All You Need To Know About An Airbrush Kit

All You Need To Know About An Airbrush Kit

A famous painting technique, airbrushing was first used in the late 19th century. This unique painting method evolved in the late 19th century. The process involves using an airbrush gun that uses pressurized-air to apply paint or any other material onto a surface.

There is a small container built-into the airbrush-gun where you can store the paint. The paint reservoir is at the bottom of the device. A small compressor provides the pressurized-air needed for making the tool work.

Currently, there is a slew of different applications this technique you can use it for, for example, art and decoration projects - cake layering and deco, etc. Although many professional artists use the method freehand, a few of them also prefer using a stencil for enhancing the effect.

Many of today's celebrated make-up artists rely on a handy airbrush gun to speed up their make-up. Airbrush guns are also popularly used for painting vehicles and motorcycles. They also serve as advanced tools to create nail art, fine art and for cake decoration purposes.

An artist may use different materials to accomplish the desired effects. Although, some professional artists use ink or dye; paint is the prevalent type of material used to paint canvases. There are also FDA approved food colors you can use for airbrushing to decorate cakes and fondants.

Using airbrush on a cupcake.

All airbrush artists hold the gun at varying angles or distances from a surface to create unique effects. Users can benefit from different attachments and tips for airbrushing tools that are engineered to produce specific results.

You can use airbrushing on accessories and garments including handbags and t-shirts. Thanks to its accurate results, airbrushing is now becoming accepted in cosmetology. Airbrushing is famous for applying stage and screen makeup.

You can create whimsical and unique art on your toenails with specially engineered airbrushing tools. You can also create temporary tattoos using special dye and colors.

In this article, we elaborate the uses, techniques, different types of airbrushing guns and their uses along with safety precautions to help you brush up on your airbrushing skills.

Uses Of Airbrushing

You can use airbrushes for all surface types. There are many airbrushing kits to help professionals and amateur artists to perform a myriad of tasks with specially engineered power tools. From shading details in model cars to decorating cakes using food colors; airbrushes have successfully revolutionized how you create modern art.

Artists had to rely on a steady hand and a small brush to paint thin racing stripes on a muscle car. However, it just takes the right kind of airbrush gun and accessories to create the same (and even better) effect.

The tools are used mainly for:

  • check
    Applying temporary tattoos
  • check
    Create paintings
  • check
    Decorate Cakes
  • check
    Painting model trains and cars
  • check
    Makeup application
  • check
    Paint nails

Let’s dig deeper into how airbrushing helps thousands of professionals all over the world.

Motorcycle And Vehicle Detailing

One of the most popular uses of airbrushing is its application in the bike and automotive design.  Airbrushing helps a great deal in perfecting beautiful and detailed artwork. It is particularly helpful in creating characters or animals on the fuel tanks or the hood of a sports vehicle.


Many people are unaware of how taxidermists use airbrushing to their benefit. Not only the technique speeds up their work, but it also helps a professional to create uniform color in a subject's scales, skin or coat. It is also used for soft shading and creating thin lines to accomplish extraordinary effects.

Body Art And Makeup

Although, this makeup technique is not long lasting, yet it is one of the quickest ways to experiment with body art.  Different types of airbrushes are used to create patterns, shapes, and any look.

Makeup airbrush.

The technique is hugely useful since it offers a smooth coat throughout the application. The method guarantees flawless results with its non-contact use on the porous and elastic human skin.

Fingernail Art

Another widespread use of airbrushing is to create uniquely customized nail art on a client's finger-nails. The method is excellent for improving the overall appearance of broken or imperfect toenails. 

Comic Or Book Illustration

Although airbrushing is excellent for creating an illustration - and professionals use this method to create impressive artwork in children's books and comics. Thanks to the flexibility of airbrushes, the tools are capable of producing in-depth and subtle effects that are difficult attain with a brush or pencil.

Toys And Models

It is not uncommon for artists to use airbrushes for adding realistic touches to their model trains and cars. The created effects replicate not only real-world subjects and environments but also fine-tune intricate details that are hard to work on using a regular paint brush.

Airbrushing Techniques

Airbrushing is a skill that requires time and practice to develop. When an artist becomes a pro at handling an airbrush gun, he is capable of delivering real-life effects to any artwork or creation.

Here are a few things to know about this innovative technique.

Purchase The Right Airbrush For Your Needs

Since there are plenty airbrushes, in all sizes, dimensions, and specs; it is essential to select the right one according to your work requirements. Always buy an authentic product from a trusted source such as Amazon where you can check the reviews and ratings of a model.

Different airbrushes.

Once you get hold of the best airbrushing kit or set, get familiar with its components. Many brands include a diagram that labels all the parts of the airbrush - you can also refer to the user manual.  These sources are helpful to equip amateur or first-time users who may want some help to clean the kit after multiple applications.

Get to know how each part fits into the whole assembly. A single action or external mix brush is always a good option for novices.

