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Tips for Masking and Painting Your Model Rocket

  • 01 Jun 2022

Assembling model rockets is a great way to learn about aerospace and gives kids a chance to get hands-on with the learning process. However, there are a few key steps to follow, as with any project, to ensure this one turns out properly. In this guide, we’ve laid out some tips for masking and painting your model rocket to keep this project fun and simple.

Prepare the Rocket

Before masking or painting your model rocket, you’ll have to assemble it and ensure that you attach each part correctly. There shouldn’t be large globs of glue or other types of surface damage since you’ll see both through the paint.

Don’t fret if you notice some paint drips, especially if this is a beginner-level rocket for elementary-aged students. With some sandpaper, you can smooth out the surface. Also, remember to brush away any particles and dust before painting.


If possible, remove the nose cone so that you can paint this separately. You don’t want to paint the nose cone while it still connects to the body because this could get it stuck once the paint dries. If the nose is supposed to pop off after launching so that the parachute can deploy, that could create some problems.

Masking Your Rocket

You’ll want to mask areas you don’t plan to paint; you’d be surprised how easy it is to accidentally drip paint on the fins as you paint the body. First, mask any area you don’t plan to paint. Then, with some masking tape, tack this down so that it doesn’t slip as you work.

Painting Your Rocket

When the time comes to paint the rocket, begin by applying a layer of primer. This will help ensure the paint sticks to the body and make the color stand out more. For the best outcome, use the correct primer for the paint color you plan on using. There are a few types to know:

  • White primer: Best for light colors like white and yellow
  • Gray primer: Best for medium shades like green, orange, and some shades of blue
  • Black primer: Best for dark colors like navy, red, or black.

Give your primer time to dry before evaluating your rocket to see if there are any areas where it dripped. If you notice drips, rub some 600-grit sandpaper on the site to help remove them before wiping the rocket down and preparing your base color.

While painting, you should also remember that it’s better to start with a single coat than risk overdoing it. You can always add layers if the coat appears transparent after drying. But adding too much at once can create a streaky look.

Shop for Quality Rockets

AC Supply has Estes model rocket kits for every skill level, so hobbyists of all ages can enjoy this fantastic pastime. Now that you know the essential tips for masking and painting your model rocket, it’s time to buy your model to assemble and decorate. This can make learning about rockets exciting for everyone!