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INTRODUCTION TO AIRBRUSH

10/11/2021

UNDERSTANDING THE EQUIPMENT

The airbrush is a powerful creative tool that can stand alone as an artistic statement or be incorporated into an existing creative “tool box” to produce a rich layering of varied techniques.

While the airbrush can be straightforward to learn, it can take a lifetime to master all the nuances of the tool. The better the workings of an airbrush are understood, the more satisfying the user’s experience will be. Practice, patience & persistence is key.

Like a beam from a flashlight, an airbrush atomizes liquid color in the shape of a cone. Spray color emerges from the tip of the airbrush. This is the start of the color cone and is tight and intense. Spray immediately fans out from the airbrush tip and the edge of the color cone become progressively less defined with a softer and softer edge.

airbrush spraying

Airbrushing is a dance between Needle/Nozzle size, air pressure (measured in PSI), and the thickness of the liquid color being sprayed. Many of the troubles encountered when learning to airbrush are from a mismatch of size, PSI and paint thickness. This is why it is strongly advised to learn to airbrush with a color that was designed for airbrushing. Products designed for an airbrush have the proper pigment size, viscosity and flow enhancers which are designed for better performance. Attempting to mix powder and liquids or thinning pastes for a d.i.y. mixture requires a deceptive amount of practice. Solid colors will always spray with finer, more precise detail than metallic and pearls. This is due to the size of the luster particles.

spray patterns

spray angle

AIRBRUSHES

Understanding the fundamental cone spray shape allows for the manipulation of how the colorant impacts the object to be painted. There are two distinct airbrush techniques: one for coloring a piece versus another for accenting molded details.

The most basic airbrush color application is solid coverage. The air-brush is held perpendicular to the object and color is applied with an even, round spray. Smooth, consistent strokes – building line upon line -is the best way to create an even coverage.

“Zigzagging” back and forth with a single line will result in inconsistent color build up at the start-n-stop point where the line changes directions. Layering colors and building blends with consecutive airbrush passes opens up endless artistic possibilities. For example, a pearl luster over a contrasting airbrush pigment creates instant depth that quickly creates a more dynamic finished piece.

Tritium airbrushes

There is far more value to airbrushing than simply turning something a different color. Strategic color placement will emphasize shape and create realism. These airbrushed reinforced details will be visible for afar greater distance than a piece that is not accented. Holding the object at any angle other than perpendicular bisects the spray cone. The more severe the angle of object to spray cone, the more distortion of the round, even spray pattern.

This distortion affects how the paint lands on an object. The part of the object that is closer to the airbrush tip will be in the tighter, more color intense beginning of the color cone. The trailing edge of the object will be in the farther distant expanding perimeter of the color cone which will deposit less color.

“Catching Paint” takes advantage of a near horizontal angle of object to color cone. At this oblique angle, the bottom edges of a mold detail shave been rotated to face the airbrush tip. These edges now receive the most direct spray of color.

LVLP spray gun

LVLP Top Gravity Fed Spray Gun

“Catching Paint” takes advantage of a near horizontal angle of object to color cone. At this oblique angle, the bottom edges of a mold detail shave been rotated to face the airbrush tip. These edges now receive the most direct spray of color.

The Grex X4000 is a precision-built, highly efficient, full sized spray gun with superior atomization that will not break the bank. With a wide range of nozzle sizes available, spray virtually any material fromColored Cocoa Butter, to Egg Wash. A truly versatile and high performance spray gun that you would expect from Grex.


By its very nature, airbrushing atomizes color particles into the air. It is important to understand the inhalation risks of the paint ingredients being sprayed as well as health issues like asthma and illness such as bronchitis. For this reason, it is important to work in a well ventilated area and wear masks/respirators as advised for the product being sprayed.

Cake & Culinary airbrush colors are made from FDA approved food-grade ingredients and pigments. These colors are highly pigmented. As a result, one of the biggest issues is unwanted overspray drifting onto nearby work surfaces.

The occasional spray session can be accommodated by directional fans and an open window. Large coverage spraying as well as higher volume production is best done with a spray booth. These booths can be d.i.y. with box fans and filters, but makeshift solutions are not as efficient as spray booths designed and built for that purpose.

Written by Lisa Berczel

Introduction To Airbrushing

nozzle troubleshooting

COMPRESSORS

To make things easier we have hand selected compressors that will help in your production and are ideal for spraying food coloring.
The selection of these items share the qualities we believe to be important when investing in an item like this.

  • Small and Compact for easy use and transport.
  • Quiet compared to compressors used in industrial applications.
  • Because we are familiar and know this equipment, we are able to assist you with your spraying challenges.
troubleshooting airbrush
nozzle maintenance
1/8HP compressor

Grex 1/8HP Portable Compressor


The Grex AC1810 is a stylish, feature-rich portable airbrush compressor ideal for the artist on the go. Its lightweight and compact size is perfect for easy transportation and quick airbrush system setup, but it’s piston style air compression gives it the performance expected from the demanding professional.


Specifications:

  • Type: Piston Type Compressor
  • Horse Power: 1/8 HP
  • Displacement: 0.7 cfm (20 L/min)
  • Speed: 1700 rpm
  • Max. Pressure: 60 psi (4.1 bar)
  • Weight: 11 lbs. (4.98kg)
  • Power: 120V / 0.96 A / 60 Hz
  • Noise Level: 55dB


Uses:

  • Low viscosity color
  • Airbrush color
  • Liquid Sugar Color
  • Liquid Luster Color
1/6hp compressor

Rubbaire 1/6HP – Single Piston


When it comes to intricate culinary airbrushing, you should never have to consider cutting corners on the quality of your equipment. Now you don’t have to. Our Italian built 1/6HP airbrush compressor delivers the power you need in a beautifully crafted precision mechanical unit at a great price. Don’t be led astray by low quality imitators. Your art is too important to settle on anything less.


Specifications:

  • 55 psi maximum.
  • 1 Amp
  • .88 CFM
  • Voltage: 110 V-60.
  • 10 x 5 x 10 in
  • 8 lbs
  • Made In Italy


Uses:

  • Low viscosity color
  • Airbrush color
  • Liquid Sugar Color
  • Liquid Luster Color
1/2hp compressor

Rubbaire Pro 1/2HP


The best compressor for spraying colored cocoa butter and chocolate.


Specifications:

  • 114 psi maximum.
  • Can run up to 5 airbrushes at once.
  • 400 Watt/3.64 Amp
  • 1.5gal tank, 2.0 CFM Free Air
  • Voltage: 110 V-60.
  • Virtually noiseless and totally automatic.
  • *220V single phase option available. Please call for pricing.


Uses:

  • Cocoa Butter and Chocolate
  • Colored Cocoa Butter – Artisan, Jewel, Natural, Infused, Zen, Pearl, Decor
1/6hp compressor

Rubbaire 1/6HP- Dual Piston w/ Reserve Tank


Piston compressor that is portable, compact, oilless and requires no maintenance.
Has a quiet performance – sound level barely above a whisper, with a simple on/off switch activates this compressor. Features also include an automatic shut-off switch which permits this compressor to turn itself off when not in use and back-on when resuming airbrushing. This eliminates heat-related moisture build-up, reduces running time and minimizes motor wear. Suitable for spraying cocoa butter.


Specifications:

  • 86 psi maximum.
  • Includes one airbrush hose.
  • 1.24/CFM
  • Air output per min./liters: 35~40L/min
  • Pressure adjust range: 0~6 bar
  • Air tank: 3.5L


Uses:

  • Cocoa Butter and Chocolate
  • Colored Cocoa Butter – Artisan, Jewel, Natural, Infused, Zen, Pearl, Decor

KITS

Chef Rubber has put together a number of kits to help you get started with having all the right tools at hand. Including 1 water soluble kit and 2 colored cocoa butter kits, honestly any one of these is the ultimate gift you can give yourself! Below we will break down what each bundle includes.

airbrush kit

Starter Airbrushing Kit

  • 1/6HP Compressor
  • Tritium TS3 .3m Airbrush
  • 10′ Air Hose
  • Adapter
  • Grex Mac Valve
  • Airbrush Color Kit- Primary

Ideal for water soluble applications, like cake decorating with water/alcohol soluble colorants.

ultimate kit

Ultimate Cocoa Butter Kit

  • Micro Spray Gun Set
  • 1/2HP Compressor
  • Airbrush Cleaner Solution
  • Plain Cocoa Butter 50g
  • Artisan Cocoa Butter 12pc Starter Set

Ideal for full high volume production runs, can run up to 5 airbrushes at once. High horsepower with quiet performance.

starter kit

Starter Cocoa Butter Kit

  • Micro Spray Gun Set
  • 1/6HP Dual Piston Compressor
  • Airbrush Cleaner Solution
  • Plain Cocoa Butter 50g
  • Artisan Cocoa Butter 12pcStarter Set

86psi compressor portable, compact, and oilless- an ideal kit for spraying cocoa butter.

Micro Spray Gun Set .7m

  • Tritium TS7 Double Action with .7m nozzle tip
  • bundled with:
  • 10′ Nylon braided hose
  • G-MAC
  • 1/4″F adapter & airbrush carrying case.

Easy to use “pull” trigger controls both air and paint.
360 adjustable reservoir allows you to work in any position and angle.

micro spray gun sets

Micro Spray Gun Set

  • Tritium TS5 Double Action with .5m nozzle tip
  • bundled with:
  • 10′ Nylon braided hose
  • G-MAC
  • 1/4″F adapter &
  • airbrush carrying case

Left or right mount side reservoir to accommodate left and right hand users.
Micro fan spray cap offers efficient coverage with minimal overspray.


CHEF RUBBER ON INSTAGRAM