Aztec Airbrush Nozzle Cleaning

Aztec airbrush nozzle cleaning tutorial covers cleaning the nozzle on a Aztek airbrush including taking it apart and putting it back together again. Written by by Allan Hull. If you own an Aztek airbrush you should find this article very help in keeping your airbrush working it perfect working order.

Airbrush Supplies Required:
toothbrush, dish soap, water, inkjet syringe, toothpicks, container, water.

  • Toothbrush dipped in soapy water works well to clean the outside of an Aztek tip.
  • A toothpick dipped in cleaning solution can get the area surrounding the needle.
  • Soaking the tip(s) in cleaning solution helps loosen crud.
  • Rinse the head of the brush body in running water.
  • Holding down the trigge run water through the nozzle opening.
  • Gently push in, then pull out the needle/nozzle assembly to separate it from the tip body.
  • The needle can be separated from the nozzle by gently pulling on the base of the needle.
  • Soak the tip body and nozzle in cleaner while working on the needle.
  • A toothbrush makes cleaning the needle much easier.
  • Stick a fingernail between the spring coils and “unscrew” the needle to free crud stuck between the needle and the spring.
  • An inkjet syringe simplifies flushing the nozzle with cleaner.
  • A toothpick can also help scrub a nozzle clean.
  • Scrub the tip body with a toothbrush and cleaner.
  • Put needle back inside the nozzle and nozzle inside tip body. Rotate nozzle until the flutes line up with groove inside the tip body.
  • After the flutes are lined up with the groove, the nozzle will drop down inside the tip body. Gently push the nozzle to seat it inside the tip body.
  • Put tip back on airbrush and flush with clean water.
  • Some tips have recessed needles, a toothbrush or toothpick dipped in cleaner can clean off minor tip dry during production.

What You Will Need To Get Started Airbrushing

I put this article together for those of you who are brand new to airbrushing and for those of you who have been out of airbrushing for awhile. It’s common for me to hear from folks who at one time tried their hand at airbrushing and become so frustrated during the learning process they gave up and put the airbrush away until just recently when they decided to give airbrushing a try once again. Our network of web sites, forums and Airbrush Technique Magazine where created to help anyone interested entire the world of airbrushing.

Below is a list of supplies and equipment you’ll need to get off to a good start in the world of airbrushing no matter what it is you want to airbrush.

These days the most commonly used airbrush for auto art, custom painting motorcycles, helmets, fine art, illustrations, T Shirts, models is the double action airbrush. A good name brand (Iwata, Badger, Paasche) double action airbrush can be purchased for about $50.00 on the low end to $400.00 on the high end. Single action airbrushes are still manufactured but for the almost the same amount of money you can buy a double action airbrush which is much more versatile and easier to use.

With a double action airbrush you push the trigger down for air and gently pull back for paint. For more information on using a double action airbrush please check out the AIRBRUSHES article.


double action airbrush
Double Action Airbrush

Two Types of Double Action Airbrushes

Gravity Feed

Paint is held in the color cup on top of the airbrush. Trigger action is the same as a bottom feed airbrush, push down for air and gently pull back for paint. The gravity feed airbrush is generally the choice for doing fine detail airbrushing.

Bottom Feed

Paint is contained in a small color cup or bottle which attaches to the bottom of the airbrush. Generally is type of airbrush is best for spraying thicker paints such as textile colors and for covering larger areas.

Best Airbrushes – My Picks

1. Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS

[imgb altimg=”Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS” imgid=”IwataEclipseHPCS” asin=”B000BQKFAI”]

Iwata has a reputation for producing quality brushes and the Eclipse HP CS is no exception. Yet, the Eclipse HP CS is affordable. The quality construction that goes into Iwata products ensure years of service with proper care. The Eclipse HP CS remains one of the most popular models and is used by artists who specialize in small or large projects. Ease of use, cleaning and maintaining also make it the ideal tool for novice to experienced painters alike. In fact, the device is recommended for hobbyists aged eight and older. The versatility of the Eclipse makes it appropriate to use for a wide range of applications while providing economical paint use.

