Airbrushing with acrylic paint is another great way to bring your work to life. It is extremely versatile since acrylics are available in both opaque and transparent forms. There are many ways to use airbrushing paints, from ‘ready’ paints to thinning them down yourself.
I have included very helpful tips at the end of this article for everything you need to know about airbrushing with acrylic paint. To help you choose the best airbrush kit for acrylic painting, I put together some of my favorite and top ranked kits below. Enjoy!
Master Airbrush Multi-Purpose Airbrushing System Kit
This multi-purpose Airbrush Kit by Master Airbrush is one of my favorites because it pretty much includes everything you need. It’s actually a professional set and very easy to use, as well as user friendly. First off, as a bonus it includes a How-To Airbrush manual and guide by the company Master Airbrush, so you can have the best knowledge and tips if you’re just starting out. Click here to check out pricing for this kit.
This airbrush kit comes with a top of the line premium Master Airbrush Model TC-20 High Performance 1/5 hp Air Compressor with air filter water trap with pressure regulator along with a cool airbrush holder for 2 airbrushes.
It features an “air-on-demand system” that automatically shuts off air when not in use. It is designed to work only when you do, produces full-capacity air on demand. This enables a longer compressor life from less motor wear and heat-related moisture.
With this airbrush kit you get 3 types of Master airbrushes. First, Model G22 dual-action with a 1/3 oz. gravity feed fluid cup and 0.3mm tip. Master Airbrushes is super user friendly and a versatile gravity feed airbrush that’s commonly used for: hobbies, crafts, auto graphics, temporary tattoos, cake decorating, fine art, nail art and more!
Airbrush works excellent for most airbrushing applications and also with most types of paint spray media. The second, Model G25 Master performance multi-purpose precision dual-action gravity feed airbrush with a 1/16 oz. angled gravity fluid cup that allows for work on horizontal surfaces. The 0.2 mm needle & nozzle that allows you to spray from hairline up to 1″ wide patterns.
It has dual-action with a 1/16 oz. gravity feed fluid cup and 0.2mm tip. Lastly, Model E91 is a single-action external mix siphon feed airbrush set with a 0.8mm tip, 2 – 3/4 oz. siphon bottles, and has an 1/8″ air inlet. This airbrush can be used with a compressor or with the included hose & adapter for a propellant can.
The Master airbrush kit also comes with a water based acrylic paint kit. The 6 opaque colors included are: bright sapphire blue, grass green, bright yellow, bright red, deep black and white. They come in 1 oz. bottles, and include a reducer and a 5 piece mini cleaning brush set! A cool bonus is they also throw in is a double sided mixing wheel and a cleaning brush set.
I definitely recommend this kit whether you have been airbrushing for a while, or are a beginner. This kit includes everything you need for your next airbrush project. Fyi, if you order a Deluxe kit, you get 24 acrylics paints, two reducers, and two cleaners. It also comes with an airbrush holder and a 50 pack mixing cups and sticks.
Every review I’ve read is basically the same, that this airbrush kit is highly recommended and easy to use. Many buyers claimed it’s an awesome beginner set. They’ve had it for several weeks and the compressor has performed well beyond their expectations for the price. Almost all buyers claimed it is reasonably quiet and consistent pressure.
Master Airbrush Kit
Here we have another Master Airbrush kit, but with less items as the one above. To view this great pricing and availability click here. This kit comes with the airbrush, Model G22 Multi-Purpose High Performance Precision Airbrush with a 1/3 oz. gravity fluid cup and a 0.3mm fluid tip. 6 Foot braided air hose with 1/8″ fittings.
The Master Airbrush Model C16-B Black Mini Air Compressor is lightweight, compact and portable. it has an automatic on/off shutoff with a maximum air pressure of 25 psi, and produces 15 psi air pressure on demand. This pump provides “air-on-demand” that automatically shuts off air when not in use. It also includes a built-in airbrush holder!
This airbrush set is user friendly, and works with all types of paints! I’ve used this one for acrylic painting and my work always comes out amazing. You can you this kit for hobbies, crafts, auto graphics, temporary tattoos, cake decorating, fine art, nail art and more! The options go as far as your imagination.
This airbrush kit is cool because it is a great starter kit for beginners and students, as well as for advanced artists since it works excellent for most airbrushing applications, and also with most types of paint spray media. They also include a How-To manual for your convenience. The Master Airbrush Air Compressor Model C16-B is actually their most popular mini air compressor!
It’s a powerful mini 12 volt DC black airbrush air compressor with direct plug in 110 volt AC adapter, that delivers a high air volume of 0.4 cfm and a high air flow of 10.5 ltrs/min. I recommend this airbrush kit if you’re looking for a portable, compact and inexpensive kit. Unlike the one above, this kit does not come with paints or extra airbrushes.
Many users claimed this airbrush kit as one of their favorite kits out there, and that they should’ve purchased it sooner. They review how compact an lightweight this kit is, and how easy to transport it really is. A lot of reviewers stated that they used this for multiple projects, such as acrylic airbrush painting, auto painting, and even cake decorating.