Air Compressor

Another crucial component of your airbrushing kit is the air compressor. It is required to supply the amount of air needed for airbrushing. Since, a few compressors can be noisy, make sure you choose a quiet one according to your work environment.

Paint Or Other Mediums

The type of paint or medium for application varies project to project. Beginners are encouraged to use water-based paints. However, a user may choose a medium according to the surface on which he is going to paint. The pattern of your design also plays a role in selecting the right medium for your airbrushing project.

If you are using airbrushing to decorate your baked items such as cakes and cookies, make sure you choose FDA approved food colorings to compliment your creation.


It is recommended that practice on wooden or plastic surfaces before you begin airbrushing professionally. Practicing with different angles and distances will give you a fair idea of how to add finishing touches to the more delicate details of your artwork.

Whether you are a make-up artist, a creative painter or a professional baker; it is important to practice before working on a client's project. Cover the floors and walls with plastic sheets to avoid an unwanted mess.


Experts combine several different techniques such as masking, layering, and friskets to add special effects to their artwork. Amateur users find it hard to accomplish sharp edges when working on smaller details.

To eliminate soft edges, professional artists prefer spraying through a stencil, commonly known as a frisket. A "frisket" is a plastic sheet with an adhesive backing that masks off specific areas of an image to expose only the area you wish to paint.

Using a frisket with an airbrush.

The airbrusher cuts throughout the frisket film with a stencil knife for opening up areas you want to spray. However, make sure you use acetate stencils for airbrushing on fabric.

Different Types Of Airbrush Guns

All airbrush guns are designed to spray color in various patterns ranging from a thin line to a wide belt. Some artists need a thin layer whereas others use a thick coat of paint to enhance their creativity. There are two types of airbrushes - external and internal.

Internal Vs. External feed

In an "external feed," the air and paint are atomized externally to offer a broad, round spray pattern.

In an internal feed, the same thing happens inside the brush for rendering a more accurate or a ‘fine dot' pattern.

These two categories are also known as "single and double action" airbrushes.

Single Action Vs. Dual action

A single action tool only controls the airflow utilizing the trigger - you can fix the amount of paint you need to spray.  Naturally, this option caters to beginners who don't have to be concerned about multiple controls.

When using dual action airbrush, a user can control the airflow when he presses the trigger and releases paint when he draws back the trigger. The airbrush is more beneficial for expert and professional artists.

Types Of Feed

How you feed the paint into the airbrush also contributes a significant role in producing varying results. Here are the most popular kinds of feed.

Gravity Feed

In this type, gravity draws the paint through from an attached cup at the top of the brush. Gravity feed is famous for working on fine details as pressure can go as low as 8 PSI while spraying.

Siphon Feed

Standard siphon feed guns are not as beneficial as they once were. Nevertheless, they are still prevalent in the auto refinish industry. This type of feed is good spraying a specialized coating such as a splatter effect and works well with pigments and metallic paint.

Owing to its convenience and effectiveness, an old-school painter may still prefer this type of gun over gravity feed.

Dual Action Feed

A cup is attached to the top or side of the brush and allows the user to experiment with different techniques. 

Bottom Feed

The paint cup is located under the brush and must have a minimum of 18 PSI during spraying. This type of feed is great for spraying at a quick pace. 

Side Feed

When you have a cup attached to the side of the brush, it makes it more convenient to reach to the small spaces and to spray accurately in all directions.

Air Sources

Air Compressor

A small air compressor is widely used by all amateur and expert airbrushing artists, all over the globe. Its ease of use and affordability make it an excellent option for long-term use. Many popular airbrushing kits feature a brand's compressor so users can efficiently operate the airbrushing gun.

Canned Propellant

Canned fuel is ideal for short or intermittent use. However, if you intend to airbrush for prolonged periods of time, then the fuel can turn out to be an expensive air source.

Training Requirements For Budding Airbrushing Artists

Although originality and creativity are the absolute prerequisites of anyone interested in taking up airbrushing as a career; you must be skilled at painting and drawing skills before becoming a professional airbrushing artist. A steady hand is usually the best asset an artist may have for embarking on a promising airbrushing career.

Airbrush artist.

The education requirements vary. But depending on the niche, you wish to specialize in; you can get enrolled in a professional school or training program where you are likely to take a few airbrushing courses.

On the other hand, artists who are interested in auto body painting should get equipped with the use of modern tools and techniques used for automotive art.

Many cosmetology schools also offer courses in airbrushing makeup or nail-art decoration.

Tips For Beginners

The best airbrushing tool for a novice artist is a simple gravity feed. That is helpful because it keeps the paint on top of the airbrush so it can smoothly flow down into the brush itself. In addition to that, you can also use a dual-action trigger since it offers more control of the paint and allows the user to adjust the amount of liquid and air that comes out.

It is also essential to invest in a good range of needles and nozzles to create multiple effects. Each needle and nozzle is for different purposes.

Getting an airbrush with a needle-stop is also great for accomplishing more precision.