The gravity-fed airbrush is made of durable stainless steel with a polished chrome finish, which makes the exterior easy to keep clean. The large spray head quickly comes apart to reveal threads that are manufactured in such a way as to prevent stripping. The Eclipse features dual functionality for greater control over the spray.

Eclipse HP CS models come equipped with a 0.35mm, self-centering needle for fine line to wide spray patterns. Move the brush further away from the project to get a pattern having up to two inches in diameter. The top-mounted, funnel-shaped cup has a removable lid and holds up to 0.30 ounces of paint.

The single cut-away handle makes clog removal a snap. Merely move the chuck front and back a few times. To clean the needle and nozzle end of the brush, simply loosen the rear chuck and pull the needle through the front of the airbrush to prevent the backflow of paint. The back part of the handle also disassembles to access the trigger tension chuck.

Along with the airbrush, the package contains a detailed instruction booklet, a bottle of lubricant and a spanner. Iwata also offers a five-year warranty on manufacture, material or workmanship defects. Overall, the comprehensive function of the Eclipse makes it the only airbrush most artists will ever need.

2. Badger Patriot 105

[imgb altimg=”Badger Patriot 105″ imgid=”BadgerPatriot105″ asin=”B002W84GTO”]

The American-made Badger Patriot 105 is a versatile, easy-to-use airbrush that features a top-mounted, gravity-fed, 0.30-ounce cup and double-action functionality. The stainless steel construction means you get a durable product designed to last. The chrome finish is attractive and easy to clean. The brush is slightly heavier than some competitive models. Yet, the airbrush is still comfortable to hold and use. The affordable price makes the Patriot appealing for beginners or professional artists. Use the Patriot 105 for everything from cake decorating or model finishing to textile art.

A tight-fitting lid enables you to use the Patriot 105 at various angles without spilling paint. The device comes with a 0.50 mm needle, which enables the unit to handle thin or thicker mediums with ease. Even with the larger needle, artists can achieve pencil thin lines. Pull the brush back from the project to get a spray pattern of up to three inches in diameter.

The nozzle tip has fewer pieces and is also considerably larger than what is supplied on many models, which makes keeping track of the pieces that much easier. The tip also simply inserts into the device. So you need not worry about thread stripping. The nozzle collar keeps the tip in place.

A cut-away handle allows for quick clog removal and trigger tension adjustments. The back end of the needle features a knob. The knob combined with the larger needle size make for easier handling. However, removing the needle through the back of the brush means drawing paint through the entire unit, which makes cleaning a bit more complicated.

A foam-lined plastic case provides safe and easy storage. A detailed instruction booklet has artists up and going in no time. Badger offers a one-year warranty on the device against manufacturing defects. The PTFE seals and factory labor come with a lifetime warranty. The Patriot 105 is an affordable all-around tool.

3. Paasche TG-3F

[imgb altimg=”Paasche TG-3F” imgid=”PaascheTG3F” asin=”B002N0QA9A”]

Paasche has proudly been in the airbrush business for more than a century and is based in Chicago. The American-made Paasche TG-3F is an incredible value for all that comes in the package. The airbrush is one of the company’s newest models and is made from chrome-finished stainless steel and features an anodized gold-toned aluminum back handle and cup lid. The larger 0.40-ounce cup adds a little more weight to the airbrush. But overall, the device is well-balanced and comfortable to hold and use.

The cut-away handle enables quick clog removal or tension adjustments. The TG-3F easily disassembles for cleaning. However, the needle must be removed from the back of the brush, which complicates the internal cleaning process.

Paasche airbrushes have a uniquely-sized fitting for the air hose. So the fact that the package comes with six-feet of Paasche braided hose is especially convenient. Otherwise, many prefer using a universal quick-attach mount to eliminate the hassle.

The device comes with size 1 and 3 spray heads along with a fan air cap in 0.25mm, 0.38mm and 0.66mm sizes. The needle itself is 0.35mm. Create spray patterns ranging from hair fine up to 1.5 inches in diameter simply by altering the distance between the brush and the project. A crown tip protects the delicate needle tip.

