These explanations are about why airbrush colors should actually be diluted. It is always about essential factors that influence the mixing ratio. Which these are, is therefore also explained.
Special tips regarding the mixture of conventional airbrush colors, alternative acrylic paints, and renowned Revell colors round off the explanations.
Why should you light airbrush colors?
You should dilute the airbrush colors so that the nozzles don’t clog up, no sprinklers or even color dropouts occur. In addition, it is also those desired effects that are interesting when depicting clouds or haze and fog and sometimes can only be created by highly fluid colors.
On the other hand, too high a mixture can cause the colors to run. Or they may not adhere correctly. Therefore, you should keep an eye on both and consider the correct mixing ratio of paint to thinner.
If, on the other hand, you want to achieve a high level of opacity on the first pass, mixing should be avoided.
When a paint bottle runs low, you can always end up with a highly concentrated residue. Maybe you didn’t shake well enough before use, and focused paint pigments automatically stick to the bottom or other corners. Then mix the rest with a thinner and use these old colors completely.
Especially the other acrylic paints, mainly not initially intended for the airbrush technique, you will certainly have to mix. Otherwise, they will clog the nozzles, and you will have to use the airbrush cleaner.
Airbrush paint thinning: Important factors
Various factors tell you whether you should thin the paint or use it pure. These are listed below:
Factor 1 – Type of paint
The first factor to consider is what type of paint you are using. Each color has a slightly different mixing ratio about its pigments. This applies to all popular paints from Schmincke, Revell, Createx, Timbertech, etc.
You will quickly see in a test with newly used paints which is thicker or thinner when sprayed on a sheet of paper.
Opaque acrylic paints are usually more pigmented than the other colors for airbrushes. Therefore, more thinner or water should be added to the dye used, depending on your preference.
Factor 2 – Type of nozzle
If you have a tiny nozzle, about 0.15mm or 0.2mm, you usually need to dilute more. Otherwise, there is a risk that they will clog faster than the large ones.
Prophylactically, you could then increase the pressure on the compressor so that a lovely mist of paint continues to come out and the nozzle doesn’t clog.
Factor 3 – Aim of the paint application
In addition, your intention is decisive as to how the color image should look later. This is then the powerful question, as should be the right consistency.
If you want the color to be very opaque the first time, maintain a high concentration. On the other hand, if you only want to spray on a soft mist or smoke, highly diluted paints are the right ones.
Factor 4 – The painting ground
The painting surface is not insignificant if you want to dilute water-based paints. Smooth surfaces like metal, coated furniture, or even soft plastic like concentrated paint.
On the other hand, if you dilute them too much with water, they will dash on these surfaces. However, a prior primer can also remedy the situation and improve the condition.
On the other hand, very absorbent are the unique pure drawing boards for airbrushes, canvases, and, of course, T-shirts and other textiles. Here, you will experience fewer mistakes with running paint because it dries very quickly on such a painting surface.
Dilute airbrush paint: The correct mixing ratio
Of course, the right consistency is always relative, especially about the factor above 3. But for the most common water-soluble paints, for example, you should mix 1 drop of color with 2 drops of water. The same applies to distilled water.
The special airbrush thinners require a much lower mixing ratio because they are often more concentrated. 1 to 10 to 15 are the appropriate guide values here.
These standard mixtures for Aqua paint on the painting surfaces, pure drawing cardboard, canvases, nails, etc., result in a sufficiently high opacity.
It can also be a little more concentrated in the custom painting area or on the aforementioned smooth furniture. 1 to 1 or even less water is usually the better choice to achieve the concentration and fast drying, but still not clog the nozzle.
The mixing ratio of white paint or even black color should often be higher. This is because well-known manufacturers have provided these with a higher pigment density. Given nozzle clogging, at least 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 is the best mixing ratio. You should also remember to use a higher pressure.
However, if you want to use white paint as a primer with otherwise transparent paints, a high or even pure form is correct. But then you should definitely increase the nozzle size and pressure.
