Imagine the wonder and excitement each time someone sees a beautifully done birthday or special event cake. You could be responsible for bringing joy to those around you with the right skills and tools.
If you’re getting into cake decorating or you’re looking to uplevel your skills, the right tools are a must. One prominent tool most professional cake decorators have? An airbrush for those flawless designs. We’ve got our top pick to help you get the right design each time, plus a massive buyer’s guide to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right decision. Let’s take a look.
Master Airbrush TC-320: Cake Decorating Airbrushing System Kit
Master Airbrush is the best in the business, and with this set, you get everything you need. It includes the airbrush machine with two of Master Airbrush’s most popular, user-friendly brushes. Plus, you get 12 Chefmaster colors, including two metallics, and the user guide, so you’re ready to go right out of the box.
This airbrush kit is a comprehensive system. You get high performance, .25 horsepower motor with built-in cooling fans for efficient performance. Color is gravity fed for fewer clogs and more even color. It offers airflow of 25 liters per minute and is designed for longer usage without overheating. Automatic-off conserves power and helps prolong the life of your machine.
Chefmaster colors are professional cake dyes designed for easy application and fewer clogs. You get two different airbrush types for professional applications. The G34 offers dual-action, gravity-fed performance with an angled fluid cup and .3mm nozzle for precise application. The E91 brush is a single action, gravity-fed brush that’s compatible with a compressor or repellant can.
- A suite of professional colors designed to get you started right away.
- It comes with two brushes – dual action for precision and single action for large coverage areas.
- Precise airflow controls
- Dual fans for longer operation
- User guide to answer any questions you may have about the unit or decorating.
- Includes cleaning tools to ensure top performance each time.
This system is excellent for beginners and experienced decorators alike. It gives you a wide range of options and includes everything you need to get started.
So what goes into choosing the right airbrush? Not all airbrushes are created the same. When you’re choosing your airbrush system, you must consider a few different things so that you know you’re making the right decision.
Essential Elements of An Airbrush Kit
Let’s go over the different parts of the airbrush kit.
The compressor provides the power to the entire operation. You need a compressor with at least 15 to 20 psi and offer some control for the airflow – low, medium, and high should do just fine.
If you plan to do a lot of decorating, variable airflow could help save your hand and provide more consistent results. The machine automatically senses the pressure of the airbrush and makes small adjustments to ensure you have a stable flow each time.
Compressors should also have at least one fan to cool the machine down during operation. If you plan to work for more extended periods of time, look for a compressor with two fans to ensure safe operation.
There are lots of different types of airbrushes to help you accomplish different effects and provide consistent results. Here are a few common ones to consider.
Single action brushes offer consistent coverage and pressure for covering large areas. If you’re spraying an entire cake, you’ll want the reliability of a single-action airbrush.
Everything is in the trigger. The harder you pull, the more pressure, and thus more paint, is released. This design allows you to achieve a gradient effect as well as open full blast for saturated color.
Many also have control knobs to adjust the flow further. They aren’t great for precise patterns because of the lack of precision within the nozzle itself, but they do provide long, continuous spray for broad coverage.
Dual-action gives you more control than a single action with two caveats. Learning to balance airflow with paint flow may take some practice, and it can get tiring on your arm to cover large areas.
However, once you master the dual-action control, it provides you with more precision and more control for doing intricate designs and patterning. Many professional decorators have both types of airbrushes in their arsenal to handle both things.
Gravity Fed models use a cup located on top of the airbrush gun to feed the coloring into the airflow. They require less pressure and can help relieve stress on your hand and wrist as you work. They’re often the most precise because of the ease of flow and tips range from .10 to .35 mm.
If you don’t have a gravity-fed nozzle with a secure lid, be sure to pay attention to how you hold the gun. Also, avoid filling the color to the brim so that you don’t accidentally leak and to help ensure optimum airflow.
The downside to these is you must ensure the right consistency for your colors, or you could seriously clog the feed tube. These will only use the most liquid colors. Look for colors designed for gravity-fed airbrush nozzles.
These have a cup located underneath the air nozzle. They allow you to use larger containers for more coverage areas and can handle a thicker consistency than gravity-fed options. Once you screw the container onto your airbrush, the machine pulls the color up from the bottom and into the airflow.
They aren’t quite as convenient if you’ve got to use a lot of different colors because the containers are much larger. They can also be more challenging to clean than their gravity-fed counterparts. However, they are just a bit more flexible.