An enclosed hanger enables you to set the brush down when it is not in use. You also get two wrenches, an instruction manual and a lesson booklet. The TG-3F capably handles any water-based or solvent-based mediums.

Airbrush Hose

When you purchase your airbrush be sure to also buy the correct air hose to fit the brand airbrush you will be using. Badger, Passche, Iwata airbrushes have there own airbrush hose’s which fit only their airbrushes. The smaller end of the airbrush hose will be the end you screw into your airbrush while the larger end ( ¼ standard coupling) will screw right onto just about all types of compressors. Some hose’s coming with in line moisture traps which is not a bad idea as you need to keep any water in your air from ruining your art work.

Airbrushing Compressor

Compressors manufactured, marketed for airbrushing vary in price from $90.00 on the low side to $800 or $900. These type’s of compressor you can purchase thru most art supply stores and come in various sizes. Be sure the compressor is rated for the type of airbrushing you will be doing. These compressors are best suited for airbrushing fine art, illustrations, nail art, body art, models and crafts.

1. Badger TC910

[imgb altimg=”Badger TC910″ imgid=”BadgerTC910″ asin=”B005UH7CVI”]

While Badger offers products at virtually every skill set of airbrushing, the TC910 is best understood as a hobbyist model that can be used for some commercial purposes with specific projects.
This compressor comes with some solid qualities. For instance, the motor generates an ample ⅙ HP while simultaneously being able to deliver a maximum of 57 psi. This compressor also comes with the largest air storage tank at 1 gallon. This compressor was intended to be transported. For one, the entire kit has been housed in a metal box that features non-slip feet. The box itself features a handle on the top and there are even two holsters for the airbrushes. All of this seems to indicate that the Badger is meant to be quickly and easily taken on the go with you to be used onsite. If you choose to do so, be prepared to lug around a nearly 20-pound compressor kit.

2. Paasche D3000R

[imgb altimg=”Paasche D3000R” imgid=”PaascheD3000R” asin=”B001CJPWYM”]

Paasche is one of the better brands of compressors for airbrushing out there, and the D3000R performs admirably. While there are a number of nice qualities and features about this compressor, by far one of the most impressive has to be how quiet it is. Unlike many other compressors for airbrushing, the Paasche D3000R only generates a paltry 46 dB when turned on–which is not a constant state of this compressor anyway. To put that in perspective, 46 dB is a little louder than a quiet office or household room but softer than moderate rainfall or a normal conversation. Even if other compressors for airbrushing claim to be quiet, they will be hard-pressed to match the Paasche in this regard.
In terms of the standard specs, the Paasche is adequate but not spectacular. For instance, the compressor’s motor only generates ⅛ HP which as adequate–average in fact–but does not truly stand out. Of course, the ¾ gallon air storage tank only further reduces the noise of this compressor by alleviating the need for it to always be on. The 40 psi is decent, but not the most impressive on our list.

Iwata-Medea Studio Series

[imgb altimg=”Iwata-Medea Studio Series” imgid=”IwataStudioSeries” asin=”B000BQPNWS”]

Iwata-Medea Studio Series is the only piston-driven compressor that we reviewed. The distinction between the piston compressor and the membrane compressor is that the piston compressor draws air continuously whereas the diaphragm compressor only draws air on the “intake” action. This allows the Iwata to draw air through a smoother mechanism.
Unfortunately, this is actually a bit of a necessity for this specific compressor as it does not have an air storage tank. While this need not be a dealbreaker for you, it is important to note that the Iwata is not as quiet as some of the other products that we reviewed as well. While it is still noted for being reasonably quiet, you will definitely put that to the test without the ability to use this compressor for airbrushing on an alternating use.


If you are looking for something that can tackle larger jobs, you may want to opt for the Badger TC910. With the most powerful motor we reviewed and the highest maximum pressure, it can accomplish tasks the others simply cannot. Of course, if your projects are not as large, the Paasche may be a better fit. Though it is not as powerful, it does have the advantage of being by far the quietest.

Standard Compressor

Standard compressors are those you find sold at outlets like Sears, Home Depot, Lowes. For doing airbrushing T Shirts commercially, auto art, bikes and helmets these types of compressors are generally your best choice. Airbrush T Shirts all day long five, six, seven days a week is very hard on a compressor and a standard type compressor is much better suited for this type of use. Airbrushing auto art, motorcycles, and helmets generally requires spraying base coats, clear coats which requires at least a thirty gallon tank and five horse power compressors to operate a small spray gun. If all you will be doing is adding art work than a small “airbrush” compressor would work fine.


shop compressor
shop compressor


No matter what you will be airbrushing please be sure to wear a respirator rated for the type of material you’ll be spraying.


respirator for painting

Airbrush Holder

Airbrush holder is a must have for any studio or shop, its very cheap insurance against your airbrush hitting the floor.


airbrush holder
airbrush holder

Some other airbrush accessories you’ll find come in vary handy would be: Drawing paper, tracing paper, drawing pencils, hobby knife, ease’s of all types, and several rolls of masking tape, Frisket Film, drafting templates and rules, an easel.

Vinyl Cutter In Your Airbrushing Projects

Vinyl cutter in your airbrush projects covers using a vinyl cutter like the Roland Stika to help you create your artwork, graphic’s. My use of the Roland Stika over the last couple years has saved me both time and money in my custom painting business. Turned out to be one of the best investments I have made in years Don Johnson, airbrush artist

“Ideal for small offices, schools and hobbyists, Roland STIKA vinyl cutters produce colorful POP displays, labels, and iron-ons. Creating custom vinyl graphics has never been faster or more affordable. Bundled CutStudio software lets users tile up to 16 designs and contour cut printed images.”

Above is Roland info on their Stika desk top cutter.
After years of putting it off I finally invested in a small cutter to help in the helmets I paint. After some research the Roland Stika seemed to fit my needs nicely so that’s what I bought. You can read my full review of the Roland Stika in issue #23 of Airbrush Technique Magazine.

The Stika is available in three different sizes 8-,12- and 15-inch widths.

Right out of the box the Stika is ready to get to work; very easy to use was my first impression. The Stika comes all ready to go, load the CD into your drive, load the driver, plug the cutter into your USB post and you are ready to go. If you are at ease using most photo editing programs like Photoshop you should have no problem with Cut Studio that comes with the Stika. Cut Studio is a print/cut program you’ll use to lay your design out and send it to the cutter to perform the printing or cutting. In Airbrush Technique Magazine issue #23 I walk you thru using Cut Studio to cut some lettering out of paint mask.

After using the Stika for several months I have to say I’m very pleased with my purchase and highly recommend the Stika to anyone looking to invest in a small cutter.

Below is a short out line of using the Roland Stika to cut a jpg (peace sign) and how easy it is to accomplish. When looking to buy a plotter, vinyl cutter pay attention to the cutting software it comes with. Many plotters require the use of programs like Coral Draw or Adobe Illustrator both of which have a fairly steep learning curve. With Cut Studio that comes with the Roland Stika the learning the program is a breeze, much easier than either Coral Draw or Illustrator. Personally I prefer to spend my time painting and not working on a image program on the computer.

In this simple project I was painting a motorcycle helmet for a teenage girl; her design called for peace signs covering the entire helmet.

Step #1 is to open Cut Studio and import the jpg peace sign image. From the File menu click on IMPORT.

Step #2 Locate the image you want to import, it must be in jpg format to import into Cut Studio.

Here you can see that my piece sign has been imported into Cut Studio.

Step #3 Now we need to convert the jpg into cut lines for the Stika. Click on Object and scroll down to IMAGE OUT LINE, select that.

Step #4 The Image Out Line box appears on your screen. From that box you can adjust the image density which is the lines out lining the image. Click on EXTRACT CONTOUR LINES than OK.

