Cake airbrushing is one technique you can use to take your baking to the next level. Airbrushes are ideal for adding designs, patterns, and special effects to cakes, gum paste, sugar paste, fondant, piping, icing, and isomalt. Airbrushing helps you create astounding imaginative decoration details. The airbrushed color is applied to the icing that is already on the cake, rather than being mixed into the icing and being applied.
Airbrushing lets you work with precision. It is a neat application, unlike filling and using traditional icing tubes. Edible airbrush paints are available for purchase in bottles in a variety of colors, which alleviates mixing food coloring. Fill the airbrush cup with the desired edible paint color and begin to create!
Airbrushes and edible paints and airbrush kits are perfect for beginners and experienced bakers and pastry chefs alike. They are easy to use to color, blend, or shade broad areas of icing and fondant, write a script, be used with stencils, or add accents and intricately detailed patterns and designs. With imagination and practice, even the novice baker can create amazing edible creations in no time!
Best Cake Decorating Airbrush Kits Available Today
The Master Airbrush G23-22 is a standard 4-color cake decorating airbrush kit, which is suitable for professional bakeries as well as home bakers and decorators. The kit includes a Model G23 Master-brand, dual-action, multi-purpose, high-performance airbrush with a one-third ounce gravity-fluid cup, a portable mini 110v. AC airbrush compressor, air hose, and four bottles of Chefmaster airbrush food colors.
Chefmaster Airbrush Food Colors
Chefmaster products have been the premium choice of master cake decorators for more than 50 years. The edible, spray-on Chefmaster airbrush food coloring colors are well-suited for any level of a cake decorator, beginner to master. A How-To Airbrush Book, exclusively published by TCP Global, is included.
Master Airbrush G23-22 kit has everything you need. The high-performance airbrush has a one-third ounce gravity-fluid cup to hold any of the four Chefmaster airbrush food colors that come with the kit. Each 0.7 fl. oz. bottle of Chefmaster airbrush food color (Hawaiian Blue, Super Red, Canary Yellow, and Midnight Black) is certified Kosher, and made in the USA with premium FDA-approved ingredients.
The high-quality airbrush has a 0.3mm needle. The airbrush nozzle can spray as little as a delicate hairline up to 1½”-wide patterns. The mini 110v. AC airbrush compressor comes with a plug-in adapter, a 6′ braided air hose, quick disconnect, and air flow adjustment valve. This 12v. DC air compressor is lightweight and quiet. Air delivery is 10 litres/per min. at 18 PSI.
The Master Airbrush SP1-20 is a powerful cake decorating airbrush kit that includes a Model G34 dual-action trigger control airbrush, a Model G91 single-action siphon fed, external mix airbrush, a portable, lightweight, tankless, 110v. AC/120 v. DC air compressor (w/carrying handle), air hoses, and twelve bottles of Chefmaster airbrush food colors.
Master Airbrush SP1-20 kit has everything you need. The edible, spray-on Chefmaster airbrush food coloring colors are concentrated, true colors that are well-suited bakeries as well as home kitchens. A How-To Airbrush Book, exclusively published by TCP Global, is included.
The Model G34 airbrush has a 1/16 oz. angled gravity cup that allows for work on horizontal surfaces. The Model E91 airbrush has two ¾” siphon bottles. Both models hold any of the twelve Chefmaster airbrush food colors that come with the kit. Each 0.7 fl. oz. bottle of Chefmaster airbrush food color (Hawaiian Blue, Sunset Orange, Super Red, Canary Yellow, Spring Green, Royal Blue, Violet, Deep Pink, Harvest Brown, Midnight Black, and Metallic Gold, and Metallic Silver) is certified Kosher, and made in the USA with premium FDA-approved ingredients.
The high-quality Model G34 airbrush has a 0.3mm needle. The external-mix Model E91 airbrush has a 0.8mm needle.
Powerful Air Compressor
The Master Airbrush TC-20 is a powerful, portable maintenance-free, high performance air compressor that includes an automatic on/off shutoff, air regulator w/gauge, and water trap filter. The 1/5 hp motor delivers high-volume air at 0.7 CF/min.
