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Cake Decorating with an Airbrush

Updated on March 26, 2013

Airbrushes for cakes?

Creating fantastic celebratory cakes, with unique, dramatic and of course edible artwork, the possibilities are huge once you realise what is possible with an airbrush, a layer of fondant and make a few simple accessories.

Every cake decorator, whether as a hobby or a profession should consider the impact an airbrush will have on the quality and scope of their cake decorating, turn you creations into works of art, amaze your friends or win new business!

Image by Sweetfacecakes (Creative Commons)

This page starts with a video which will give you an introduction to the art of airbrush cake decorating, it is then split into several sections, providing an overview of what an airbrush is, using stencils to decorate a cake, airbrush cake paint, cake decorating accessories and more great videos to watch to help you decide which airbrush kit to buy.

Remember to bookmark this page as I will be adding more content, airbrush reviews and special offers, and I would be very pleased if you would leave me a comment with any suggestions or ideas you might have!

How To Airbrush A Cake The Krazy Kool Cakes Way!

This is a great introduction to the art of airbrush cake decorating, if this inspires you then read on to find great deals on airbrush for cakes sets.

Also be sure to check out Krazy Kool Cakes website for some fun and exciting cake decoration ideas, or even to buy some of Laura's fantastic creations!

Krazy Kool Cakes

A bit about Air brush equipment

Air brushing has been around for centuries, ever since man blew paint from a straw to create an outline of their hands against a wall ever since man blew paint from a straw to create an outline of their hands some 40,000 years ago paint and decoration has been sprayed onto all manner of surfaces in an effort to leave a cultural mark.

That is because there is something appealing about air brushing, the way that even with the finest setting, the edges have a softness that allows the image to seem to float in a magical way, this effect is achieved as the paint of ink is atomised into tiny droplets by the artist who controls the air with a trigger mechanism, because of the infinite controllability (pressure, amount of ink, distance from subject), the artist can build up blended and feathered gradients between colors, and with practice create extremely real and vivid images.

Single Action Airbrush

With a single action airbrush the artist can only control whether the air is flowing or not, the spray pattern (width) and paint flow is controlled by operating a separate adjustment dial or needle, depending on whether the brush is an external or internal mix brush.

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Badger 200 - An example of a single action internal mix airbrush - Image courtesy of Amazon

Dual Action Airbrush

A dual action airbrush allows the artist to control the air flow and color using the trigger, rather than a separate control, this allows for much greater control at the expense of a more difficult technique to master.

The feed system also varies between airbrushes, with gravity fed, bottom or siphon fed and side fed being three common options.

Feed and Mixture types

Gravity fed airbrushes tend to be suited to more detailed work as the air pressure required is less, although the reservoir on top of the brush will normally hold less color that a siphon fed brush. Bottom fed have the color held in a container below the brush, which can be of a highe capacity.

One advantage of bottom and side fed brushes is that the cake decorator can see the tip of the brush and a direct line to the work.

Internal vs. External mix brushes

Due to the fact the color and air mix internally, the atomisation of the color tends to be finer with internal mix brushes, both the air and color have exited the brush on external mix devices and so the drops of color can be larger, however external mix brushes are normally cheaper than their internal mix counterparts and with careful adjustment they are capable of high quality work.

One advantage of an external mix airbrush is that it is much easier to clean.

Air - Canned Propellant or a Compressor?

It's true that you can buy can's of compressed air to power your airbrush, and this initially might seem attractive due to the relative cost of a can compared to an airbrush compressor, however, the advantage will quickly disappear once you have to keep buying cans of air, a good quality airbrush compressor will work for years and will not run out of air halfway through a cake decorating project!

The best airbrush compressor will come with a tank and an adjustable regulator, having a tank means the motor will not need to be on all the time, which can be distracting, an a good regulator is essential if you are to have a constant and reliable pressure, one that can be adjusted to allow you to fine-tune the performance and technique will prove very useful. The very best can even run silently, be sure to read reviews to see what other people are saying about their airbrush air compressors.

