Airbrushing 'rules'

Decorating By saberger Updated 2 Jan 2014 , 3:28am by tinkybellcmd

saberger Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:16pm
post #1 of 38

I did it!!! I finally dived in and tried airbrushing. I used black on a dummy to see how it works. I put a box in the background and sides to keep things neat, but it is all over my floor! How do I maintain the spray? I feel like I have to set up an area in the garage just for this mess!

Any suggestions?

Also, how long does it take to dry? I used it once on a fondant border on a fondant cake and there was so much condensation....should I wait until it defrosts before airbrushing? Can I stencil on top of it? Anything else I should be aware of?


37 replies
saberger Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:06pm
post #2 of 38

Anybody? And the airbrushing is still wet! Does it ever dry?!

jillangel Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:19pm
post #3 of 38

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by condensation but when something similar happend to me it is from holding the gun in one place too long or too close. It eventually does dry but takes a bit of time. I sometimes do light layers and let them dry and go back and keep adding to it. I haven't had too much of a mess with overspray so can't help much there. I lay newspaper or wax paper down to shield from the mess. It's fun once you get the hang of it!

cs_confections Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:33pm
post #4 of 38

Earlene's husband built her a cabinet for airbrushing (and I've read posts where others here have done the same). She has pictures and details on her site at

I just use mine on countertop - I first cover a large area with parchment paper (it doesn't stop it all from spreading but a great deal of it) and I haven't found any on the floor. When I spray the counter and side of my fridge with my cleaning spray, I can see where it is because the spray mixes with the color - but I've never had it stain.

What do you mean "wait for it to thaw?" I've never airbrushed a cold or frozen surface, but I have read that you shouldn't refrigerate an airbrushed cake because the condensation can make the colors run. It does take a while for the color to become dry to touch on my cakes. And yes, you can use stencils. I've used some that are made just for cakes and others from the crafts section meant for other projects. The ones for cakes are easier as their thinner and bend around the cake better, but are more costly.


saberger Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:26pm
post #5 of 38

Thank you for the info everyone! In regards to thawing the cake, I meant that I usually ice a cake when it is frozen, so I didn't know if I should wait for it to come to room temperature before airbrushing.

Thanks CS for the info on the stencils.....icon_wink.gif I already have quite a few icon_wink.gif I just wasn't sure if I could use them on cakes that have been airbrushed since it never seems to dry!!! Aaahhh!! Very frustrating. But since I have other things to do today, I can just let it sit out and see how long it takes.

Do you think I might be using the wrong nozzle on the airbrush and that is making it spray all over the place? I did cover the counters, just not the floor.

Kiddiekakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:35pm
post #6 of 38

If you turn the PSI down and spray lightly the overspray isn't that bad.It's when you put it on full blast and spray red or Blue it gets everywhere!

KHalstead Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:39pm
post #7 of 38

definitely wait until the cake is thawed or the color will get spotty too with the condensation. Remember 10 light coats is better than 1 heavy coat. If you do one light coat at a time it'll be dry in less than 2 minutes, if you spray a heavy coat it can take an hr. or more to dry fully and it will look streaky and not even.

dandelion56602 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:06pm
post #8 of 38

Glad you aked the question b/c an airbrush is a near future purchase for me. What kind of buttercream do you use? If it's not butter based you might could use a hair dryer on low. (I'm not talking right at the surface 1" away), but stand at a distance & slowly "dry it" may speed it up & keep it from being blotchy.

As for your floor. Scrubbing bubbles to the rescue. If it gets the color off my hands, counters, floors, etc it should work for yours too. (altough I've never used it on natural stone)

sadsmile Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:20pm
post #9 of 38

A regular old fan would help dry it.

Lcubed82 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:22pm
post #10 of 38

I just picked up an airbrush with the 40% coupon from Hobby Lobby. Now to order some colors. I have to leave town a few days, so colors should be here when I get back! I got a book about airbrushing from the library (not cakes) to read in the car.

BCo Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:29pm
post #11 of 38

On the floor/walls/wherever you think it couldn't possibly go .... it will!!

