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Airbrush Paint - Reducer or Medium

Joined
Mar 17, 2006
Messages
111
Likes
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Location
Canton, Connecticut
I've just started to use airbrushing on some of my turnings. I made the incorrect presumption that paint labeled as airbrush paint could be used straight out of the bottle. On my first attempt, it only took minutes for the airbrush (Grex) to stop spraying due to blockage from the paint. I had bought a bottle of airbrush medium; my understanding was that paints not specifically labeled for airbrushing can be mixed with the medium for use in the airbrush. I've subsequently watched a number of Youtubes and saw that the common diluent used is a reducer. So my question is...should I be using a reducer instead of the medium to dilute the paint, or, does it not make a difference? Thanks.
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
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Location
Cookeville, TN
I use a reduced er to thin paints that arent Grex or golden. I have learned that's it's just a pain to use paints that need to be thinned. I'm doing better at getting the right consistency but it's just so.much easier to use the good quality paints. At first I tried making my own reducer. That was a waste of time and money. Commercial reducers work so much better.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
82
Likes
122
Location
Jackson, NJ
Website
www.blacklabelwoodworks.com
I was able to get that createx paint to flow out of a .2 tip with a 2 parts medium to 1 part paint. They recommend a 1 to 1 but that didn't work. They say to use 1 part water and 1 part medium for thick paint but everywhere else i read that does not work to well. I know you spent money on that createx paint but if you got high quality paint like goldens or grex it would make your experience so much more enjoyable. With a gravity feed brush you don't need much paint at a time. The small bottles will last a long time. When i airbrush i am only putting 4 or 5 drops in at a time. If i only need to do a little touchup i might only put 1 or 2 drops.
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
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2,230
Location
Cookeville, TN
There isnt really a ratio. They say to mix it until.it the thickness of milk. That's really hard to learn. I sort of jiggle the air brush and look how tha paint in the cup moves and mentally think of how milk would move.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
308
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548
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
Many "airbrush" colors, especially metallics, are not available in the thin ready-to-use versions like Golden. It is a pain trying to get the right consistency for airbrushing - and sometimes nearly impossible to keep the color integrity. I always increase the psi when using these colors and that usually helps.
 
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
317
Likes
375
Location
Derry, NH
I have used both reducer and medium to thin my paints. They both work. I avoid water to thin paint as it not only will reduce the viscosity, but will dilute the color. Hence the need for reducer or medium. Reducer or medium is really binder without the pigment, i.e., color. Like John said, you're looking for a viscosity that is like milk, and I prefer a viscosity of skim milk to whole milk. If you don't wish to reduce the viscosity, you'll need to not only increase the PSI, but use a larger needle. Changing to a .5 or .7 increases the volume you can move through the brush. Keep in mind that with most airbrushes, you can't just change the needle, but must also change the nozzle.

I have several bottles of Creatix; they're neither a cheap nor crappy paint. I just accept that I need to use a medium or reducer before trying to use them in the airbrush. I like the Creatix brand because it has colors - especially the pearlized colors - that are not available elsewhere.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
7
Location
Florissant, MO
I'm no expert, but I do paint with both bristle brushes, air brushes, sponges, and other paint application tools. Something that might be worth keeping in mind is that any paint, when thinned, will be thinner not just in viscosity, but also in the amount of pigment delivered to the surface being painted. Just about any paint can be thinned for air-brushing if the pigment particles are small enough.
 
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