The popularity of the cake airbrushing technique has increased rapidly in the last decade or two. 

To learn about how to airbrush cakes and other delicious food, we prepared a step-by-step guide that will encourage you to try out this impressive way of decorating.

But first, let’s explore the possibilities of this technique. 

Why Choose Airbrushing Cakes Over Other Ways of Decorating?

Adding pressed flowers, sprinkles, or creating astonishing shapes out of fondant are just some of many ways to decorate cakes. 

On the other hand, airbrushing cakes give you the chance to play around and create effects that are not achievable by the above-mentioned ways of coloring and decorating. Using gel food color and food airbrush allows you to make color gradients and shades you’ve imagined, experiment with shapes and patterns, and even design complex 3D effects. 

What Do You Need to Airbrush Cakes? 

Male Pastry Chef Pours Colored Chocolate Into an Airbrush, Spray Gun

Today, we have a plethora of airbrush kits containing numerous sorts of nozzles, different airbrush guns, and air compressors. However, a regular cake airbrush kit contains:

  • An air compressor that usually comes with three airflow settings – high, medium, and low.
  • A precision airbrush gun that can be dual or single action and usually comes with a 0.4mm sized nozzle. This nozzle size is universal. Some kits offer several types and sizes you can use for cake decorating.
  • An air hose that connects the air compressor to the food airbrush pistol.
  • A set of gel food colors that are not mandatory as a part of a set and can be purchased separately.

How to Choose the Right Cake Airbrush Kit?

Cake airbrush kits differ mostly by the type of airbrush gun. As said, you can choose in between a dual or a single-action airbrush. 

Learning about what type of food airbrush your level of knowledge requires can be a dry subject. However, it is important to get informed on the specifics of the cake airbrush kit in order to gain the skill of airbrushing quickly and easily. 

We recommend going for a single action food airbrush for beginners due to the easy way of using it. A single-action airbrush gun works with a back and forth motion – you pull back to color and return the trigger to stop. The air in the single-action airbrush gun constantly runs through it.

On the other hand, with the dual-action airbrush pistols, you are the one who controls the flowing of air by pressing the trigger down and after that, pulling it back to start spraying ink.

General Rules on Airbrushing Cakes

Three factors determine how successfully you’ll airbrush your cake. 

  • Angle

To cover the whole cake, spray at a 45-degree angle. To create sharper lines and more precise details, spray at a 90-degree angle. 

  • Distance

The perfect distance to airbrush cake is about 6-8 inches away from your cake. If you hold the food airbrush gun too close, the air pressure can disfigure your cake. On the other hand, if you hold it too far, the food paint will spray all around. 

  • Spray Pressure

Pull back the trigger on your airbrush gun about halfway for a steady spray, since the pressure you use affects the color intensity. You should also check the setting on your air compressor. This is a must if you want to avoid the speckled color that occurs due to low pressure. 

How to Airbrush Cakes?  

Before getting to work, prepare your work surface. Our advice is to use plastic sheets or newspapers to cover and protect your countertop from a fine mist of color produced while spraying. 

Fill the cup on the airbrush pistol with the color you’d like to paint your cake with. Always use liquid or gel food color. A few drops can go a long way, so there is no need to put more color than recommended. If you want to create shades, you can use several different colors in one cup.

Prior to using the airbrush gun to airbrush your cake, try spraying some ink on a sheet of paper. 

Use a turntable since the covering will be easier, and the ink will apply equally on every side of your cake. 

Work in circular motions and slowly. 

Start by applying a lighter shade of color to your cake. If you want to create a more vibrant tone, spray the color in layers. However, leave your cake to rest and dry until you spray it for the second time. 

Coloring Tips and Practices

Hand of Chef Using Airbrush for Cake Decorating

Don’t shy away from learning the amazing airbrushing technique just because you’re scared you’ll mess up and do a no-good job. Practice makes perfect, thus go for the simple shapes and lines that you can try out on a piece of paper. 

  • Drawing loops will help you gain control over your airbrush gun.
  • Creating lines that gradually increase in size is a great beginning for creating details and will also help you learn how to lock your wrist while drawing.
  • Shading a piece of paper with a mix of two tones will be a great practice for coloring the whole cake later on.
  • Stencils are also a great practice since you can make them yourself using a piece of a baking sheet and spraying the ink over it. 

A tip for using stencils: After you make the stencil you want, use a teaspoon of buttercream to attach it to the cake. This way, the shape will turn out perfectly, and the color won’t reach under or outside the stencil. 

Cleaning Your Airbrush Gun

After you finish decorating your cake, it is very important that you clean your airbrush gun thoroughly. If you don’t clean your airbrush pistol, the excess ink will dry and clog the gun, thus making it almost impossible to use it afterward. The same goes in-between color changing.  

In between color-changing, use warm water to fill up the cup where you put the color in. Pull the trigger on your airbrush gun all the way back and let the water run out. Do this until the water you spray out is completely clear. 

You should also consider cleaning the airbrush gun with the cleaner after every fourth or fifth use. This requires disassembling your cake decorating tool and using a special cleaning product and regular brushes or cotton balls to wipe every piece of it meticulously.

This way of cleaning will guarantee the longevity of your airbrush pistol and the quality of your work. 

Equip Yourself and Start Decorating

If you are looking for high-quality colors and airbrush cleaners, Medina Baking & Powder Supplies is here to provide you with just what you need. Make your first step by reaching out, and we will supply you with everything your cake decorating journey calls for, leaving you to think only about practicing and becoming a certified pro.