Master Airbrush offers a Full 1-Yr. Warranty on the Model G34 Dual-Action Airbrush, the Model E91 Siphon Feed Airbrush, and the TC-20 Air Compressor.
The US Cake Supply – Complete Cake Decorating Airbrush Kit is a 12-color cake decorating airbrush kit, which is suitable for adults and young bakers, experienced decorators and beginners. The kit includes a professional, single-action, precision airbrush, a professional mini 110v. AC airbrush compressor, air hose, airbrush holder, and twelve bottles of US Cake Supply airbrush food colors.
US Cake Supply provides twelve brilliant, edible, spray-on airbrush food coloring colors and coloring chart guide to help you choose and mix. A detailed User Guide manual that includes airbrushing designs, tips, and techniques is included. In no time you will learn to master using the airbrush and perfect your application skills.
This US Cake Supply kit has everything you need. The single-action, gravity fed airbrush has a 1/16 ounce gravity-fluid cup to hold any of the twelve US Cake Supply airbrush food colors that come with the kit. Each 0.7 fl. oz. bottle of edible food color (Hawaiian Blue, Sunset Orange, Super Red, Canary Yellow, Spring Green, Royal Blue, Violet, Deep Pink, Harvest Brown, Midnight Black, and Metallic Gold, and Metallic Silver) is certified Kosher, and made in the USA with premium FDA-approved ingredients.
Three Air Flow Settings
The mini 110v. AC airbrush compressor comes with a plug-in adapter, a 6′ rubberized air hose, and triple airflow control setting (low, medium, high) adjustment valve. The 12v. DC air compressor is lightweight and quiet. Maximum air delivery is 13 litres/per min. at 15 PSI.
The high-quality airbrush has a 0.4mm needle.
US Cake Supply offers a 100% Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee. You may return your airbrush cake decoration kit any time for a full refund if you are not satisfied with it at any time.
The Cake Boss Decorating Tools Airbrushing Kit is a portable, professional, mini cake decorating airbrush kit, which includes a precision chrome-plated airbrush, compact 110v. AC airbrush compressor with socket adapter and three adjustable air setting levels, and air hose. It is well-suited for beginners as well as professional/experienced cake decorators. The kit also includes a rubber hose, plastic dropper to transfer colors from bottles or mixing containers into the airbrush cup, special nozzle wrench and cleaning tool, and Cake Boss instruction book. A plastic airbrush storage case is also included.
Three Airflow Settings
The sturdy, compact 110v. AC, 9w. power airbrush compressor comes with a 50Hz/60Hz plug-in adapter, rubberized air hose, plastic dropper, nozzle wrench, and triple airflow control setting (low, medium, high) adjustment valve. The 12v. DC air compressor is lightweight and quiet. Maximum air delivery is at 18 PSI.
The red Cake Boss decorating airbrush kit compressor is UL listed. Cake Boss offers a 1-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty. Cake Boss also offers a Quality Assurance Guarantee ensuring this cake airbrush kit is perfectly compatible with other Cake Boss Bakeware and decorating equipment and supplies such as its fondant rollers, impression mats, etc.
The Kopykake Airmaster Airbrush Set is a portable, high-volume professional cake decorating airbrush kit, which includes a well-balanced, 1/16 oz. gravity-fed, precision chrome-plated airbrush. The designed crown cap reduces clogging and uncontrollable overspray. The set has a compact 110v. AC airbrush compressor with a bleed control valve that allows you to adjust to your desired airflow, from light for fine lines and delicate work to heavy for broader overall coverage. It is well-suited for large-scale, professional/experienced cake decorators.
High Volume Decorating Set
The sturdy, clean, piston-type, constant airflow compressor is fully-enclosed, quiet, and maintenance-free. It comes with a 6’ rubberized air hose, and nozzle wrench. It has a built-in air accumulator tank to eliminate pulsation as well as an adjustable air pressure valve. Maximum air delivery is at 30 PSI.