Have you blown your nose yet?!?!? icon_lol.gif

I cover the table with newspaper - set my turntable on top of that and cover with paper and I have a big piece of cardboard that I cut up and made a spraybox out of! But yet I still seem to find overspray in the weirdest places!! icon_smile.gif

saberger Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:24pm
post #12 of 38
Originally Posted by Bturpin

Have you blown your nose yet?!?!? icon_lol.gif

I am SOOOO glad someone else said!! I thought it was just me!

I am going to try the layers of light spray my garage icon_wink.gif

BCo Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:26pm
post #13 of 38
Originally Posted by saberger

Originally Posted by Bturpin

Have you blown your nose yet?!?!? icon_lol.gif

I am SOOOO glad someone else said!! I thought it was just me!

I am going to try the layers of light spray my garage icon_wink.gif

Oh yea, I had a dark blue cake that I airbrushed and my son walked through the room not even 3 seconds while I was airbrushing it and later that night he wanted to know why he was blowing out blue gunk!! LOL No one is safe! icon_smile.gif

dandelion56602 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:19pm
post #14 of 38

Earlene's reminds me of the hoods we used in chemistry class

saberger Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:32pm
post #15 of 38

So, let me ask about the tape. On tv I saw decorators using that blue tape on the cake. When I tried it, it stuck to my cake. Was I using the right stuff?

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:57pm
post #16 of 38

Unless this has been suggested, and I'm not about to scan all the replies.....get a couple of those posterboard setups they sell for science fair exhibits. You know, they are a foam core tri fold dealie thingy....instant airbrush "box". And line your floors with newspaper or a drop cloth.

And, blow your nose after airbrushing dark colors, check out the dark boogers you inevitably WILL have!

Donnagardner Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:17pm
post #17 of 38

I am gonna get one of those boxes!!

Tee-Y Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 11:25pm
post #18 of 38

I love my airbrush and I always do dark colours in light layers and it works like a dream, it dries so fast but I'm so gonna consider getting a box made for me, ugh- I've never blown my nose after airbrushing but now I shudder to think of all that has gone in thru my nose all this time icon_eek.gif !!!!!!

DDiva Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 12:04am
post #19 of 38

I've made Earlene's spray box and it works great!! It's very easy to make and only costs about $20-$25. You can make it as large or small as you need.

The shop I'm in now had a little three sided display area with a kitchen counter top and cabinet. I bought one of those rounded shower curtains and attached it to the outside of it. Then I bought several yards of vinyl and made a floor to ceiling shower curtain. Attached shower curtain hooks and slid the curtain onto the rod. Then I had my electrician put in a bathroom fan (the same thing used in Earlene's box), a light and an outlet...and I was all set. I covered the walls of this area with sheets of foam core, and on the countertop I use the paper you sit on at the drs office.

To eliminate green, blue or red 'boogers' wear a respirator mask. It really is a great idea anyway. Inhaling flour, confectioners sugar, and now airbrush color is not a good idea and will eventually make your sinuses go nuts.

sadsmile Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 12:31am
post #20 of 38

You can wear a painters mask. The color dust can cause lung issues in the long run-especially with continued exposure.

I like the idea of taking a large appliance box and cutting a door that can later be closed back up to keep the box free from dust and hair and other debre.

jlynnw Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 12:46am
post #21 of 38

DDiva has a good point. I always have problems with some colors and my sinuses. Luster dust and shimmer mist is the worst. You go in for a check up and the dr is a bit concerned about the color of you nose. Yeah, that was a fun visit.

I get the end rolls of newspaper. Our local place gives them away for nothing as does the recycle center. I line the counter with it. I also use the display board for a backdrop and another at the top on an angle to contain the mess.

KatieKake Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 2:36am
post #22 of 38

one more thing ladies, if you have a forced air furnace, ( registers where the heat comes out) do not use your air brush while the furnace is on, that can be a disaster, you will find your color all over the house. I don't know how it works but it does, up stairs, down stairs, all around the house.

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 2:53am
post #23 of 38
Originally Posted by KatieKake

one more thing ladies, if you have a forced air furnace, ( registers where the heat comes out) do not use your air brush while the furnace is on, that can be a disaster, you will find your color all over the house. I don't know how it works but it does, up stairs, down stairs, all around the house.

