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The airbrush technique is used in many creative areas. Different colors are used for the creative treatment of different surfaces by airbrush. In addition, you can create different behaviour when spraying by working on the colors. Mixtures of colors create unique color transitions.




Which colors are suitable for an airbrush?

  • Basically you should make sure that your airbrush paint has no corrosive effect whatsoever. This could damage not only your health, but also the seals of the airbrush.
  • In general, however, you can use any color with your airbrush.
  • Transparent paints include ink, watercolor or fine spray paints, and transparent airbrush paints.
  • Acrylic paints, oil paint or gouache are used as opaque paints.
  • The most important characteristic is the adhesion of the paint on the work piece. Therefore, in order to get a nice result later, you should first test the adhesion of the chosen paint on the surface to be worked on.
  • It is also of enormous importance that the colors are matched to their use. For example, for an airbrush painting on a cake you need a food coloring and for an airbrush bodypainting the color should be skin-friendly, in the best case even dermatologically tested.


paint airbrush


Universal acrylic-based airbrush paints:

They are the most commonly used colors for airbrushing. The manufacturers offer colors in their assortments, which are adapted to the most different surfaces. Professional airbrush acrylic paints enjoy great popularity, because they:

  • are highly pigmented and are therefore ideal for covering large areas with relatively small amounts of paint
  • are water soluble and no special solvent is required
  • Properly diluted, do not cause any problems in the airbrush
  • In dry condition are waterproof
  • Have a fine pigment size and can therefore also be sprayed with fine nozzles
  • Solvent-containing acrylic paints should only be used outdoors and with a face mask.
  • Acrylic-based airbrush paints are not scratch-resistant after drying. To achieve this they must be coated with a lacquer.

The following applies: the finer the pigmentation and the nozzle used, the more accurate the work and the higher the price of the paint!


Varnishes for the airbrush

  • When working with paint, the airbrush can easily become clogged, as paints dry out faster. A high dilution can reduce this problem.
  • Working with lacquers creates a hard-wearing, water- and scratch-resistant surface.


Airbrush colors for special areas

Airbrush can embellish just about any surface. The manufacturers of airbrush paints have increasingly adapted to this and now offer in their assortments paints for various areas:

  • textile and leather design: these colors are washable
  • Porcelain and glass colors: often these colors are dishwasher safe
  • Airbrush paints that adhere particularly well to plastic
  • Food coloring for airbrushing: so the decorated cake can be eaten without hesitation
  • Airbrush colors for body painting: these colors are dermatologically tested, skin-friendly and do not cause allergies




Nozzle size

  • The finest details can be worked out with nozzle sizes in the range of 0.1-0.3mm, for more extensive work, it is best to use nozzles with a diameter of 0.5-1.0mm.
  • The fineness of your work does not only depend on the nozzle size, but also on the pressure you work with and the viscosity of the paint.
  • The thicker the paint, the larger the nozzle you use must be to avoid clogging.
  • An excellent result can only be achieved if you adjust ink viscosity, nozzle size and pressure to your desired result..


airbrush paint




Airbrush color sets – Popular sets in comparison

There is a wide range of airbrush colors available. We help you with our airbrush color set comparison to find the right airbrush colors for your application:


Product recommendation will follow




Recommendations for the purchase of an airbrush paint set

Our absolute purchase recommendations for professional, high-quality airbrush color sets:


Recommendation: Schmincke Aero Color Professional

  • Airbrush colors from Schmincke are extremely high quality professional airbrush colors. They are used in almost every studio or art university. However, they are also especially suitable for beginners due to their easy handling.
  • With its airbrush products, the manufacturer Schmincke offers a comprehensive assortment from primer to finish. In terms of price, Schmincke products are certainly in the upper segment, but they offer an unbeatable result.
  • With the airbrush color set you get 9 colors. With the basic colors base brown, base cyan, base yellow and base magenta you can mix every color optimally or adapt existing colors to your requirements. The highly opaque Supra White sets great accents or serves as a primer. The set is completed with the colors phthalal green, carmine, black and ultramarine.
  • The liquid acrylic colors are in 28ml glass bottles with pipette. A 125 ml Clean Rapid cleaning agent is also included. This is how you are best equipped



  • Acrylic paint dries very quickly and allows you to paint over or add to your pictures within a short time
  • You can paint either transparent or opaque depending on the acrylic paint and thinner
  • Acrylic paints can be easily diluted with water
  • Even though some additives are contained in the acrylic paint, it is not harmful to your health
  • Acrylic colors are available in different viscosities: You can fill with thick paint and pour with thin paint



  • The Aero Color colors can be used undiluted, but some brown-green shades tend to clog the airbrush. In this case it is best to use a larger nozzle
  • Supra White can also cause problems by sticking to the needle or also clogging the airbrush quite quickly. It is recommended to choose a nozzle size larger than 0.3mm to avoid this problem.
  • One last point, which Schmincke is already continuously improving, is the sealing with 2K-lacquer. Here it can happen that Supra White has a too smooth surface after drying, so that the varnish does not adhere well..

Conclusion: In summary, the Schmincke Aero Color offer is an excellent color set with which you can work excellently, whether you are a beginner or a professional. If you have unexpected problems with a Schminkce product, you can confidently turn to the laboratory team, who always have good advice.


Product recommendation will follow



Price performance tip: Vallejo Model Air Airbrush basic color set

  • Vallejo has specialized in airbrush paints for model making. These paints therefore adhere very well to plastic or metal surfaces.
  • The airbrush basic paint sets from Vallejo are inexpensive paint sets. Vallejo offers several basic sets with different color combinations. For about 20 Euro you can get e.g. 8 metallic water-based paints in 17ml plastic bottles with integrated pipette.
  • Vallejo also offers you in its assortment primers, textures or aging effects, as well as varnishes for the finish.



  • They are non-toxic and can be processed well in closed rooms
  • The colors must be thinned in an airbrush before use. This can be done with distilled water. More suitable, however, is the Vallejo Thinner, for better adhesion and a more durable result
  • They dry silk-matt and waterproof
  • Dried paint can be removed without residue with Vallejo cleaner
  • The pipette built into the lid enables drop-accurate dispensing
  • Vallejo colors have a striking resistance, hardness and covering power



  • The instructions for use, unfortunately only in English and Spanish on the bottle,
  • Earth tones in particular have a tendency to contract on the workpiece, but thorough cleaning of the substrate can quickly remedy this
  • The inks dry quite quickly at the tip of the needle, it often helps to work with less pressure or to clean the needle tip more often

Vallejo offers a wide range of colors and effects with its comprehensive assortment of different airbrush color sets for model making. The model construction color sets are quite cheap to buy and the colors are generally quite good to work with.


Product recommendation will follow




Step-by-step instructions for diluting, mixing and cleaning


Airbrush Dilute paint

If you want to work with conventional acrylic paints, a thinner is essential. Many professional airbrush paints are already ready to use and do not need to be thinned. However, sometimes it makes sense to do this to get a very nice spray result

There is no rule of thumb for the correct dilution ratio. It always depends entirely on the ink and dilution medium used.

Before you fill the paint into your airbrush it should have a consistency similar to milk. You can achieve this viscosity by diluting it with distilled water or flow medium.


best airbrush paint


The advantages of a thinner ink:

  • They offer the possibility to work with less pressure, so you can get closer to the workpiece and work on finer details
  • Thin color is less grainy
  • Thin paint causes less splashes

A dilution also produces:

  • The reduction of luminosity by lowering the pigment density
  • An increase in flowability by reducing the viscosity


Step by step to perfect dilution:

  • First drop your paint into a sealable container
  • Then your medium follows drop by drop until the desired dilution is reached
  • To check the consistency, pour a little diluted paint into a transparent container and pull the paint up the wall with a brush or finger – your paint is perfectly diluted when it is applied:
  • Without dripping, flowing down the wall alone
  • This leaves a transparent veil of color (like milk on a glass)



Airbrush media


Flow medium:

is usually a very low-viscosity binder which, when added in small quantities, leads to a reduction in pigment density. Flowing media have little influence on the drying time. Make sure that your thinner does not contain alcohol, this leads to faster drying and possibly clogging of the airbrush.


