Airbrush paint is a brief run down on the different types of paints most commonly used in an airbrush most can be purchased in most art stores, craft shops. A few of the paints listed must be purchase at specialty shops like automotive paint suppliers.
As you begin to learn “How To” airbrush its best to use a paint made specifically for airbrushing. A few good ones are DR PH Martins, Golden Airbrush Colors, ETAC Private Stock, Createx Illustration Colors. The pigments in these colors are ground finer than those in craft paints allowing for easy use in an airbrush. Craft, textile paints are fine to use after you learn the basics but when first learning to airbrush using an airbrush ready paint like suggested above will make the learning process much more enjoyable believe me.
Most of these paints fall into two categories either Transparent or Opaque. For learning purposes it really does not matter which you use; the best color to start out with is Black as it’s very unforgiving.
AIRBRUSH PAINT LIST
WATER COLORS – As the name states these are water based colors well suited for use in an airbrush. Available in pre reduced form airbrush ready or in tubes. Water colors best reduced in most cases with distilled water and are very transparent type paint.
GOUACHE – All so sells under the name Tempera is also water based but with a white pigment added to make it more opaque. Because of the white pigment added you might find it a little harder to use in an airbrush than water colors. Gouache like water colors can be reduced with distilled water.
ACRYLICS – These come in both opaque and transparent colors. There are many manufactures but you will find it much easier to use these if you stick with a brand made for use in an airbrush. Usually can be thinned with water or if the manufacture makes a reducer that should be used. Acrylics can be cleaned up with water or a cleaning agent if the paint manufacture makes one. Long lasting on just about any surface, be sure to read the manufactures tech sheet on surface prep, best uses before you use them. As with the above Gouache do not allow these to dry in your airbrush, clean right after use. One category of Acrylic paints is textile paints made for use of course on textile products like T Shirts, jackets, sweat shirts. Most require heat setting to be permanent again please read the manufactures tech sheet as to use for best results.
OIL PAINTS – A solvent based paint can be thinned with turpentine, minerals spirits and cleaned up with same products. Oils can be either opaque or transparent depending on how much you thin them. Oil paints have a very slow drying time.
SIGN PAINTS – One Shot is one such product. Be very careful using these products, use in a well ventilated area, wear a mask. Again a solvent based product. There are other manufactures of these products. Care should be taken with these products to follow the manufactures tech sheets.
Above example water based airbrush paint for crafts, textile paint
Above examples water based airbrush illustration paint
Example water based airbrush paint for metal, hard surfaces
Examples of water based paint for airbrushing textiles
example airbrush water colors
USING CRATEX COLORS
Fabric– Including 100% cotton, 50/50 blends, denim, sweatshirts, and most natural fibers.
1) For best results, wash item first to remove sizing and mill finishes.
2) Airbrush the design onto fabric avoiding thick buildup of paint and excessive paint layering.
3) Allow colors to dry, or a heat gun may be used to accelerate drying time. Drying time varies depending on application.
4) Heat set fabric for permanence by one of the following methods: a) Iron for 2 minutes at 300º F use a protective cloth, keep iron moving. b) Turn item inside out and put in clothes dryer for 40 minutes at highest heat.
1) Clean leather by wiping with mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol.
2) For best results, lightly spray mist a base coat of Opaque White on areas to be sprayed.
3) Apply color, avoiding over saturation and excessive paint layering.
4) Allow colors to dry thoroughly before heat setting. 5) Iron for 30 seconds at 225°using a protective cloth, or use a hot air gun at highest level for five minutes.
5) Heat Press – 300 degress for 10 to 15 seconds
Paper and Canvas
1) Apply Color, avoiding thick buildup.
2) When using high tack frisket, dilute colors 25% with water. Colors are permanent when dry.
1) Prepare surface by lightly sanding, wipe clean.
2) Apply color, avoiding thick buildup of paint. Allow colors to dry for 24 hours before applying clear finish.
Ceramics and Clay
1) Apply color in thin even coats, avoid thick buildup.
2) Do not exceed temperatures of 300°F when baking. Colors are permanent for example water based airbrush paint for crafts, textile paint handling after 24 hrs.