Cake airbrush kit has become more of necessity than a luxury for cake decorators. We know the rage about cake airbrushing is not all hype. That’s why this beginner’s guide was written to help the newbies to cake airbrushing.
What is a cake airbrush kit?
A cake airbrush kit can be described as a spray paint kit that is used to apply color and designs to a cake. The medium that is used in a cake airbrush kit is edible food paint also known as food coloring.
A cake airbrush kit is an essential asset to have if you want to take your cake decorating to the next level. Even if you are a homemaker or hobbyist, you can also create stunning confectionery with your cake airbrush kit. What’s more, you can save valuable time by spraying on intricate color schemes, designs and images on your icing, fondant or sugar craft items.
Cake decorating can be a fun activity (If you get it right) or downright frustrating! Just about anything can go wrong; a little smudge can spoil the perfection of hours of work. Phew! What to do? Occasions like this call for quick thinking and a lot of creativity. Thankfully, with a cake airbrush kit , you can always salvage your work.
Conventional Versus Modern Methods of Cake Decoration
There’s a great difference between using conventional methods of cake decoration for stenciling and similar techniques and cake airbrush.
Cake airbrushing is a fast growing trend in the industry; seems every cake decorator has caught the bug. This is because you can use cake airbrush to decorate your baked goods in less time than some other traditional methods. Instead of the time spent mixing and kneading different colors into your icing or fondant, you have a quicker and easier method. Cover the cake with a basic color of fondant or icing (most ideal color is white) and spray.
You want to know the best part? It’s cost effective as you need less food color to achieve stunning effects!
If you don’t have a cake airbrush kit , guess we got you salivating for one right? Before you go clicking away or browsing cake decoration tools stores and sites there are important facts to learn.
Stay with us as we enlighten you on what to look out for in a cake airbrush kit.
Types of Cake Airbrush Guns: Know the Difference
Before we explore the types of cake airbrush that there are, let’s take a short explanation on how cake airbrush work.
How does cake airbrush work?
Every airbrush works with a compressor and an air line connects the airbrush to the compressor. This carries air from the compressor to the airbrush and the force of the air pushes the color out of the nozzle. The pressure of the air amongst other factors determines the effect you would get on the cake.
There are two types of cake airbrush and they are the single action airbrush and the double action airbrush.
The Single Action Airbrush
A single action airbrush is one that expels the air and food coloring when you press the trigger. Some single action airbrushes use compressors that allow you to adjust the airflow, while some others do not.
To reduce or increase the volume of color expelled, you have to adjust the knob that controls the flow. After presetting the desired volume of color, the single action of pressing down and pulling back the trigger would expel the color.
You can control the scope of your spray by the distance you hold the airbrush gun/nozzle to the cake; the nearer you are to the cake, the smaller area you cover. For a wider coverage, you have to hold the gun further away from the cake.
This model is ideal for covering large surfaces and is easy to use as you don’t have to bother about airflow. This makes it just right for a beginner; it is also usually cheaper than the dual action airbrushes.
The Dual Action Airbrush
The dual action airbrush controls airflow by pushing down on the airbrush trigger and color flow by pulling back the same trigger. This is a more versatile model. It allows you to be more in control of the pattern of spray than the single action model.
This is better suited for intricate and detailed designs. It is important to have more control if you intend to do more of detailed work than plain background spraying. Because of its versatility and wider range of control, it is more ideal for advanced users.
There are basic cake airbrush kits that use simple compressors with the single action gun/nozzle and there are more complex and fancy kits.
Although the deluxe kits use the single action gun, they have compressors with knobs that control and adjust air flow. Though not a dual action cake airbrush kit, these types of single action kits give you better control than the basic kits. You can do more detailed work because of the adjustable air flow.
A basic cake airbrush kit uses a simple compressor with the single action airbrush gun. You control the amount of color with your airbrush trigger and the distance from the cake.
Different Airbrush Styles
There are basically three styles of cake airbrush and they are: Gravity feed, siphon feed and side feed.