Step #5 You will now see the out line appear over your jpg image. Ypu can delete the imported jpg image at this point leaving the contour out line.

Above you can see the peace sign contour out line, this is what Stika will cut.

To adjust the size of your contour out line click on OBJECT then PROPERTIES, from that box you can adjust size and shape. Adjust the size to fit your requirements and when happy with your contour lines click on Cutting to send the image to Stika for cutting.

Below is the helmet with the peace signs cut in paint mask using the Stika. As you can see the peace signs came out great, nice clean edges. It took just several minutes to generate the peace signs for the helmet design saving me hours if I had to cut each peace sign by hand. This was a very simple design, the Roland Stika is capable of cutting much more complex designs but this shows you just how easy the Stika is to use and the time saving thsat be achieved by using it.

Veda Airbrush,Krome Airbrush,EPIC Templates Video

Airbrush video covering Kustom Shop paint, Badger Krome airbrush, Veda airbrush and EPIC templates. We’ll take a look at all these products and do a very simple skull, flag design on a half helmet, very easy basic stuff.The images in the video look darker than they actually are. Video by Don Johnson, airbrush artist

Which airbrush you use or which paint is really personal preference. Which airbrush feels most comfortable in your hand, price point, etc. What works well for me might not work so well for you, there is no one magic solution that holds true for everyone who airbrushes.

Types Of Airbrushes

This airbrush video covers the different types of airbrushes and how they are most commonly used. As you look at all the different types of airbrushes available it becomes pretty confusing right from the start. First thing to take into consideration is what it is you want to airbrush, what type of surface. Secondly is what type of paint will you be spraying in most of your airbrush projects. The video covers double action airbrushes as I believe they are the most user friendly with a very wide range of use’s. I hope this airbrush video will help shed some light on the different types of airbrushes and their use’s. Should you have a question please feel free to post a comment at the bottom of this page. Video by Don Johnson, airbrush artist

Trouble Shooting Spray Guns

Trouble shooting spray guns tutorial covers the many different types of spray guns that are used for a variety of purposes, many times the problems that they have are similar in many ways. I have compiled this troubleshooter guide from spray gun manufacturers, my experience, qualified Spraygun repairmen, and many other resources.

by Gary Kinsey

R&E Paint Supply Sales Rep.All Paint guns are not created equal. There are many different types of Spray guns that are used for a variety of purposes. However, many times the problems that they have are similar in many ways.Spray gun Troubleshooter Guide 

Problem:Very little or no material coming out nozzle&lt

Out of Paint
Material too Thick.
Nozzle plugged.
Vacuum Locked
Gun excessively dirty

Refill Cup
Check with Paint Mfgr. for mixing recommendations
Remove nozzle from gun and blow air from the front of nozzle with a blowgun.
Make sure vent holes are not clogged.
Use plenty of the appropriate gun wash and clean thoroughly.

Paint leaks from front of gun even after I release the trigger.

Needle or Nozzle worn out.
Needle Sticking.
Improper Needle size for the nozzle in gun.
Loose nozzle.
Loose needle packing.
Needle not seating properly.

Inspect and replace as necessary
Lubricate needle packing with appropriate gun lube. Loosen packing nut slightly.
Replace with correct size needle.
Tighten with appropriate nozzle wrench.
Tighten packing nut. (Don’t over tighten)
May be debris in nozzle to prevent proper seat. Disassemble and clean carefully. (toothpicks work well)

Paint leaking from packing nut

Loose needle packing.
Tighten packing nut. (Don’t over-tighten)Problem:Poor spray patternCause:Air passages in air cap are clogged.
Nozzle is partially clogged.
Damaged nozzle or needle.
Pattern control out of adjustment.
Paint too thick or thin.

Remedy:Remove air cap and soak in appropriate gun wash and clean thoroughly.
Remove nozzle from gun and blow air from the front of nozzle with a blowgun.
Replace damaged part.
Adjust pattern control knob.
Refer to paint Mfgr. for mixing recommendations.

