Decorating By stellascake Updated 21 May 2015 , 1:08am by LisaBerczel

stellascake Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:10am
post #1 of 29

ASo I am getting pretty good with icing and fondant. I am wanting to begin airbrushing! Now how to start?

What is a good starter machine/compressor?

28 replies
LisaBerczel Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 5:16pm
post #2 of 29

First, figure out what kind of airbrushing you want to do. Just small details and petal dusting? then one of the units with the ultra small air pump may be all you need. Want to paint a cake gold? that same small unit caaaaaaaaaan do it. If you have a couple of days.


My Number 1 recommendation: buy equipment that you can get spare needle and fluid nozzles for. These parts WILL wear out and you WILL need to replace them. 


Do a search here on Cake Central - there's been lots of discussion on this very topic.


To be a tad bit self serving - I teach the Craftsy Master Class on Airbrush - it is a comprehensive introduction to airbrush including a review of equipment and work space set up.


Also, here is a free PDF download I made for Chef Rubber that goes over the basics:

royalithos Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 5:10pm
post #3 of 29

AThanks Lisa for the PDF, that is really instructive.God bless you.

pookashnoo Posted 8 Apr 2014 , 5:36pm
post #4 of 29

I've been wanting to try this for a few years and my husband bought me an airbrush for Christmas which, I admit shamefully, has sat in the box since. mainly because I'm a little scared to try it... Lisa I have actually purchased your course on crafty so I should really crack on with that.

LisaBerczel Posted 9 Apr 2014 , 5:31am
post #5 of 29

Let me know how you get along with my class - and ask away! That's what I'm here for.

cazza1 Posted 9 Apr 2014 , 11:06am
post #6 of 29

All I can say is watch Lisa's Craftsy Class.  Once you understand more about the airbrush it will not seem half as scary.  I'm a real beginner at airbrushing and it helped me a lot.

LisaBerczel Posted 9 Apr 2014 , 3:50pm
post #7 of 29

I'm glad my class was a good investment for you!


The Craftsy team are a great group. It was a privileged to be invited to participate.

yste Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 1:58am
post #8 of 29

what brand do you recommend for begginers?

LisaBerczel Posted 28 Aug 2014 , 5:35am
post #9 of 29

There are a lot of good brands - my rule of thumb, be certain you can get replacement parts.

If the equipment is soooooo cheep that spare needles and replacement nozzles are not offered, that is a red flag.

I've seen many a student throw money away because their equipment was so cheep that it couldn't function properly.


Main brands include Grex, Iwata, Badger and Paache.

However, each brand offers a wide range of airbrush styles - and some are better than others.


Focus on what STYLE of airbrush and how big a compressor is needed to do the airbrushing you want to do. From there you can price shop.

yste Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 4:13am
post #10 of 29

Thanks :) I bought a Kopykake C3500R Air-Master . I'll be making a very simple project, and i don't want to buy an expensive gun yet. I just wonder if i can use other brands of airbrush gun with my kopykake compressor. Will the cheap airbrush guns on ebay will work? thanks

LisaBerczel Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 5:44am
post #11 of 29

Kopykake sells both single- and double-action airbrushes, so take a look at the users manual to see which brushes are compatible with the compressor you have. Many low-power compressors have single action airbrushes (they blow air as soon as the power is turned on). This class of air pump often cannot handle the back-pressure caused by a double action airbrush (push trigger down for air, pull trigger back for paint). The risk is the air pump will overheat and can shorten it's life.


If the airbrush is attached by pressing onto a plastic tube, then other manufacturer aribrushes may need an adapter.

If the compressor can't handle the back pressure of a double action airbrush, the tube may blow off/

sweetassugarcak Posted 15 Dec 2014 , 11:03am
post #12 of 29

AAs many people have mentioned it really depends of what you want to achieve with airbrushing. Both single action and double action airbrushes are great but a double action airbrush will always give you finer detail and a more controlled finish. I only ever use a double action airbrush, an iwata eclipse but in our classes we teach with a single action airbrush purely because most people starting out will purchase a single action due to the big price difference between the two. Whatever you choose I strongly suggest kopykakes food airbrush colour. It is reletively cheap and has the strongest colour by far so outlast every other brand we have tried. If you do choose to airbrush with mettalic colours by Lucks for intsance a stronger compressor than the mini ones that come with a set will be needed due to the thickness of the colour. Whatever you use airbrushing can be amazing , just practice and have fun and your confidence will soon grow.

mksmccomas Posted 15 Dec 2014 , 12:09pm
post #13 of 29

THANK YOU LISA !!!!!! I am so glad I ran across this post.  I am also new at airbrushing and I have been teaching myself by watching YouTube and just practicing,  I feel comfortable with it except when I need to do the lettering.  I have been practicing by wrapping paper around cans in the pantry and spray My husband thinks I'm nuts lol.  I just wanted to add that since I was new to airbrushing (and I got a great deal) I bought the Cake Boss brand and I love it.  I have absolutely no problems with it.  It is small enough that I can carry it when I have to go set up on site and it's fairly quiet.

Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 3:05pm
post #14 of 29

AMy air brush stopped working. One minutetit was fine the next it wouldn't spray out the color anymore. Anyone kno where to get them looked at

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 4:15pm
post #15 of 29



Have you disassembled and cleaned it?

Depending on the brand, there may not be any technical support for your airbrush. What system do you have? 

Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 4:32pm
post #16 of 29

A[quote name="LisaBerczel" url="/t/769293/airbrushing#post_7566942"]Brenda,

Have you disassembled and cleaned it? Depending on the brand, there may not be any technical support for your airbrush. What system do you hav

Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 4:34pm
post #17 of 29

A[quote name="Brenda09" url="/t/769293/airbrushing#post_7566943"][quote name="LisaBerczel" url="/t/769293/airbrushing#post_7566942"]Brenda,

Have you disassembled and cleaned it? Depending on the brand, there may not be any technical support for your airbrush. What system do you hav[/quote

]I've taken it apart and cleaned it. But still nothing. I'm not sure on the system all I have is the irem number

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 5:07pm
post #18 of 29

Can you post a picture of your system? Once I know what you have, I can help.

Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 5:22pm
post #19 of 29


Original message sent by LisaBerczel

Can you post a picture of your system? Once I know what you have, I can help.

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 6:36pm
post #21 of 29

Ok. The picture helps. Now for a ton of questions.


1) Does air blow out the airbrush when you pull the trigger back?

2) Does the trigger pull all the way back to the grip? Or stop part way there?

3) What happens when you try to airbrush just water? Nothing... or are there any air bubbles in the color cup?

4) Can you remove the needle? is it damaged?

5) What happens when you twist open and then close the air valve that is under the color cup (right before the trigger).

Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 7:17pm
post #22 of 29

A1. Air does blow out. 2.the trigger does pull all the way up 3. I can't even airbrush water 4. I haven't figured out how to remove the needle. But the very tip is slightly curved but its always been like thay and it worked before. 5. When I tighten it nothing comes out even air. I can loosen it but color **** doesn't pass threw 5.

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 7:40pm
post #23 of 29

Ok. Progress!


Removing and wiping off the needle is a standard step in cleaning the airbrush - and should be done whenever we're finished airbrushing the day.


At the Back of the airbrush is a silver handle. Unscrew and remove. This will expose the back of the fluid needle - it is held in place by a Chucking Nut. Loosen this nut and the fluid needle can be removed. HOWEVER if the needle's tip is too bent it will hook on the fluid nozzle. This is BAD as the needle can rip the fluid nozzle if you're too forceful.


Fortunately, I suspect that you hopefully have an easy fix. If the needle is stuck in place then the airbrush may have color in it that has dried and locked the needle in place. 


You may have to soak your airbrush (in soapy water or an airbrush cleaner) to soften the dried up color. DO NOT completely submerge your airbrush. Water will get into the handle and air path. Soak just the front of the airbrush - the actual fluid path.


Even though you have a trigger style, all airbrushes have the same basic operation along the fluid path.


Here's a link to a PDF on basic airbrushes that may help with showing the different parts and what to watch out for with the needle/nozzle:

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 7:42pm
post #24 of 29

Also, Grex Airbrush hired me a couple years back to do a youtube series on culinary airbrush.


I do show basic operations and such with a trigger style airbrush.


Brenda09 Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 7:51pm
post #25 of 29

AThank you. I am going to try that and hope it works

yste Posted 17 May 2015 , 6:18pm
post #26 of 29

If i have to buy an airbrush for cake decorating. which do you recommend more, the single action or the double action Thanks!

LisaBerczel Posted 17 May 2015 , 7:56pm
post #27 of 29

Single action is basically like airbrushing with a hair spray can. No where near the finesse of a double action airbrush. But, single action  can be easier to learn and to clean because of how simple it is (fewer moving parts).

So, it depends on what kind of airbrushing you want to do. If you're ONLY doing big gradients and solid coverage, single action may a good fit. Harbor freight sells a super inexpensive external mix single action kit.

If however you want to focus on petal dusting and such, then a double action is the way to go. Much more versatility.

yste Posted 21 May 2015 , 12:00am
post #28 of 29

Can i still use double action if i need the effect of the single action gun can give. So that i dont have to buy single action if i have double action already.

LisaBerczel Posted 21 May 2015 , 1:08am
post #29 of 29

You only need a single action airbrush if you're going to be working with color that won't go through the airbrush you have. Say, as in, colored cocoa butter and you have a detail (basic) airbrush. In that case, you'll need a larger needle/nozzle size airbrush to spray cocoa butter. A single action in this instance may be a good fit.

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