The cold air intake duct will grab up the mist and deposit it around.

I have a friend who told me that the first time she used her airbrush, she used red. The laundry was drying a few feet away - whites. When she checked it, it had all gone pink! Luckily, it's water soluable, so she just had to rewash everything. Next time, didn't do it by the dryer!

Sweetsbym Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 3:08am
post #24 of 38

Hi, where can i buy an airbrush? icon_biggrin.gif

saberger Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 6:38pm
post #25 of 38

Thanks. I did set up a box, rather than get that background thing that was mentioned. I cut the box a part and put it behind the cake so it wouldn't get sprayed all over the backsplash. I ended up having to wash the floor three times! And it wasn't just in that was the entire kitchen! I like that shower curtain idea, but not in my kitchen icon_wink.gif

The spray finally dried.....couple of damp spots here and there. What about using tape on the fondant if I wanted to do stripes or keep the spray from covering an entire cake? Any suggestions?

jlynnw Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 7:15pm
post #26 of 38

I have used the painters tape - blue tape. I let the cake set and firm up. I do not refridgerate my cake. I then tape off the cake, airbrush it and let the color dry a few minutes and then remove the tape. Here again, a few light coats of color dries faster, more even than a heavy coat. Once the color is dry, I remove the tape. Just make sure you do not have any corn starch, powder sugar or shortening on the cake. That prevents the tape from sticking good and you end up with feathered lines. I have also been told this is not food safe so I don't know. I have seen it used by many of the "big Names" on tv.

cakebaker1957 Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 7:52pm
post #27 of 38
Originally Posted by Sweetsbym

Hi, where can i buy an airbrush? icon_biggrin.gif

Hobby Lobby, Michaels, use the coupons off, and you can order one on the website just google,

saberger Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 9:47pm
post #28 of 38

So, I changed the tip on the airbrush to medium spray, finally used that Wilton plastic tablecloth thingy that I never really had a use for (thanks Wilton!!) on my kitchen island, put down one of those floor mats that go on the floor under highchairs (which never served its purpose), and raised my three sided box....and wore gloves. Much better results! I did not have to clean the floor at all! Whoo-hoo. Next time....mask!

I confess that I didn't do light layers because I realized that I am just too damn impatient to do that, but it didn't seem as saturated with color. Granted I decided to use blue instead of black today, but I'll see how long it takes to dry today.

It was kind of cool - I had used another old dummy that I practiced my RI stencils on...well, I had used Crisco to try to keep the stencil in place on the fondant and after I airbrushed it, it gave an old-world-kind-of-worn-down look since the color didn't stick entirely on the crisco. I have to try to find a way to incorporate that on a cake. Can I use tape once it has been airbrushed?

And I looked up at my AC vent that is on the other side of the kitchen and noticed it had a light film of black on it....ha, ha, ha.....never even thought about that part!

UberSpoonyG Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 6:38am
post #29 of 38

hello Sabeger....
Of course, you would pick black Airbrush Paint, the darkest colorant in the paint is way more likely for overspray bomblastment then any other color.....I try very hard not to use black at all if i can,and when i do, I dial air pressure even lower then the 20 PSI"s reccommended.
Unfortunately, black is a vital color for the more deep color designs.
To do coverage over major portions of a cake you will need to take the precautions that you have already, and as you get better control over your airbrush you will need less air pressure which in the end is the ultimate goal you will be striving for.
I cnt say how much i am impressed by your desire and persistance with this new skill you are learning.....I went thru the very same to reach the level i am at. Paint it, and they will come!

BakingJeannie Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 3:28pm
post #30 of 38

I bought an airbrush and compressor and found that each time I set my PSI at 20 or less the compressor 'strat' and 'stop' and this drives me crazy. I have to use up to 40 PSI and it's hard to control the spray even though I have a double action airbrush. It takes forever to clean! I know it should not be like this.

As for the colorful buggers icon_redface.gif my DH does not like the idea of my "show and tell" icon_lol.gif . I use a mask too and it covers my body. Even in my ears!

Think I'll try making that spraybox by Erlene because in my studio, I have my computer and yes, it's on my screen too.

I have found some good points here.


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