Pattern off center; heavy to one side.Cause:

Air passages in air cap clogged.
Gun not perpendicular to surface.
Damaged air cap.

Remove air cap and soak in appropriate gun wash and clean thoroughly
Position gun perpendicular to surface being sprayed.
Replace air cap.

Excessive over sprayCause: Gun positioned too far from object being sprayed. Air pressure too high.

Move in closer to object. 8-10 inches for a gravity feed gun and 10-12 inches for siphon feed gun are the recommendations of most Gun Mfgrs.
Adjust pressure according to Gun Mfgr. specs.

Problem:Good Spray Pattern but gun is pulsating the spray.Cause:Gun is sucking air around the cup gasket. (siphon feed)
Fluid nozzle loose.
Fluid nozzle not sealing correctly.

Remedy:Replace cup gasket.
Tighten with appropriate nozzle wrench.
Remove nozzle and using Teflon tape wrap the threads that tighten into the gun body and replace and tighten with appropriate wrench.

Problem: Fan pattern won’t widen and fan control doesn’t seem to work.Cause:Internally dirty gun.
Damage to the air cap. (caused by dropping the gun)
Damaged fluid nozzle. (Caused by using incorrect wrench)Remedy:Disassemble gun completely and soak all metal parts in appropriate gun wash.
Replace air cap.
Replace fluid nozzle.

Spray guns problems, solutions is brought to you compliments of
R & E Paint Supply
Author Bio:Gary Kinsey has been a salesman for R&E Paint Supply for the last 12 years.
He has a very proficient knowledge of the PBE industry and is a well trained
customer service representative.

Transparent, Opaque Airbrush Colors Practice Painting

Transparent, opaque airbrush colors practice painting covers blending colors, colors to use for shadowing, working on a complex airbrush project progression and shaping the skills we learn in our basic airbrush lessons. Written by Don Johnson,

I’m not real big on painting flowers but this is a great way to get you started understanding how powerful using an airbrush can be in painting your artwork. No other artist tool even comes close to producing the results you can get using an airbrush. The fades, transitions, blending, mixing colors as you will see is unbelievable and only limited my your imagination, creativity.

Airbrush Supplies Required:

Bristol board, Frisket film, Hobby knife and new blade,one of these airbrush paints –  Com Art or Golden airbrush colors, Createx Illustration Airbrush Paint , ETAC. The Colors needed – Yellow, Violet, Red. Card board, poster board to make airbrush free hand shield or a plastic airbrush freehand shield, tracing paper.


This is our flower design we will be airbrushing, very easy to draw with basic drafting templates you can purchase at any office supply store.


As we did some of the basic lessons please trace the flower on the back side of the tracing paper and tape in place on the Bristol board, trace the flower transferring the out line to the Bristol board.


Just as we did in previous lessons using frisket film go thru the flower and cut the out line out using your hobby knife and attach the flower to your easel.

As you can see I have labeled the flower pedals A.B, C; A being the pedals in the back, B being the middle pedals and C being the pedals in the foreground. In most case’s you will work your airbrush projects from back to front so we will start by removing the Frisket film off pedals labeled A first.


Here is what you should have at this point after removing some of the Frisket Film on the flower pedals.


Now using violet and staying back from the Bristol board about two inches apply color from where the Frisket intersects out toward the outer edge of the pedal just as I have done in the picture above. We are really just misting the violet in you do not want to add a lot of color just one light pass of your airbrush will do.

We are using violet to add a drop shadow here as it’s one of the best colors to use for changing the tone of an over laying color in areas that are in shadow. Using black to do this is not a good choice; using black to create any shadowy areas at any time is really not a good idea. Black will completely take over your painting it is such a strong color so stay away from black. Dark blue would be another good choice for this but we’ll stick with violet for now.

By adding the drop shadow here we will be creating the illusion this flower has depth and structure, much the same as we did in lesson #3 with the cube.


Now remove the pedals labeled B as pictured above.


