How to Start Airbrushing? What to Get?
http://airbrushdoc.com/beginners/start- airbrushing/ December 3, 2012
First of all, today’s article is for true airbrush beginners. If you are just thinking to st art
airbrushing and maybe just looking for some more info then please continue reading. Those of
you with some experience may read on and maybe leave a comment with additional, useful
info. For a long time I’ve been thinking that I am still missing something here. But I could not find
out what it is. Maybe because of the amount of information and all those advises I had to go
through in past two weeks about getting into airbrushing. I have extended some of my old
articles that have been extensive already and I’ve totally forgotten about basic airbrush
needs. Just to sum up the whole story about getting into airbrushing, there is more tools you
need to begin. Some of them are optional but some are a “MUST HAVE“, according to my own
One of the most important things besides airbrush gun, air compressor and paint is a hose. Yes
just a hose. Every airbrushist needs the hose to connect airbrush and compressor into working
system. The important part in this case is the fitting. You can always use some adapters but I
would be much happier to have only one fitting on each side of the hose. The most common
fitting is 1/8 inch thread.
Hoses can be made of rubber, plastic; shaped as straight, coil (twisted), then braided and not,
whatever you want. Frankly, there is not a big difference because it will work with either of
choice. A big part of airbrush community loves twisted hoses because they don’t roll around on
the floor so there is less of a chance to stumble.
The twisted hose will surely pull your hand, so be careful when choosing this one.
I wouldn’t be very concerned about that right now. Usually when you buy a good airbrush you
will have some hose in the box which will be enough for you to get started. After some time you
will buy another one because the one you got with airbrush is too short. This is all you should
know about air hoses right now, so let’s move on.
After painting you have to clean your airbrush gun. If you work with enamel paint then you can
use some special reducer, reach for whit e spirit or acet one.
With acrylic, in theory, you can use spirit or one really aggressive stuff available out there
called isopropanol. This chemical can take even care of dried acrylics. You may argue – why to
leave paint to dry and then use aggressive thinner, isn’t it better not to let the paint dry?
Imagine that you’ve got some inspiration and your painting session lasts for 6 or even 8 hours.
Some paint can dry in 2 or 3 hours completely, so dry paint inside your airbrush is actually a very
To clean paint cup you can use any available tools – brush, cotton buds or even a napkin but
don’t use recycled t oilet paper because it can introduce a lot of paper dust. Paper dust can
cause a lot of troubles when it gets into paint chamber.
To clean up the needle is also not a big problem, just wipe it up with a napkin moisten in special
cleaner. Cleaning of paint chamber and the nozzle tip, on the other side, is quite different.
These have to shine otherwise the fresh paint will be collecting on the remains of old paint and
dry too until it will block the whole chamber.
For cleaning the chamber and needle tip there are special tools – cylindrical brushes also known
as “Nylon Precision Brush Set ”. You can buy those anywhere in airbrush supply shop and they
are so cheap that everyone can afford it.
For blowing out the rests of paint and cleaning solutions from airbrush gun the clever people
invented cleaning st at ion. The price is very affordable but if you don’t want or can’t get one
you can build cleaning station yourself. When you understand how it works and unleash your
imagination you would be able to make it out of anything (even a rubbish).
Pipet t es and bot t les – only for your comfort. Pipettes are very useful when working with
aggressive paints or reducers. Set of bottles of different sizes, with good lids are very useful
for mixing paints. You can buy a special set in airbrush shop or find some in your house.
Airbrush holder – a must have. I didn’t know how useful it is when I started airbrushing but
now, working without it is like missing one hand.
Masking t ape – a must have – also known as Kabuki Tape. Be careful when buying those as
there is a few types depending on adhesion to surface. I recommend brand 3M but Tamiya
makes good tapes too.
Respirat or – when working with water based paints it is not a life decision but breathing any
paint dust over long period of time can cause some serious health issues. Medical or disposable
masks known from construction site are absolutely useless. My own recommendation when
looking at protection level, comfort and price the respirator 3M 6000 Series is probably optimal
Airbrush Lube – not really required but it’s good to have. Many brands like Iwata, for example,
sell their own lube with airbrush. You can also use synthetic oil (for lubing the bicycle parts)
instead of airbrush lube.
Mineral oil, silicon paste or WD40 CAN’T be used in any case!
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