A few dedicated airbrush artists prefer a side feed. This type of brush allows you to rotate 360 degrees and still have consistent coverage and airflow. This type can take some getting used to. With practice, this could be an excellent option to have in your kit as well.
There are even different ways that the air and the paint mix together. Each type has benefits and downsides, depending on how you work.
In external operation, air and paint blend as they both exit from the nozzle tip. This gives you a lot of control for precision and allows you to adjust with a knob on the side. You can make quick adjustments and get into intricate detailing.
It may not be as efficient for large areas, but those small details will shine. With some practice, you may be able to adjust on the fly to get just the right amount of paint.
Internal operation blends air and paint within the nozzle tip. In jobs where consistency is critical, this type of operation may help ensure the paint is always an even coat and has fewer inconsistencies.
You don’t have as much control over precision outcomes, but it does allow you to cover larger areas with fewer mistakes and less strain on your wrist and hand.
You can further customize your airbrush needs with different tools. You may be able to find different tips that perform well for certain types of jobs. These tips could allow you to decorate more than just the cake surface (think cookies and other jobs).
You could also invest in stencils that allow you to create different designs easily. These stencils are suitable for consistent pattern work or creating overlaid pictures and can help ease the time it takes to create these regular patterns.
If you’re a beginner, you don’t necessarily need every fancy tool. Invest in the right compressor and an airbrush nozzle or two to begin your practice.
How to Choose a Cake Airbrush Kit
There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing your airbrush kit. You don’t need the most expensive or cutting edge design to get started, but there are some things to think about to get the right one. Ask yourself these questions.
How Often Will You Use It?
If this is a hobby and one you plan to use for your own personal cakes, you don’t need something super fancy. You can get a reliable and consistent compressor with a wide range of flexibility.
Basic compressors work for around 20 minutes at a time before they overheat, so they’re an affordable way to get started. If you plan to do more detail work, they may not have the functionality you need.
More elaborate compressors have multiple air fans and coolers to help the motor run for more extended periods. If you’re already an accomplished cake decorator looking to add airbrush techniques to the repertoire, you may want a more elaborate compressor.
Is It Durable?
Whether you’re a beginner or an accomplished decorator, you need a machine that can hold up to a learning curve. Compressors with things like moisture traps to ensure that the machine stays in top condition as well as gauges for you to understand performance and maintenance.
Make sure the dials and controls are easy to use so that you can control the airflow and the paint volume so that you always have consistent results, and you don’t damage your machine trying to make it do something it can’t.
Can You Find Replacement Parts?
One thing you need to consider is how easy it is to get replacement parts for your machine. Sourcing a used machine off eBay may seem like an affordable choice, but you may be more frustrated by not having a tool that you can replace.
Purchasing a new machine gives you the ability to order replacement parts as you need them. You can find hoses or knobs and ensure that all your accessories are compatible.
Is It Functional?
Air compressors need to evolve with your skills and abilities. You don’t need the fanciest option right now, but you may want to consider one that will grow with you.
Compressor kits that have optional tools and are compatible with multiple types of airbrushes can help you as you grow in your skill levels. You also want a compressor that’s easy to learn to use and even easier to clean.
Regular cleaning helps prevent build-up and extends the overall life of your machine. If it’s really tough to clean, you may not do it as often as you need to, stripping months or years off the life of the motor.
Is It Safe?
This seems like only a question you’d need for computers, but fail-safes for your air compressor are a must. Anything pressurized can cause issues if heat or pressure gets too great, so you need to protect yourself.
First, the compressor should have a setting to shut off automatically if the air pressure reaches over a certain PSI. Second, it should have an automatic shutoff for when the engine reaches a specific temperature.
You run the risk of your compressor exploding or catching fire without these safety features. You want to be able to get into the flow of decorating and not have your worries about the safety of your compressor get in the way.
The right airbrush kit can open up a world of decorating for you. It provides unique color coverage and the chance for intricate design work that you can’t do with icing alone. Whether you’re new to decorating or you’re adding airbrush work to your decorating toolbox, the right air compressor makes all the difference.
Our favorite kit comes with everything you need to get started right out of the box. It includes colors and two airbrush tips to ensure that whatever design you need, you’re covered. Invest in this one to practice and “brush up” on your skills, so you’re ready no matter what the occasion. And as you progress with your decorating skills, it can grow with you.