Now mist in some violet stay about two inches from the Bristol board; half on the Frisket and half on the Frisket film.


Now remove the pedals labeled C from the flower.


This time we will mist in violet following the center of the circle; half on the Frisket and half on the Bristol board. This will serve to act as a shadow on the pedals from the center part of the flower.


Now remove the Frisket covering the center part of the flower.


Now to give the illusion our flat circle is really the round center of a flower we will use our violet to give the impression its round and has depth. Just as you did in lesson #2 with the sphere apply your color in very light layers following the shape of the sphere.


Now changing color apply a thin layer of red over the violet you just airbrushed in the center of the flower. Had we applied the yellow first and than the red the red would appear on the yellow where as the yellow we apply to the pedals will not appear on the red.

The beauty of using an airbrush is the ability to apply transparent colors and blend colors together right on the painting surface. Seldom will you mix colors in a cup but rather blend colors together to come up with your desired color right on your painting surface.

As you’ll notice even colors that say Opaque on the bottle spray pretty much as transparent colors. This is because as the paint atomizes and hits the painting surface it does so as hundreds, thousands of color dots leaving some of the surface color to show thru.


Important point to be made here: As it says above because your color cup holds X amount of color it does not mean you must fill it to the brim with color every time. In most case’s just a few drops of color will do. Filling your color cup up to the brim the tendency for most people is to use every drop of paint in the color cup, not good. In airbrushing there is a saying “less is more” meaning the less paint you use the better the outcome.


Ok, back to the flower and using yellow lets add some color the our flower pedals. Airbrush the length of the pedals not a crossed them please. Notice how over layering the yellow over the violet produces a great area of shadow on the pedals.


Complete the pedals in yellow, you can use just the air of your airbrush to help dry the paint if need be. Notice how any yellow you might get on the red center does not show up on the red very well. On the very outside of my center you will see where it started to turn a bit orange from over laying the yellow on the red.


Add a touch of yellow in the center of your flower, pull the Frisket off and there you have your completed first complex airbrush project. Be sure to keep this so you can look back at it in a couple months to help gauge your progress. Hope you found this fun..relax have fun with it…it’s only paint!

The Elusive Ghost Flames

The elusive ghost flames tutorial will show you how to paint old school ghost flames from flame lay out with fine line tape to painting the ghost flames.

I today’s fast and the furious world of custom painting much of the what was hip in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s has been lost or is a dying art form. With many of the new custom painters today, most of them focus on the new types of designs and bright colors. This is great for the younger generation, but many people still desire the old school look with a little twist. In this article we will be looking at some old school with some new technology. Armed with this information we will hunt for the elusive ghost flames. I am not sure when or were ghost flames first showed up or who was the original creator of this great feat. I do know that when done right it will stop most people in their tracks to take a second look. by Dan Hagen, reprinted courtesy Airbrush Technique Magazine 

Materials: 180 grit sand paper, Wet or dry paper ranging from 600-3000, 3M blue fine line3M green 3/4House of Kolor Products233+ BC-25 black, DP-39 Lavender Pearl, UC-35 Kosmic Kolor Klear, RU-311 reducer, KP-21 Kwikure epoxy primer, KS KO2 sealer


clean the tank
clean the tank

1. I start by cleaning all the parts that need to be painted with soap and water and towel drying.

sanding tank
removing logo
removing logo
logo removed
ready for paint
ready for paint

2. Before we can move to wet sanding the whole tank with 600 grit we need to remove the vinyl sticker under the clear. I begin doing this by taking 600 grit sand paper and begin sanding the clear until I can gauge the depth of the clear. I need to feather out this area so that the flames that I will be adding later will not have a big dip from the sticker removal. We will lay some primer in area so that later we can blend our color. I have sand the whole area and removed the sticker. Taking a clean rage with a little reducer and begin removing the adhesive from the tank. As you can see from the picture the adhesive has lifted enough for me to get it started. By taking my finger I begin rolling the adhesive into itself. I would stay away from using an X-acto knife. The adhesive will come off pretty easy. With the adhesive removed I take my 180 grit sand paper and begin feathering the area so that there will not be any ridges.


