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. 

Top Tips

  • 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!