How to use an Airbrush for Decorating Cakes
An airbrush is a quick and fun way to add colour to a cake, and is extremely popular as a technique for decorating. No more hard work kneading colours into sugar paste, simply cover your cake and use the icing as a blank canvas to get creative.
The airbrush kit comes with everything you need to start, including the compressor, colours and a cleaner. More colours are available to buy separately.
- Leave the airbrush in its box on your work surface so it is handy for immediate use. If stuck in a cupboard (out of sight, out of mind!), you are less likely to take it out and use it.
- Do not use your airbrush for cake and craft use. Keep for food safe edible airbrush colours only. This will avoid any cross contamination.
- Read the instructions carefully before using to ensure you have set it up correctly. This will ensure that your machine operates smoothly.
- Set up a spraying booth if possible (a large box is ideal) - failing that, cover all surrounding work surfaces with some newspapers or kitchen towel. This will prevent the whole kitchen from being re-decorated.
- Ventilate the room if possible before you start.
- Remember practise makes perfect. Always work out how you are going to create a design before you start, and either have a practise or draw the design out on paper. No need to practise on cake, use paper.
- Use a turntable if covering a whole cake; this makes it easier to obtain a smooth application of the colour.
- Practise holding the gun, different angles give different effects. Likewise, the speed and pressure make a difference. For general use, a good distance is 8” away from the surface to be sprayed. The closer you hold the gun, the smaller the spray. Further away will give a wide spray. Practise with the trigger – the more you pull the trigger, the faster the spray will come out.
- It is better to build up the colour as you go with several layers. This gives a better finish, and you are less likely to over colour.
- Clean the airbrush between colours with warm, not hot, water, and periodically use the airbrush cleaner to give a thorough clean of the pipe and needle. This will prevent a build up of colours in the needle.
- If you wish to obtain a lustred finish, there are now pearl and glitter colours available.
- Enhance your design with the use of a stencil and/or other decorations. Using a stencil means a little more practise, but definitely adds to the fun of using an airbrush – the sky’s the limit!