Whether you just want to color a cake quickly or you want to add some artistic effects to your cookies, an airbrush gun is the perfect tool for you. It is not your most basic decorating tool, but we will be going through the basics of how to use one in this post.
So what is an Airbrush Spray Gun?
An important part of using airbrush is a cleaning & maintenance routine
An airbrush gun is a tool that you can use to spray paint, it is mainly used in cake decorating or for craft projects. However, if you are likely to dabble in both cake decoration and craft, make sure you do not use the same airbrush for both craft paint and edible food coloring to avoid cross contamination. Airbrush guns are ideal for coloring fondant or sugar paste.
The airbrush set comes with the following parts:
- The airbrush gun
- A compressor
- A hose to connect the gun to the compressor
- A power cord to connect it all to electricity
The airbrush gun is the part you hold to spray the paint. It has a needle at the front with a protective cap (this is where the paint comes out of, so make sure you always keep the needle protected!), a cup to add the paint in, a trigger that you pull to release the paint, and a hose connector.
Ok, but how do I use it?
The colors above are achieved with Royal Blue & Hawaiian Blue
First things first, make sure you always use edible food coloring suitable for an airbrush. Chefmaster® Airbrush Food Coloring have been specifically formulated and are suitable for use with any airbrush gun. The other thing you need to know about colors is that natural separation occurs in the bottle, so shake the bottle really well before using it to avoid sediments blocking the airbrush.
*It is not recommended to dilute Chefmaster® Liqua-Gel with water to use with as an airbrush colors. It will be a disaster :)
Once you’re ready, put a few drops of airbrush food coloring in the cup attached to the gun. Remember, a few drops go a long way, so start with a couple of drops depending on the quantity you need to paint. If you’re looking at creating a color mix, you can add the different colors straight into the cup and shake gently. Be careful not to end up with paint everywhere as there is no lid on the color cup. Test the color on a white sheet of paper before starting to paint your creations.
Make sure you cover your surroundings to protect them from excess airbrush coloring, then once you’re ready, start spraying by pulling the trigger. A few factors will affect your final result:
- Distance: The closer you hold the gun to the object you’re spraying, the smaller the spray area, this is ideal for more defined lines. The farther away you hold it, the wider the spread, this is ideal for creating softer lines and coloring full cakes. Just be careful not to hold it too close as the air pressure might damage your cake, or too far as paint will spray everywhere. An ideal distance is about 6-8 inches away from your cake or cookies.
- Angle: Spraying with the nozzle at a 45 degree angle is ideal for creating broader lines and softer colors, while holding the nozzle at a 90 degree angle is ideal for sharper lines.
- Spray intensity: The further you pull back the trigger, the more intensely it will spray. We recommend a pull of about 50-60% for a nice and steady spray.
Practice makes perfect! So don’t be afraid to practice on paper before painting your edible creations. Try out the different angles and intensities and see how the color comes out, it’s the best way to learn and get a feel for your airbrush.
In between colors or when you’re done using your airbrush, you should clean it well to ensure that colors don’t mix together or that you don’t end up with dry excess paint clogging your airbrush gun. A simple cleaning method is to empty the excess paint from the cup, clean it thoroughly using a bit of airbrush cleaner on a cotton tip, then fill the cup with a bit of warm water and spray it all out. Repeat the process until the liquid coming out is clear.
Can you give me some coloring tips?
Work with layers & planning ahead is a good way to achieve success.
As the general rule of food coloring goes, it is better to start with a lighter color as it’s easier to darken it later on than the other way around, and airbrush paint is no different. It is best to build the color slowly by rotating the cake or by continuously moving your arm in a circular movement to cover all areas, and then repeating until you reach the desired color intensity. This will ensure the color is even all over the cake instead of ending up with different shades.
You can achieve great effects and designs with an airbrush using stenciling! Place the stencil on top of your cake or your cookie and spray the paint inside the shape, always using circular movements to build up the color slowly and allowing the paint to dry in between layers. If you point the airbrush gun at the same spot for too long the color will end up spilling out and it will take too long to dry.
Another great way to use your airbrush is to create some flowers or other decorations using white fondant and then painting them with the colors of your choice. Not only does this save you time from having to color your fondant using different colors, but you can also create some lovely effects with your airbrush instead of the usual plain color.