Automotive Painting: What is an Airbrush Paint?

Automotive Painting: What is an Airbrush Paint?


    – Airbrush paint: what models are available?

    – What are the advantages of airbrush paint?

    – What equipment should I use to apply airbrush paint?

Airbrush paint is a painting technique used mainly by auto body shops, which allows the fusion of several colours while maintaining certain transparency. It gives the illusion that one colour is gradually transformed into another. Of course, you will need specific equipment, but you will also need paint suitable for this technique. With our advice, you will know how to choose the most suitable airbrush paint for your needs.

Airbrush paint: What models are available?

Airbrush paint comes in a variety of forms (opaque and transparent) and qualities. You can use it for model making, painting motorised vehicles, or for artistic work on canvas. It is available in various chemical compositions.

Good to know: airbrush paints are available in diluted and pre-diluted versions. The latter is preferable if you are unsure of the amount of thinner to use.

Water-soluble acrylic airbrush paint

It appeared about 20 years ago. You must take care as its covering power is less than that of solvent-based paint and varies according to the brand. You can use water-soluble acrylic paint for airbrushes to create veils, i.e. to apply a lighter shade on a darker colour with shades, you should dilute it heavily with water or alcohol between 90 and 95%. It is available in matt, satin or gloss finish. The airbrush is simply cleaned with hot soapy water.

Solvent-based acrylic airbrush paint

This enamel paint is diluted like an oil paint with turpentine, white spirit, or a dry binder such as Essence F. But never cut it with an oil-based paint like linseed oil, which is too heavy to use with an airbrush.

Good to know: its finished appearance depends on the choice of thinner, from gloss to matt.

Nitrocellulose airbrush paint

This paint is specially designed to achieve metallic effects. The fine metal particles in the paint give a completely smooth metallic effect.

Polyurethane airbrush paint

More complex than the previous ones, you must work it in a vacuum cabin and a protective mask. Widely used for bodywork decoration, you must strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any problems.

What are the advantages of airbrush painting?

The qualities and defects differ from one chemical composition to another.

Water-soluble acrylic airbrush paint

Water-soluble acrylic paint has several advantages:

    – You can dilute it with water, which makes it very practical to use.

    – It dries quickly.

    – The synthetic resin it contains makes it very resistant to aging and weathering.

Disadvantages of airbrush painting

The disadvantages are mainly with entry-level products, as some manufacturers add fillers made from inexpensive products such as talcum powder or chalk, which can produce grains or clumps.

Solvent-based acrylic airbrush paint

Solvent-based acrylic airbrush paint has many advantages:

    – It is very easy to find.

    – It is available in a wide range of colours, so you can find all the shades you need without having to mix.

However, it also has some disadvantages:

    – Its main drawback is the presence of solvents that are harmful to the environment. This is why, whenever possible, the water-soluble form is preferred, which is less harmful to nature and health.

    – It is difficult to use red or yellow dyes in their solvent form since the ban on certain substances, such as cadmium.

    – It is also less covering since this regulation.

Nitrocellulose airbrush paint

It is dangerous to your health, especially if you inhale it. It is therefore not recommended for beginners.

Polyurethane airbrush paint

This is a highly technical paint to be used in a paint booth, so it is more suitable for professional use. It is mainly used for car bodywork in the context of “tuning”.

What equipment should I use to apply airbrush paint?

To apply airbrush paint, you can choose between two airbrush models.

    – The single-action model allows you to control only the airflow and is suitable if you are new to airbrushing.

    – The dual-action model allows you to control both the airflow and the paint flow. Some experience is required to master this model, which allows for great effects and work.

Good to know: you should supply air to the airbrush with a can of compressed air or preferably with a compressor with air supply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *