Skip to main content

The airbrush technique is used in many creative areas. Different colors are used for the creative treatment of different surfaces by an airbrush. In addition, you can create different effects when spraying by working on the colors. Mixtures of paints create unique color transitions. If you are looking for the best airbrush paint, then take a look at our complete guide below.




What Paint for Airbrushing Should You Use

  • 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, you can use any paint 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 surface. Therefore, in order to get a good 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 paints are matched to their use. For example, for an airbrush painting on a cake, you need 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

These are the most commonly used, and generally the best airbrush paints. The manufacturers offer paints in their assortments, which are adapted to the most different surfaces. Professional airbrush acrylic paints enjoy great popularity due to the following reasons:

  • Highly pigmented and are therefore ideal for covering large areas with relatively small amounts of paint
  • Water-soluble and no special solvent is required
  • When properly diluted, they do not cause any problems in the airbrush
  • They are waterproof
  • Acrylics 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 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 quickly. A high dilution can reduce this problem.
  • Working with lacquers creates a hard-wearing, water- and scratch-resistant surface.


Airbrush Paints for Special Areas

Airbrushing can coat just about any surface. The manufacturers of airbrush paints have increasingly adapted to this and now offer widely assorted paints for all kinds of surfaces. These include:

  • Textile and leather design: these paints are washable
  • Porcelain and glass paints: often these paints 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 paints for body painting: these paints 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 should use to avoid clogging.
  • An excellent result can only be achieved if you adjust ink viscosity, nozzle size and pressure to your desired outcome.


airbrush paint



The Best Airbrush Paint Sets

There is a wide range of airbrush paints available. Our airbrush paint set reviews and comparison should help you to find the best airbrush paint set for your application. If you are after the best quality and most durable paints available, then check out our recommendations below.


Recommendation: SCHMINCKE Aero Color Professional

  • Airbrush paints from Schmincke are extremely high quality and of a professional grade. 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 this airbrush paint set, you get 9 colors. With the basic colors base brown, base cyan, base yellow, and base magenta you can mix every color perfectly, 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 airbrush colors Phthalo Green, carmine, black, and ultramarine.
  • The liquid acrylic colors are in 28ml glass bottles with a pipette. A 125 ml Clean Rapid cleaning agent is also included. This ensures that you are fully equipped with the best airbrush paint set out there.

SCHMINCKE Aero Color Professional Ink Set
  • A 9 color set of vibrant acrylic-based inks
  • Ready-to-use paints formulated for airbrushing
  • Water-resistant and low odor inks
View on Amazon


  • Acrylic paint dries very quickly and allows you to paint over or add to your paintings 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 paints are available in different viscosities: You can fill with thick paint and pour with thin paint


  • The Aero Color paints 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. It is possible for the Supra White to be too smooth after drying, which prevents the varnish from adhering very well.

Conclusion: In summary, the Schmincke Aero Color offers excellent airbrush colors for perfect, easy use. Whether you are a beginner or a professional this is possibly the best paint for airbrushing. If you have unexpected problems with a Schminkce product, you can also confidently turn to the laboratory team, who offer great service.


Best Value: 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. An affordable set includes 8 metallic water-based paints in 17ml plastic bottles with an integrated pipette.
  • Vallejo also offers primers, textures, or aging effects, as well as varnishes for the finish.

VALLEJO Basic Colors Model Paint Set
  • A set of 16 different acrylic airbrush paints
  • Designed for model and hobby use
  • A basic set of versatile colors
View on Amazon


  • They are non-toxic and can be used effectively 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


  • 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

Conclusion: 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.



Step-by-Step Instructions for Diluting, Mixing, and Cleaning

Even the best airbrush paint might need to be diluted or mixed in order to achieve the right consistency. Here are some helpful tips for working with airbrush paints.


Diluting Airbrush Paint

If you want to work with conventional acrylic paints, a thinner is essential. Many professional airbrush paints come ready to use and do not need to be thinned. However, sometimes it makes sense to do this to get a perfect 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 Thinner Paints:

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

However, Diluting Paints Also Means:

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


Step by Step Guide to a 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

The following substances can be used with paint for airbrushing:


Flow Medium

This 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. If 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 properly distilled water and not tap water. The latter contains bacteria that can quickly render your paint unusable.


Mixing Paint for Airbrushing

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, this is the only way to avoid unwanted mixing due to residues


Cleaning the Airbrush

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


Recommended Cleaning Set: MASTER AIRBRUSH Cleaning Kit

This 11-piece cleaning kit by Master Airbrush features everything you need for keeping your airbrush spray gun in great shape. The set includes a variety of different brushes and cleaning needles that can fit the small part of all types of airbrushes. There is also a versatile cleaning pot included. With this set, you have everything you need to keep your airbrush in perfect working condition.

MASTER AIRBRUSH Airbrush Cleaning Kit
  • Full cleaning kit with brushes, needles, and a cleaning pot
  • The 3 in 1 cleaning pot can be used as an airbrush holder
  • A versatile cleaning set for a wide range of airbrushes
View on Amazon


  • A versatile cleaning kit to suit all types of airbrushes
  • Includes a variety of different brush and needle sizes
  • Easily cleans paint from hard to reach areas
  • Includes a three-in-one cleaning pot
  • A simple but effective set


  • The set doesnt include any cleaning fluid


Airbrush 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 a kitchen roll, so you can see the cleaning progress and do not breathe in 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 paint of the airbrush 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, online, or in specialty stores.
  • Particularly 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.



Best Airbrush Paint Manufacturers

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

Vallejo: this airbrush paint manufacturer, has specialized in model making with its range of products. They offer many different sets with different colors and effects. Many Vallejo paint sets offer great value for money.

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.


Other Manufacturers:

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


Paints for Particularly Small Nozzle Sizes:

  • Hansa pro-color
  • JVR colors


Manufacturers of Particularly Lightfast Colors:

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


Finding the best airbrush paint is essential for producing quality artworks. No matter what type of surface you are working on, or what effect you are going for, we hope to have helped you find the best airbrush paint for your project ahead. Happy painting!