Talk To Me About Airbrushing, Please.

Decorating By mrsc808 Updated 3 Jan 2010 , 10:48pm by Darthburn

mrsc808 Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 4:36am
post #1 of 17

How hard is it? What brands to do you recommend? I see a lot of pictures where you all do amazing things with it and I would like to know more about it.

Thank you!

16 replies
Darthburn Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 4:45am
post #2 of 17

I waited 3 years to get into airbrushing and wished I had done it sooner after I got it.

I am still a super NOOB at it, but it's really nice so far to put fades in or add accents to cakes with it. Even just to paint rather than color your fondant.

For me, it's not hard... but it is going to take some practicing.

I can't really recommend brands, I don't have a KopyKake or anything... I have a $70 Harbor Frieght 40psi oiless compressor and a pro airbrush kit that works super awesome.

Everyone has recommended using Americolor airbrush coloring and I have yet to buy some. I currently mix Wilton gel with vodka and it comes out good... but I think the Americolor would be far better and possibly not as glossy. You can buy a starter kit with multiple colors for only like $30 on their site to from what I remember.

That is about all I can say right now. Maybe some of the Pro's will give you their input. icon_smile.gif
Good luck!

confectionsofahousewife Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 6:46pm
post #3 of 17

Thanks for posting this. I'd like to get into this also but am unsure what to buy even after reading various threads about the subject. I'd also like to see some photos of cakes using airbrush techniques if anyone is willing to post them icon_biggrin.gif

zdebssweetsj Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 6:51pm
post #4 of 17

If you have a hobby Lobby nearby the sell the airbrush kits and you can use your 40% off coupon on them. You can goggle free airbrush lessons and find some really good tutorials. You'll love it .

loopilu Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 7:01pm
post #5 of 17

I am intersted too. I can't find any courses near me, is it something you can teach yourself or do you need to be taught? icon_confused.gif

Darthburn Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 8:17pm
post #6 of 17

Everyone says to learn you buy some (Dollar Tree) coloring books and practice on those. Just as you would crayons, hone your technique until you can stay in the lines and shade like you want.

Confections, it's not a good example of all the powers of an airbrush, but I airbrushed my Jack Skellington cake. I did his coat and his bowtie black... just to avoid trying to make black fondant again.

I've used it for a nice color fade effect on other cakes, and I've painted with it on pastillage with great results.

Mostly I like using it for accents. The next time I make a Jack cake I'm going to use it to shadow and accent his face better. I had the idea after this cake was done.

zdebssweetsj Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 8:57pm
post #7 of 17

It's something you really have to do hands on, there are a lot of instruction materials and books, read and practice,practice,practice. Do yourself a favor build some kind of containment area for that over spray and make sure you cut off any fans that might pull the color thruout your house.

ibmoser Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 9:08pm
post #8 of 17

I was fortunate enough to take a class in airbrushing with Bronwen Weber and Francois Long. They recommended the set-up below as a good workhorse system. This is actually what they shipped in for students to use if they didn't bring their own. I took my 40%-off-from-Michaels-two-years-ago-but-never-used Badger, and it worked just fine, too. Google will give you lots of tutorials that will help with techniques. Just like all other aspects of decorating, practice is the key. Newbies like me tend to be a little spastic when learning, so my one recommendation (and my only complaint about the Badger) is to look for a covered pigment cup. I'm a Southern Redneck (please notice that the caps elevate this to a proper category) and am barefoot most of the time, and those weird colors between my toes were just hard to explain. I'm now using Press N Seal with a hole poked in the middle over my cup LOL. Dual action brushes (air and pigment are controlled separately) give you more control. I taped big sheets of plain newsprint on my freezer in the garage for practice. Be careful of your surroundings when practicing - color can go well beyond your intended target at first.

Compressor from Harbor freight

Airbrush from Galaxy

kjt Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 9:16pm
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by ibmoser

I'm a Southern Redneck (please notice that the caps elevate this to a proper category)

don't mean to hijack the thread, but I loved this icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

zdebssweetsj Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 9:35pm
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by kjt

Originally Posted by ibmoser

I'm a Southern Redneck (please notice that the caps elevate this to a proper category)

don't mean to hijack the thread, but I loved this icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Me to N. AL / Middle Ga. if you think people look at your toes funny, forget to wash your face (nose) before you run to the store LOL icon_lol.gif

ibmoser Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 11:24pm
post #11 of 17

Oh, yes - that, too icon_lol.gif Psychedelic, even.......

mrsc808 Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 12:22am
post #12 of 17

Thank you, I'll be sure to look. Unfortunately, no Hobby Lobby or Michael's in Honolulu but my hubby loves Harbor Freight so that is normally a must when we are in Vegas.

CakeBakerSoulShaker Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 12:53am
post #13 of 17

Ive been looking to invest in an airbrush myself and trying to do research. Ive used them before in the past so I am mildly familiar but it is always different when youre investing in something to own! I have had a lot of luck finding kits on ebay that come with pens, compressors, hoses and colors for really fair prices. And ill agree with everyone and say as far as technique its all about practice. Just ice a bunch of white rounds and go to town!

Darthburn Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 10:29pm
post #14 of 17

Ibmoser - It's finally glad to hear someone else mention using Harbor Freight's air compressors. I felt like everytime I mentioned that is where I got mine, others didn't approve. So it's good to see more mention of it.

I bought mine almost a year ago now, but researched it for 2 years prior. They are affordable and work really well, and most importantly OILLESS.

I have a 40 psi that came as a kit (compressor and dual action airbrush). Some people use single action air brushes, but I like mine because of the control I have on it. Plus I can gravity feed or use the bottom jar. The only recommendations I have to add to this compressor (if you want) is a moisture trap (you don't want to spray water on your fondant cake) and a pressure regulator to vary the PSI you use. The regulator really isn't needed though since you have air control with the airbrush itself.

30PSI is fine, 40PSI is fine... getting any higher and you might blow a hole in your cake... but only if you get close and full on open the air full.

Here is a cake that used an airbrush... again not for art, but to achieve the correct shading of the box:

Kiddiekakes Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 10:34pm
post #15 of 17

I love my airbrush but still after 5 years could use some help shading..Grrrr..I don't use a crusting BC or fondant..I use a soft whipped bakery icing so I can't lean a piece of cardstock or anything against it to stop the overspray..Any suggestions?? I tried to shade a cake the other day and ended up stripping the top...the overspray went into one another and looked crappy.

CakeBakerSoulShaker Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 10:48pm
post #16 of 17


to make your buttercream crust you can add powdered sugar, this will give it a royal icing kind of affect although not as hard. Or you can always put it in the freezer til the icing sets up then do your airbrush work. The only thing with that is their will be some moisture from the freezing process you have to be careful with.

Darthburn Posted 3 Jan 2010 , 10:48pm
post #17 of 17

How about a flexible piece of plastic that you can hold as a shield?

Or if you really want to get creative....

If you have a turntable make a cardboard piece that stands in front of it... with a window that lets just the side of the cake a turntable stick slightly out. On the backside tape a small flapper of saran wrap. That way you can spin the cake as you need, and only the part you want to spray is exposed.

Or how about pinning some parchment paper or saran wrap to the overspray areas with toothpicks or something, and then covering the small holes after?

Not sure if you are doing round or square or both. For round, if it's just the top... make a handle on a cardboard round the same size of the cake. Lay the cardboard circle flat on top of the cake, spray, and then pick up with the handle. Should keep paint out and leave a nice smooth surface afterward.

Just a couple of ideas. I'm sure I put more work into it than needed and someone will make a brilliant suggestion that is way easier! icon_smile.gif

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