If you’re looking for a product that does it all, then I highly recommend this kit.
Paasche H-Set Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush Set
This single siphon airbrush kit is also at the top of my list because it’s so simple and easy to use. This is an airbrush I recommend for beginners, or those who are looking for a quick spray. Click here to view pricing and availability for this kit. The Paasche airbrush can achieve patterns of 1/16-inch to 1-1/2-inch, and it includes all three head sizes. It’s also made in the USA.
The airbrush features a chrome plated body for durability. It comes with all three available spray heads, which allow the H airbrush to be used in a wide range of application. The H single action allows the user to achieve fine lines down to 1/16-inch and wider patterns of up to 1-1/2-inch. The H is simple and easy to use and requires very little practice compared to double action models.
The best uses are those requiring more basic spraying like solid coats, uniform lines or stencil work. A super neat thing is that clean up is as simple as spraying your paint cleaner though the airbrush! The H is used for many applications including hobby, craft, chip and ding repair, taxidermy, ceramics, cake decorating, tanning, tattoos, etc.
The H airbrush is made in the US and includes the following: H#3 airbrush, size 1 and 5 spray heads, 1/4-ounce metal cup, 1-ounce bottle assembly, 1-ounce storage bottle, hanger, wrench, 6-foot braided hose, lessons booklet and manual.
I definitely recommend this kit for someone who is juts starting out with acrylic airbrushing. It’s a great buy and you won’t be disappointed.
Many buyers stated this kit was super easy to use and handle. A lot of beginners recommend this airbrush by Paasche. One beginner reviewed this product as his first go to as a beginner because it’s easy on the strokes, and it comes with everything you need, minus the paint.
What is Acrylic Paint Thinner?
Acrylic paint thinner is usually either distilled water or an acrylic medium. The purpose of thinning your paint is because acrylic paint is thick in consistency and some that are not ‘ready to use’ will need to be thinned down to get a milk like consistency, in order to airbrush successfully.
From my experience, most acrylic paints can be thinned with distilled water, since many of the high cost ‘thinners’ are no more than isopropyl alcohol or distilled water. Distilled water is preferred because it doesn’t contain any of the contaminants that can be found in tap water. I usually start with about 25% thinner and work from there after mixing it.
Do I Need to Thin My Acrylic Paint Before Airbrushing?
Some acrylic paints for airbrushing come marked as ‘ready’ so you don’t need to thin them down, but most will require for you to thin them before you can start airbrushing. As I mentioned above, I usually start with about 25% water or a medium and mix it until it’s a nice smooth milky consistency.
The reason why we need to thin down the paint is because regular acrylic paint is much thicker than what is required to airbrush. Since airbrushing gives you an almost watercolor painting, depending on what you are painting, it makes sense that the paint would also be thinner.
You’ll want to pour a small amount of paint into your airbrush paint cup. Spray the acrylic paint on the paper adjusting airflow and paint flow according to your airbrushes directions. If the paint seems to thick or too thin, remix and try again until the paint flows to your satisfaction.
Here’s a tip: You can change the control and flow of acrylic paint through your airbrush by mixing it with acrylic paint thinner and adding a little acrylic paint retarder. Experiment with isopropyl alcohol or some water as well. Both make good thinners for acrylic paint.
It’s very important to determine the mixing ratio. Most paints will have thinning instructions on the can that include the recommended thinner and thinning ratio. Add the proper ratio of thinner to the amount of paint in the mixing cup.
If the paint you are using does not have any instructions, then thin the paint to a watery consistency. The mixture can be fixed by adding more paint or thinner if needed. Slowly stir the mixture with a mixing stick until the paint is thoroughly mixed.
What Can Be Used to Thin Acrylic Paint?
The rule of thumb for thinning acrylic paint is usually to reduce it with distilled water or a reducer until it lows like milk. Reducing or thinning airbrush paint in many cases takes a bit of experimenting to find exactly at what consistency the paint flows best in the airbrush you are using.
A lot of things come into play when finding just the right consistency of the airbrush paint you are using to atomize correctly. The type of airbrush you are using, needle and fluid nozzle size and the air pressure you are using all come into play. The amount of reduction also depends on the size of the nozzle in your airbrush; 0.5 mm nozzle will spray much thicker paint than a 0.2 given the correct air pressure is being used.
Extender Vs Thinner – Paint extenders that the paint companies make, more often than not, do not make the color thinner but do make it more transparent. I always recommend first using distilled water and playing around with the mixture until you get the right consistency. If you prefer a reducer, check out my recommended products page for my top ranked products.
If you’re looking to get an all in one kit for airbrushing with acrylic paints, then I recommend my first item, Master Multi Purpose Airbrush kit. It has everything you need and more! It’ great for beginners or artists, acrylic paints or airbrushing a cake, seriously this kit is amazing and it’s a must have. Make sure to always do your research in the paints and doses you use if you have to thin them down.
Always use safety precautions as airbrushing can be dangerous due to all the particles in the air, and remember to airbrush in a nice ventilated or open space. I hope this article made airbrushing a little more fun and educational.