Distilled water:

Water as a dilution naturally contains no binding agent but acts as a solvent. Used in too large quantities it can completely destroy the pigment layer of your paint.

We recommend using water only in addition to a special medium. It is also important to use really distilled water and not tap water. The latter contains bacteria that can quickly render your paint unusable.



Airbrush Mixing paint

Airbrush colors are mixed to obtain different color shades or to create a completely new color from the basic tones.

You can mix your desired color components directly in the airbrush container. To do this, add the appropriate number of drops of the colors and mix them with a brush.


Our tips for mixing colors

  • Work in small steps to obtain fine color gradations. For example, 1 drop of white on 4 drops of another color is often enough to create clear differences.
  • Mix the colors you need in sufficient quantities before you start work and keep them in lockable containers so that you can make supplies that do not dry up
  • The nozzle of your airbrush should be cleaned every time you change the color family, this is the only way to avoid unwanted mixing due to residues


Clean airbrush

The regular cleaning of your airbrush not only serves to avoid unwanted color mixing, but also to maintain your nozzles.


Product recommendation will follow


Cleaning step by step:

  • Remove all paint from the paint container
  • Fill some airbrush cleaner into the paint container
  • Remove paint residues still adhering to the walls with a cotton swab
  • Fill the container with cleaner
  • Spray now as you would spray paint, until there is no more paint left from the airbrush. It is best to spray the cleaner in a cloth or on kitchen roll, so you can see the cleaning progress and do not breathe the cleaner directly
  • Now remove the remaining cleaner from the container
  • Spray again until no more cleaner escapes
  • The airbrush is now prepared for the next application

You should not only clean your airbrush when you change the color, but especially after you have finished your work, remember to clean it thoroughly!

airbrush paints




Notes on working with an airbrush

  • Working with an airbrush is not entirely harmless to health. Especially for longer, intensive work in closed rooms you should definitely use a respiratory mask. The color of the aibrush can settle in the lungs like the tar of a cigarette and cause long-term damage.
  • Respiratory masks with particle filters are available from DIY stores, the Internet or specialty stores.
  • Especially if you work with paints in the airbrush, a respirator mask or particle filter is essential.
  • Also air the workshop well and if necessary also during your work.
  • To prevent skin irritation use disposable gloves.



Known manufacturers of airbrush paints

Schmincke: is a German manufacturer with a wide range of very high quality airbrush colors

Vallejo: this airbrush paint manufacturer, has specialised in model making with its range of products. He offers many different sets with different colors and effects. Many Vallejo paint sets are already available for less than 40€.

Liquitex: is a manufacturer of particularly high-quality paints with high pigmentation and unique brilliance. The products are in the highest price segment.

Createx: is a widely used professional airbrush paint in the medium price segment. Especially suitable for textiles, leather, metal and ceramic.

Revell: have made an excellent name for themselves in the model building sector with their range of products.

Illu-Color: these colors can be used undiluted and are mainly used in the illustration area.


Manufacturer without full assortment:

  • AutoBorne Sealer (primers)
  • Auto Air Colors (colors for work on already painted surfaces)
  • Mipa (2k clear lacquers)


colors for particularly small nozzle sizes:

  • Hansa pro-color
  • JVR colors


Manufacturer of particularly lightfast colors:

  • Holbein
  • Medea Iwata
  • Paasche Paint
  • Sparmax
  • Spectra