Here's how we did it, and how you can do the same.

Wipe off any grime and make sure the handle is dirt-free.

Use a medium-grit sandpaper to sand the entire handle. Primer will stick better to the unfinished, slightly coarse surface.

Visualize your design, then tape off the part that won't be painted.

Spray the section you plan to paint with primer. Let it dry, then add another coat. Add a layer of white spray paint if you plan to leave any of the handle white -- the primer by itself will look unfinished.

Once the primer is completely dry, slowly remove the painter's tape to get a clean line.

Tape off the handle again, this time leaving the areas you want colored uncovered. If you're doing multiple colors in close proximity, just tape off one color's section at a time and work in stages.

Add your paint, spraying in short passes from about a foot away. Let dry, add another coat, and let dry again.

Slowly unwrap the tape, and boom: a custom-painted tool. If you want to color more sections, now's when you can add more painter's tape accordingly and repeat. Just make sure that the paint that's already on the handle is 100% dry first, otherwise the tape will peel it right off and you'll have to touch it up.

And that's all there is to it. If you give it a shot yourself, let us know how it turns out.

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