Paintball is a rugged sport and expensive equipment is usually necessary to participate. Paintball guns can cost $500 and paintball-specific clothing can cost up to $100. Ammunition, CO2 cartridges, goggles and other equipment necessary for play can put quite a dent into your wallet. However, some money can be saved by finding homemade replacements for equipment.
Paintball guns come in many varieties. Building your own depends on what kind of equipment you have available and how much regard you have for your own safety. These guns have been made from exhaust pipes, PVC and sheet metal. PVC seems to be the cheapest and most popular material. However, PVC is not pressure-tested and using a PVC gun can cause serious injury. Combustion-style designs and air guns are slightly safer but still pose a risk. There are various sites online to help you create your own gun but in the end the only safe gun is one bought from a store.
Besides goggles and ear protection, other paintball armor is not necessary for play. However, paintballs can hurt and often cause bruises and welts. Layering clothing is helpful but will not always reduce the pain inflicted from close range. Paintball armor bought at stores can be rather expensive and often covers only the chest. For a simple and cheap alternative, go to a thrift store and find a parka or other thick coat. Fake leather may not look cool but it will afford premium protection against paintballs. Wearing a jacket will protect your chest, back and arms. Most paintball armor only provides a chest plate. Other designs have been made by layering household items such as saran wrap, shower curtains and tarps. However, these are usually very uncomfortable and can cause dehydration.
Accessories such as mines and grenades can be bought at stores but paintball players have been making these themselves since before they have been marketed. Paintball grenades can be made from simple water balloons. These, unfortunately, are difficult to transport without breaking. A sturdier alternative to balloons is to use surgical-grade nylon tubing. Though this will be slightly more expensive, your grenades will not backfire on you.