Whichever Airbrush Kit you do decide to purchase, remember to study and follow the airbrush instructions, particularly when it comes to cleaning your airbrush which must be done thoroughly after each use.

Great video about airbrushing cakes with stencils

Create intricate designs with airbrush stencils!

Using stencils means you don't have to wait till you have developed free-hand skills before decorating your cakes and other foods with airbrushed color, you can also use them to quickly create an outline within which you can add detail and build up colors.

You can pretty much use any airbrushing stencils to decorate cakes, but please make sure they are food safe before placing them on anything that will get eaten! Another great option is to use paper lace cake decorations as airbrush stencils.

Lace Stencils can be used to create really fantastically complex and professional results, even with little or no airbrush experience! Even those of us who are artistically challenged can get great results!

Not ready to splash out on an Airbrush?

You can still create many cool effects with these spray can food colors, especially if combined with an airbrush stencil. Maybe you just have one cake to make, if so then these would be a great way to impress your friends and family.

Cleaning your Airbrush

If you are using your brush solely for food and cake decorating then cleaning should be fairly easy, it's not hard with artist paints such as acrylics and enamels, but at least you don't need to use and thinners or solvents to remove the the color from inside your brush.

Firstly, flush the brush through with water.

Then, following your airbrush instructions, remove the needle and the head nozzle and clean them using a proprietory airbrush cleaner.

Periodically it is worth carefully stripping down your airbrush and soaking then cleaning the components of the brush, you should also check for any damage, particularly to the needle - it will need replacing if it becomes bent or pitted.

Finally, carefully reassemble your brush, taking care to not cross-thread any of the other very small components.

Below is a handy airbrush cleaning station that will make the job even easier!

Airbrush Cleaning Station - Iwata-Medea

Removes the chance of overspray when cleaning your airbrush

Easy to clean glass container

Includes a filter to trap fumes

Compatible with most airbrushes

Acts as a handy airbrush holder

Iwata-Medea Cleaning Station
Iwata-Medea Cleaning Station

This make cleaning your airbrush quick and easy, it removes all mess from the process and cuts down significantly on fumes from any solvent cleaners you may use, almost every review suggests this to be a must have airbrush accessory.

 

Essential accessories for cake decorating

If you haven't got a cake turntable already then these are really the only thing you need to buy outside of an Airbrush Kit, turning you cake is the trick to getting a lovely even color all over (just check out the videos to see exactly what I mean.

A lazy susan covered in a a piece of baking parchment would do just fine of course.

AmeriColor Amerimist Air Brush Food Colors - A great selection of Airbrush Colors

AmeriColor make a wide range of food grade colors suitable for Airbrush Cake Decorating, available singually or in larger packs many many colors are available, including metallics and Sheens

AmeriColor Amerimist Air Brush Food Color 4.5 Ounce Set, 12 Pack
AmeriColor Amerimist Air Brush Food Color 4.5 Ounce Set, 12 Pack

The colors are vibrant and easy to mix together, giving reliable and consistent results without having to use a lot of paint, a little goes a long way.

 

The Great Decorated Cake Debate

Would you like to get a cake decorated like this?

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Please tell me what you think of this page!

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    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      Fantastic, I wish I had the talent to decorate cakes using an airbrush.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      Cake Decorating with an Airbrush is such a clever idea.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      This is so cool! I'd love to try airbrushing a cake, although it wouldn't be as good as the ones shown above.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      First time I have heard of decorating a cake with an airbrush, but I like it. You did a great job presenting it.

      Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      I could maybe tackle the stencil-and-spray technique, but the airbrush cake decoration looks like a job for a real culinary/artistic genius!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      A quick little RocketSquid tip (delete after reading, if you want):

      Consider putting your guestbook further down on this lens? Because of blogs, the end of the page is where we've gotten used to finding a comments section, and if a guestbook is in the middle of a page, sometimes visitors don't realize there's more good stuff to read if they'd only keep scrolling. :)