Gravity Feed Airbrush
Gravity feed airbrush models are the ones with the cup for the medium (food coloring/paint) on top of the gun.They require less pressure to be exerted as you work making it the most consistent and responsive of airbrush styles .It is also the most detail oriented airbrush style that’s available because of the position of the paint cup. The force of gravity works in its favor.
The nozzle size range for this style is usually between 0.10 to 0.35 mm. Some brands with gravity feed brushes come with a lid for the paint cup while others don’t. To avoid spilling the food color while you work, it’s best not to fill the cup to the brim.
Siphon feed style airbrush is the model that has the paint cup underneath the gun/nozzle. Some users love it as it allows them to use different sizes of color cups and bottles and to switch colors fast. Others complain that it’s more difficult to clean and requires the use of more color per time than the gravity feed style.
However, the general consensus is that the siphon feed brushes have the capacity to handle more concentrated liquids better. The nozzle size for this style ranges from 0.1 to 0.5mm.
Airbrush kit with side feed style has its paint cup attached to the side of the gun. One major advantage of this is that it can rotate 360 degrees. This gives the user the freedom to work at and from any angle; including upside down! The nozzle sizes for this style range from 0.10 to 0.35mm.
Some people find the siphon feed cake airbrush kit more difficult to use and maintain while others see no difference in the models. So whether it’s a gravity feed, side feed or siphon feed brush, whatever model you learn with, you’d get comfortable with it.
Types of Airbrush Operations
This term refers to how the air and paint mixes; this may either be external or internal. This contributes to the way the color would appear on the cake or other surfaces when applied.
In this operation, air and paint blend upon exit from the tip of the airbrush. This allows the user to control the volume of paint that is sprayed with the small knob on the airbrush gun. The external operation is better suited for covering small surfaces than for detailed and intricate projects.
In the internal operation, the air and paint blend inside the airbrush tip before it is expelled. This operation most often would produce a more uniform and consistent spray. This makes it ideal for larger surface areas and detailed projects.
Think you have all the facts you need to get the best cake airbrush kit for you? Not so fast! There’s more …
Things to Consider Before Buying a Cake Airbrush Kit
Before you go shopping for a cake airbrush kit or gun, there are some vital issues that you need to consider carefully. They include but are not limited to the following:
Frequency of Use
Are you a professional cake decorator or a hobbyist? Do you intend to use it for commercial purposes or home use? Is it a tool you’d use quite often?
Answering these questions would help you determine the type and style of airbrush that would serve you well.
Are you new to cake decorating and just want something that is easy to use and maintain and not bulky? If yes, all you need is a basic cake airbrush kit. Maybe one of those cake airbrush kits that come with a compact small compressor.
These compressors can’t work for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. If they do, they’ll overheat and blow up. Any of these models can serve your purpose since you’ll not be using it very often and for long stretches. Look for brands that have compressors that are self regulatory; one that has a knob to set the air pressure to low, medium and high.
If you are a beginner at airbrushing but a professional cake decorator who intends to use the airbrush kit for commercial purposes then you should consider (a) Durability (b) Versatility (c) Functionality
This is a key factor that you can’t overlook. You should only consider buying a baking airbrush kit with a large compressor. This would allow you to work nonstop for a longer stretch.
These compressors are also fitted with pressure gauge, air regulator, and moisture trap. This removes any moisture that accumulates in the compressor air line (this is necessary for those who live in hot and humid climate).The pressure gauge allows you to regulate how much air the compressor is passing through the hose.
Most cake decorating projects require that you work with low air pressure. So when you preset the air pressure on the compressor to 30 psi, you can rest assured that it won’t go above that value. This allows you to work with confidence knowing that the air pressure would not rise above the required value. The effect of the colors on your cake would also be what you expect.
Not only are you getting a heavy duty work tool that would last for long; you also get an airbrush that would enhance your projects.
You may be wondering how on earth you would ascertain all these features for your desired product. Have no fear; there are a number of sites and online forum where you can get verified user reviews and testimonials.
If you intend to earn money with your cake airbrush, then you need one that would help you create stunning results; designs that people would be willing to pay for. From all we’ve discussed, you would have gained some insight to help you make an informed decision. Bear in mind however, that as a beginner, the level of versatility you can cope with is not the same as a veteran. Therefore you need to look for a kit that combines versatility with ease of use.
Following from the last thought, functionality can also be referred to as ease of use. A functional airbrush kit should be easy to use and maintain while allowing the user to learn and grow with it. Do not buy a kit that would require an advanced level of skill to assemble, use and maintain.
Availability of Parts for Replacement
Check whether the product you want to buy has easy to replace parts. Also check how available they are and the cost of replacement. There are some products that do not have replacement parts. Once a part is misplaced or damaged, you would have to buy the whole set.
Some brands of cake airbrush come with compressors that have fail safe measures. There are brands that would turn off the compressor when the air pressure gets to a preset gauge. While some others would turn off the compressor if it begins to heat up. The ones with the best security features are those that have both fail safe features.
Another safety issue to look out for is the medium that you would work with. These include the food paint or color, luster, stencils etc. Ensure that they are made with FDA approved food grade ingredients and materials.
Brands that have add-on products such as food color, stencils, tips and videos are a good option for a beginner. This gives you an idea of the type of colors to use (especially in terms of consistency). It helps you to learn faster and also saves you the inconvenience of shopping separately for these products.
Sometimes add-on products might be cost effective, sometimes not. There are also sites that are a one stop shop for all your cake decorating needs/supplies. This is not to say that you won’t shop around but Amazon is a good place to start.
Notice that we didn’t put cost first. This is not because your budget is inconsequential in the whole mix, but because it shouldn’t be your first consideration. Why is this so? It’s so because good quality comes at a price.
That said; let’s also point out the fact that expensive is not synonymous with good quality. As a beginner you can get a good cake airbrush kit at a budget. As you improve, you would know when to move on to deluxe and more complex brands.
With the information we’ve shared so far, you are off to a good start on your quest for a cake airbrush kit. Remember you can never have too much information but don’t let yourself get confused by all the options. As you browse through tips, comments and reviews keep an open mind but also use your good sense of judgment.
Join a good forum and listen to the experiences of others. However you would have to find out for yourself what works best for you. We hope you achieve that without wasting your hard earned money.
Finally,we also recommend that you read the following articles : –
- Wedding Cake Toppers: The Right Choice
- Edible Luster Dust – Glamorize your Cakes
- Cake Icing Tools – Pre-Decoration Tips
- Gum Paste Tools – Next Level Sugar Craft
- Cake Stenciling Molds – Understand the Essentials
- Cake Piping Bags with Tip- No Stress Piping
Cake Airbrush Kit -FAQs
What Is The Best Cake Airbrush Kit?
Below is a list of 5 of the best airbrush kit:-
- Best Airbrush Kit For Experts- Master Airbrush Cake Decorating Airbrushing System Kit
- High End/Comprehensive Airbrush Kit – Master Airbrush Cool Runner II Dual Fan Air Storage Tank Compressor System Kit
- Best Airbrush Kit For Beginners – Airbrush Cake Decorating Kit Watson and Webb Little Airbrush LA1 Including 8 Colours
- Multi Purpose Airbrush Kit – Fy-Light 3 Modes Dual-Action Airbrush Set with Mini Compressor
- Best Money For Value Airbrush Kit –U S. Cake Supply – Complete Cake Decorating Airbrush Kit
You can also read this comparative review for more details about the best airbrush kits.
Can I Use Any Airbrush For Cakes?
You can use any airbrush for cakes as long as it is brand new and has not been used for any other purpose. The reason for this is because the paint that is used for cake airbrushing has to be edible and certified for ingestion. Paint used for other projects on the other hand is not ingestible or edible.
That being said however, there are some manufacturers that clearly labelled their airbrush kit as cake decorating airbrush. Conversely, some other products are labelled multipurpose with dual guns that can be used for separate purposes. You just have to ensure that you don’t mix up the spray guns and the paint. This therefore makes it easy for you to buy if all you need is an airbrush kit for cake decoration.