Safety Tips

It is vital for airbrushing artists to follow safety precautions strictly. Since the tiny droplets that spray out of a gun can quickly get into the nose, eyes, and lungs of a user; it is essential to be careful of any toxic, allergic or irritating effects of airbrushing.

Users must wear protective gear including eye-wear to stay guarded against any harmful effects that may lead to respiratory problems.

Other Helpful Tips For Flawless Airbrushing

  • Painting gets easily spoiled if you are using an untidy airbrush. Make sure you clean the nozzle before you start work.
  • Wear protective gear and make sure you are not allergic to any paints or chemicals you are going to use. Most artists wear an industrial grade dual filter mask to steer clear of any harmful effects.
  • Learn how to dismantle and assemble the airbrush before you begin cleaning it.
  • It is crucial that you let the overspray dissipate in the air. Some users also use a spray booth or a ventilator for the same. However, spray booths can be an expensive option.
  • Beginners should start by using water-based paints before upgrading to other paint types.
  • If you have any skin problems, always wear gloves when cleaning the airbrush. Some solvents contain chemicals that can irritate your skin.

How To Maintain And Clean Your Airbrush?

If you are into airbrushing, you may already know how important it is to clean your tool regularly for prolonging its life. However, many amateur users don't realize how important it is to get to know how to dismantle and assemble the equipment so as not to damage any parts of the cleaning process.

Cleaning your airbrush gun.

There are also a few signs that help you to know when the right time to clean your airbrush-gun is. Ideally, a gun needs to be cleaned after the end of a long painting session or between color changes. Cleaning is also mandatory when your tool gives the following signs:

  • check
    There are several coats of paint on the airbrush-gun
  • check
    The paint fails to flow out smoothly
  • check
    Your airbrush gets clogged

Regular cleaning not only prevents minor or significant performance issues, but it also helps to avoid a dirty or clogged airbrush. Follow all cleaning instructions that come with every airbrushing kit. Moreover, when you invest in a good quality airbrushing-kit, cleaning and maintaining it is less complicated.

Follow these steps to keep your airbrush gun clean and functional.

Airbrush Cleaning Steps

For those of you who don’t know, airbrushes are comfortable to clean while they are still wet. Hardened or dry paint is delicate to remove from any surface. There are different ways to clean your airbrushing gun which vary according to the type of paint used. 

Oil-based paints are more difficult to clean than water-based paints. We have elaborated both the methods for cleaning water and oil-based paints, for your convenience.

Water-Based Paint

  • If you have used water-colors or acrylic paint, follow these instructions for cleaning your airbrushing tool. 
  • Make sure the airbrush has no paint content. Unscrew the jar from a siphon-fed airbrush or dump out the reservoir on top of a gravity-fed airbrush.
  • Pour all the paint back into its original container.
  • Pour the cleaning solution into the fluid reservoir.
  • Now spray the airbrush as you usually do while painting to allow the solution through all the parts of the tool.
  • Detach the back of the airbrush and remove the needle and spray the solution through the end of the airbrush.
  • Check if the needle is clean by reinserting it and pulling it back out to check for any paint. The inside of the airbrush is clean if your needle comes out clean. Go for another round of cleaning, if you find any liquid on the needle.
  • Lastly, reassemble the airbrush.
  • A few users also lubricate the needle before they put it back into the airbrush.

Oil-Based Paint

  • When you are cleaning oil-based paint from an airbrush, make sure you follow these instructions.
  • Empty out all color content from the airbrush to put it back the container.
  • Now spray any excess into a paper bag or bin.
  • Take a wide-mouthed can that is large enough to hold the airbrush and pour some lacquer thinner into it.
  • Immerse the nozzle into the lacquer thinner to swish it around.
  • Pour lacquer thinner in the reservoir and spray it through the airbrush back into the can.
  • Repeat until the lacquer thinner comes out clear.

Deep Cleaning

If you are experiencing significant problems using your airbrush gun, it may require deep cleaning to prevent you from clogging it.

  • Disassemble the airbrush gun by following the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Soak needle cap, nozzle, nozzle cap and the body in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Also, wipe the needle clean with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
  • Put it together according to your airbrush specifications.


An airbrush gun gives you the freedom to create impressive artwork which is otherwise impossible to create with another tool. If you are tired of using traditional decoration and applications tools and look forward to upgrading to an advanced device; the airbrushing gun comes to your rescue.

Putting color in your airbrush.

Thanks to its soaring popularity and incredible benefits; thousands of professional make-up artists, baking enthusiasts, and professional painters have warmly embraced the innovation that has completely transformed the way we painted and decorated.

However, like all other equipment, airbrushing sets must be taken care of by cleaning them regularly. It is essential to clean your tools between colors and after use to prevent them from clogging or muddying your effects.

An airbrush is a mechanical device. However, it functions as any other brush or tool. Treat your airbrushing kits with care and respect to reap many benefits.  

Check out our Buying Guide if you are interested in purchasing the best airbrushing kit for your artistic ventures.

Leave a Comment: