Airbrushing with Craft Paints

Discussion in 'The Academy' started by TomPM, Dec 27, 2002.

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  1. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    I started this topic because I have been asked several questions regarding using acrylic craft paints for airbrushing. First off let me start by saying I am by no means an expert at this. I have only been airbrushing for about a year now and only in the last three for months did I switch to the craft paints.

    I tried using Polly Scale paints but I did not have much success with them. I tried various thinning fluids. I tried stirring instead of shaking. I tried using them inside and outside. All attempts for me produced unsatisfactory results. The locations I have available to me for airbrushing prevent me from using any solvent-based paints due to the fumes. A while back there was a thread talking about using acrylic paints for airbrushing and that is where I got the idea and the courage to try them.

    So here goes:

    A. Item Preparation
    1. Wash the item that is going to be airbrushed. I use a mild dish detergent and a toothbrush. Once the item is washed I try not to handle it with my bare hands. I use latex-like gloves that I purchased at my local chain drug store.
    2. I dry the item with the airbrush and then set it aside to finish drying.
  2. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    B. Paint Mixing
    3. I use an old small glass paint jar for this. I previously marked the half waypoint on the bottle.
    4. I used Folk Art paint by Plaid. There are several different brands of this type of paint such as Americana and Creamcoat. I have used these paints in the past for painting ceramics. They are available at craft stores such Michaels, or A.C. Moore. I fill the bottle about half way with paint. The paint is usually thick.
    5. I then add the blue windshield washer fluid, which is what I use for thinner. My mix ratio is 1:1.
    6. Mix the paint and thinner. I have tried both stirring and shaking. Neither seem to make any difference.
    7. Pour the paint into the airbrush bottle.
    8. Clean the mixing bottle or add water to it to prevent the leftover paint from drying. If you shook the paint to mix don’t forget the inside of the cap.
    C. Airbrushing in General
    9. Hook up the airbrush and the attached the airbrush paint bottle.
    10. Set the air pressure to 43 psi.
    11. Airbrush.
    12. I keep a small cup of distilled water and a Q-tip handy. If the nozzle seems to clog I use the damp Q-tip to clean it.
    13. Clean the airbrush.
  3. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    D. Airbrushing Project Specifics
    14. I have found that it is best to paint an undercoat. I use a very light gray for this. The color I use is Folk Art Dove Gray.
    15. If the item is originally dark such as black or brown I do two coats of the undercoat gray. If the item is a light color I inspect it after the first coat to see if it needs a second coat.
    16. Once the second coat has dried I seal the item with Dullcoat. I found that if I do not do this there is a very good chance I could scratch the paint of. Once the sealer has dried it is very difficult to scratch the paint off with anything other than a hard pointy object.
    17. After the sealer has dried, I apply the final color. After the first coat I inspect the item to see if a second coat is needed. If so once the first coat is dry I apply the second coat.
    18. Seal with Dullcoat if I am using dry transfers. Seal with Glosscoat if I am using decals.
    19. Letter the item.
    20. Seal with Dullcaot.
    21. Weather if desired.

    Hope these helps answer some questions regarding using craft paints.

    I will add some photos when I have some available.
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