What Is The Best Airbrush Kit For Beginners?
The best airbrush kit for beginners is one that is simple and uncomplicated to use. Products such as the following:-
- Airbrush Cake Decorating Kit Watson and Webb Little Airbrush LA1 Including 8 Colours
- COSSCCI Upgraded Airbrush Kit
- PME Portable Airbrush Kit
- Duff Airbrush System
These products are on our list because they are easy to use and clean. More so they are easy to assemble and do not have complicated parts with steep learning curves. Most of these products come with user manual and instructions that would help a beginner get a hang of airbrushing techniques without much stress.
What Do You Use To Airbrush A Cake?
The best medium to use to airbrush a cake is food color that is clearly labelled as intended for cake airbrushing. These types of food color are specially formulated with particle size that makes it right for spraying on cakes and baked goods.
You cannot or should not use gel colors or luster dust in your airbrush gun. They would clog your airbrush nozzle.
That being said however, there are brands that have made gel food coloring with diluting solutions. This combo would help you get the right consistency that would safely pass through the nozzle of your airbrush gun and also get the right spray.
On the issue of using lustre dust in your airbrush color, it is best to use a product that has already been emulisified. Products such as Chefmaster by US Cake Supply .7fl oz Metallic Gold Airbrush Food Coloring and Americolor Amerimist Edible Paint and Airbrush Food Color are great for pearlizing your airbrushed cakes.
Can You Airbrush A Buttercream Cake?
You can definitely airbrush a buttercream cake! All you need to do is cover your cake with buttercream; most preferably white or cream. Then fill your airbrush gun with the desired color and spray the cake.
Buttercream cakes are best suited for airbrushing ombre coloring technique. This is the technique where the cake is airbrushed with different shades of the same color. This helps you to turn an otherwise simple cake into a work of art in no time!
Can You Airbrush With Gel Food Coloring?
You are not supposed to airbrush with gel food coloring as a general rule. If you use the gel color as is, it would clog the nozzle of your airbrush gun.
That said however, there are hacks that can enable you use gel color for airbrushing and they are as follows:-
Buy a brand that has a diluting solution for gel colors ; the solution would work with the gel color to give you the right consistency for your airbrush.
DIY- You can use some drops of vodka or edible spirits to dilute your gel color to the right consistency for airbrushing.
Can I Use Regular Food Coloring In My Airbrush?
You can use regular food coloring in your airbrush. But whatever color you choose to use, ensure that the consistency is such that it would not clog your airbrush nozzle.
Refer to the forgoing question for detailed answers.
Can I Use Airbrush Color In Frosting?
You can use airbrush color in frosting but it is not recommended practise. This is because it is more diluted than regular food coloring which means that you would have to use more than the quantity you would have used with regular food coloring.
When you add too much liquid in your frosting, it would most naturally thin out your frosting; bear in mind that airbrush color is liquid. So unless it is an emergency and all you have is airbrush color, it is best to use regular food colors for frosting.
Can You Mix Airbrush Colors?
You can mix airbrush colors just as easily as you can mix regular food colors. There are some shades of color that are best achieved by mixing different brands of food colors. For example to get a bright purple (frozen), I love to mix the Wilton gel Violet with Akabado purple gel paste and Wilton purple.
The rule of thumb when mixing colors however is to start out with a trial version. Then spray it on a few cookies or a strip of white fondant to see how you like the outcome. If you are satisfied with the result, you can then mix a larger batch. Remember to note the quantity of drops you used for each color/brand.
Can I Use A Regular Air Compressor For Airbrushing?
You can use a regular compressor for airbrushing. The only thing that is required for airbrushing is a machine that delivers compressed air to the airbrush gun. This in turn helps to apply pressure that would push out the paint to spray your cake as desired.
So if you have an airbrush kit that has a faulty compressor, and you have a compressor that you use for other purposes, you can connect your airbrush kit to it and use it. You do not need to go and buy another compressor that is designated for airbrushing.
The only part of an airbrush kit that shouldn’t be interchanged or multipurpose is the airbrush gun.