You should also always shake the professional airbrush colors before mixing them. Because there is always something on the bottom, which you should completely dissolve. Otherwise, with time and increasing consumption, the paint becomes more viscous.
Some well-known manufacturers get around this by including pipettes, which you should first pump through a few times when closed so that they mix properly. Others have a small plastic ball inside, similar to spray cans, that loosens the paint residue when shaken.
You can now opt for two types of mixes: In one of the separate containers of the airbrush gun or directly in the hopper of the other kind of gun. It mostly depends on how much paint you want to apply.
Separate in the container always has the advantage that the paint, thinner, or water are correctly mixed in the gun. The mixture can otherwise be delayed or remain uneven in the hopper.
However, there is the following trick to reduce this: close the nozzle opening with a finger (without touching the needle tip and thus damaging it) and operate only the airflow. This will cause air bubbles to hit back into the hopper and thoroughly mix the paint.
Thinning acrylic paint as airbrush paint
The other acrylic paints not explicitly designated for airbrushing should be viewed critically. Since the consistency is very different and the manufacturers often expressly refer to airbrush color, a generally correct mixing ratio cannot be given here either.
Of course, they are also mostly environmentally friendly and not harmful to health. However, the pigment density and size are usually higher or larger.
Therefore, if you want to take the risk of using them, you should add a larger nozzle, more pressure, and thinner.
About the mixture, you must immediately increase the ratio, as with the airbrush colors, so that you do not clog the spray gun during the first spray, have to use the airbrush cleaner, or even have a complete cleaning before you.
Otherwise, the mixing processes are similar to those described for the airbrush colors.
Revell paint for airbrush thinning
Revell has its headquarters in Bünde (NRW) and belongs to “German manufacturers.” Predominantly it serves the needs of model building.
This, of course, includes the subsequent design of the model surface. Therefore, Revell offers airbrush guns, compressors, paints, or complete sets. From beginner sets to professional solutions, you can make a good choice.
The containers of Revell paints are designed a little differently than other well-known manufacturers do. Revell has, so to speak, an open pot to open or unscrew, which the modeler can therefore also take with the brush for painting or with the pipette for airbrush dosing.
Again, you should mix the colors. A ratio of 1 drop of paint to 2 drops of water should also be tried initially.
You can also find a thinner from Revell. It is called Color Mix or Aqua Color Mix, for example. It is very economical to use. But that also depends on how high the viscosity should be. As a rule, 1 drop of thinner is sufficient for 10 to 15 drops of paint.
Can airbrush colors be mixed together?
The answer is “yes,” and you can do this if necessary if you do not have the desired color from your original supplier at hand. Otherwise, you are advised not to change the airbrush color manufacturer among themselves since the consistency is somewhat different. Then you could miss the mixing ratio, which you were used to. Some are also different in their luminosity. It becomes even more apparent when you mix neon colors with the standard colors. If this is not necessarily desired, you will experience other effects.
And then does the procedure for dilution change?
In any case, it is then a good tip if you approach thinning more slowly. It should be thinner or water that you have to control during a “spray-out” about the viscosity of the paint, including the spray pattern. This procedure will always protect you from an annoying clogging of the nozzle. If this is still not enough and the nozzle does start to clog, you should quickly add more thinner or water. On the other hand, if the ink ratio is too liquid, you should do the opposite.
Can too much thinner damage the airbrush gun?
You don’t need to worry about the thinner used by the airbrush paint manufacturers. They are suitable for the use of guns. The guns are basically very robust and also stainless processed. However, you should avoid unknown solvents or those not explicitly designated for the guns. Even if many airbrush models are titled solvent-resistant, “caution before indulgence” always applies here.
How much should you thin acrylic paint for airbrush?
The amount of paint you thin for airbrush will depend on the specific paint and airbrush combination. However, a good starting point is to thin the paint until it flows smoothly from the airbrush and has a consistency similar to milk. If the paint is too thick, it will not flow well through the airbrush, and if it is too thin, it will be difficult to control.