Airbrush Template-Making Something From Nothing

Airbrush template-making something from nothing covers basic use of airbrush templates and using objects found around the studio as airbrush templates. Written by Don Johnson.  Airbrush templates are another airbrush artist tool you can make use of with little or no drawing skills required to help create your airbrush art work. This will also show you that items from around your house, shop can be used as templates very easily. Written by Don Johnson, airbrush artist
There will be times in your painting career when you need to make do with what you have on hand, here’s one example of making something from just common objects. There rest of the objects I’ll be using are just things I found laying around the garage. You set your own limitations via your imagination as to what you can come up with using ordinary objects in your paintings, think out side the box.

Here I’m just going to go thru how I go about laying this design out; we’ll call him “gear head”, and show you the end result I came up with. My goal here is to show you thinking out side the box, using objects you find laying around your studio or shop can yield some pretty cool results.

You can purchase the skull template from your local paint shop that carries SATA products.
Airbrush Supplies Required:

I used House of Kolor base paint but Createx Auto Air, ETAC would work just as well and any good gravity feed airbrush.

Paint: House of Kolor
Airbrush: SATA 3
Painting surface: an old sign blank I had lying around the shop.
Any Skull stencil or template


airbrush skull stencil, template

Above : I attach the  skull template to the sign blank using doubled over masking tape, a small magnet might work just as well.



airbrush skull stencil, template and wrench

Above: Now to add our back ground to our design I’ll use a wrench as a template, just sitting it on top of the skull template at the correct angle.


airbrush design started

Above: To transfer our wrench design, out line onto the painting surface I’ll use over reduced base black and spray straight down the edges along the entire wrench. To get on open end at both ends you’ll need to turn the wrench around of course. With the SATA3 I’m at about 15 psi pressure wise and use just enough paint to end up with a nice out line of the wrench. Do not go crazy here with the paint; less is more, the less paint you use the better off you will be. To control over spray make sure you are spraying directly over the wrench with your airbrush turned into the wrench. Spraying along the wrench with your airbrush slightly turned out away from the wrench will produce a lot of over spray you will have to deal with later. You can see where I’ve left myself reference lines so when I turn the wrench around I can line it up perfectly.


airbrush wrench template

Above: Here you can see I’ve turned the wrench around to render the out line of the open end on the other side of the skull.


airbrush gear template

Above: Now we’ll add the gear to our gear head design, for this I barrow one of my son’s go kart gears.


airbrush design

Above: Using the same technique as we did with the wrench we will now transfer our gear design onto the painting surface, sign blank. Remember keep the airbrush directed in toward your design as you make your way around the gear.


start airbrushing skull template

Above: Now with our back ground laid out we’ll work on transferring the skull onto the sign blank. Again using over reduced base black I start rendering the eyes and teeth, the out line I’ll transfer using the same airbrush technique as I used on the wrench and gear.


airbrushed skull out line

There you have it the entire gear head design laid out on the sign blank ready to be completed by adding color. I might mention here also that the painting surface here could just as easily been a t shirt, canvas, jewelry box, model train this technique will work wherever your imagination takes you to render your art. The skull template could be replaced by a flower or animal template, the things I used I had on hand for no other reason really.

To complete the design now you should be able to free hand airbrush everything, maybe using some free hand templates would help in certain areas.


airbrush masking

In areas where you might need to do some masking you’ll find Glad Press N Seal, yes the kitchen wrap, works great as a masking material. Above you see I’m using it to help rough in the wrenches.

A design like this is much more fun to just go about it free hand using as little masking as possible. If you’ve completed the airbrush lessons I’ve published here on HowToAirbrush.Com this should be no real hardship for you. The fun in airbrushing, custom painting after all is using your airbrush uninhibited by masking, free hand.

Below is my finished picture with out clear coat, you should be able to come up with something much better and than I did. I hope you enjoyed our little trip using common objects in your airbrush art work. Until next time remember “Its just paint, relax and have fun”.


finished skull, gear design


finished skull, gear design
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