blow gu
blowing out dirt
blowing out dirt from tight areas

3. I have wet sanded the entire tank and now begin to blow all the little hiding spots for dust to be sitting.


painting black

4. Now I take and lay down some black KS KO-seal 2 and let it dry I then lay down some KP-21 primer and let it dry overnight. After the tank has dried overnight I wet sand to blend everything together. I then take and mix up some KS-KO-2 black primer sealer and shot the tank and wait about an hour and a half. I take and mix up some BC-25 black and shot the tank then wait about 30 minute for it to dry.


fine line tape

5. With the tank dry I start my flame layout. I take my 3M blue fine line tape and begin by laying out my first flame. I use a 10 to 12 inch lead and allow the tape site just over the tank about a 1/2 in or so. Most people hold their tape higher, but this is what works for me. You may want to adjust the height to where you feel comfortable.


flame layout
flame layout
flame layout
flame layout
laying out flames 2
laying out flames

5. When going into a turn I shorten my lead up to about 6 to 7 inches this gives me a little more control. I then put just enough tension on the right side of the tape to pull the turn to the left and opposite for turning right. With the right side of the tank done I begin with the left side in the same manner. With this design the owner did not want symmetrical flame. He wanted a random flame layout.


ghost flames done
ghost flames done

6. With the layout completed I will add some DP-39 (lavender pearl) to the BC-25 (black). I add about 4 X-acto knife blades full of pearl to 8 ounces of paint then add 6 ounces RU-311 to the mix. I would say a ratio of 8:4:6. This gives me a thin mixture that I can use to build up the flames, but also allows me to keep the edges of the flames low.

With the flames sprayed and everything untapped I can lay on 4 coats of Kosmic Klear UC-35. I like the UC-35 because it’s high build and great shine. I hope this will help you in your search for the elusive ghost flames.

T Shirt Holiday Design

by  Rene Remero

Rene is one of the most talented t shirt artist I know of and I thank him for letting me publish this on

Supplies used- Createx airbrush colors, Paasche VL double action airbrush, t shirt board, spray glitter

 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design


Here is a fun design for the holidays, elf lovers, for fun, or for any other occasion, first I sketch the design onto the fabric with a charcoal pencil.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design 2


 T Shirt Holiday Design
t shirt design out lined

Next I begin by painting the skin tone on the little elves……and outlining the letters of the name with red.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding color


 T Shirt Holiday Design

I proceed to fill in the letters and paint the clothes of the elves, I also add lime green to them.



 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding background
 T Shirt Holiday Design
adding background

Now is time for some swirls in the background with fluorescent raspberry, and baby blue for the stars and dots.


 T Shirt Holiday Design
completed t shirt design


There you go pretty simple and fast holiday t shirt design. Finally I outline all the elements on the design with black and white, and finish the whole thing with golden glitter.

Straining Airbrush Paint

Straining airbrush paint tutorial covers straining your paint to reduce the possibility of the paint causing trouble with your airbrush. If you have airbrush paint that has been sitting on the shelf for a while you should find this article very helpful. Written by Don Johnson brought to you by Airbrush Technique Magazine

Here’s an easy way to strain your paint before you use it. I can not take credit for this it’s an old painters trick that has been around for years. Hopefully you will find it handy. For water based paints you can use a section of ladies stockings, nylons in place of the paper paint strainer material. Using this technique will save you a lot of frustration from paint clogging your airbrush.

Picture above is a paper paint strainer most paint store’s provide to their customers free of charge.


Simply cut one half of the strainer out as pictured above.


Next cut the material out that does the actual straining of the paint as pictured above.


Now take your straining material and lay it on top of your bottle of paint as pictured above.


Screw your bottle cap lid on right over the straining material you just placed on top of the bottle and screw it down tightly. Now ever time you go to pour paint out of this bottle the paint will get strained. It’s that easy and can be done for water based paints as well as solvent based paints as pictured below.