There are a variety of types and styles of cake decorating airbrushes from which to choose. If you are a beginner cake decorator, you may elect to research one of the cake decorating airbrush kits that pairs a sufficiently powered air compressor with a single- or dual-action airbrush gun. Many kits also include a variety of FDA-approved edible colors. We suggest not getting the “cadillac of airbrushes” immediately. Learn the basics on a simple kit. Most beginners’ problems involve learning application control and consistency, and how to thoroughly clean the airbrush to prevent clogging, rather than having purchased a poor product.
If you are only interested in a good cake decorating airbrush (not a kit) and are just starting, you may choose a simple single action, gravity fed airbrush. They allow you to go slower and learn the capabilities of the equipment. As you get comfortable with the process, you may switch to a gravity fed, dual action, internal mix airbrush. There are many fine ones on the market.
As you expand your skill and expertise and do more decorating, you may choose to use one airbrush per color, or one bottle per color setup. A siphon fed airbrush will help speed up your production.
Airbrush Operations – Types
Airbrushes and their air-paint mix operation may be external or internal. The way the paint mixes with the airflow determines the way the spray appears when hits the surface.
Internal mix airbrushes blend the air and paint inside the airbrush tip, and then it (the paint) is discharged. This type generally produces a more even and consistent spray.
External mix airbrushes allow you to control the paint volume with the small knob on the airbrush gun. Air and paint are blended after they exit the tip of the airbrush. This type is better for small-area coverage, not for detail.
Airbrush Operations – Action
The airbrush trigger is used to control the airbrush air-paint functions that affect the spray pattern. Single action airbrush and dual action airbrush triggers operate a bit differently.
Single Action Airbrushes
A simple single action airbrush operates like a can of spray paint, except it allows you to adjust the air pressure (coverage) and the amount of paint that is applied. Pushing down on the trigger releases paint and air simultaneously. Just release the trigger to stop the paint flow. A separate volume control knob regulates the amount of paint that is applied when the trigger is pressed. Turn the knob clockwise to decrease (thin) the paint flow. Turn it counter clockwise to increase (thicken) the paint flow. Stopping to adjust the paint flow slows down the painting process.
The spray pattern is always determined by how far away from the cake/paint surface you spray. The closer you spray, the smaller the spray pattern will be. Similarly, the further away from the cake/paint surface you spray, the larger the area or spray pattern will be.
Dual Action Airbrushes
Dual action airbrushes allow non-stop painting because there is no need to stop to adjust the paint flow. The amount of air is controlled at the compressor by its airflow setting. Pushing down on the trigger gives you air. Pulling back on the trigger releases the paint. How thick an application of color you spray depends on how far back you pull the trigger. Dual action airbrushes generally give you more control over the painting process.
Dual action airbrushes are ideal for project with varied spray widths and color volumes or layers. The spray pattern is always determined by how far away from the cake/paint surface you spray. The closer you spray, the smaller the spray pattern will be. Similarly, the further away from the cake/paint surface you spray, the larger the area or spray pattern will be.
Regardless if your airbrush is single action or dual action, it will be one of three airbrush styles:
- Gravity Fed airbrushes require the least amount of air pressure to operate. They operate more slowly allowing you to paint detailed cake patterns. They consistently. The color is placed in the small bowl on top of the airbrush gun. When you pull the trigger, gravity draws the paint into the airflow, which forces the paint into the needle and out the tip. Nozzle sizes range from 0.10mm to 0.35 mm.
- Siphon Fed airbrushes increase efficiency. They require less air than gravity fed airbrushes. They increase production by allowing you to spray more at one time. Siphon fed airbrushes also allow you to conveniently use a variety of different size color cups and bottles and to change colors quickly. Nozzle sizes range from 0.1mm to 0.5mm.
- Side Fed airbrushes have the color cup attached to the side. It combines the gravity fed and siphon fed airbrush capabilities depending if the color is above or below the nozzle. The 3600 rotating cup allows you to work at any angle including upside down. Nozzle sizes range from 0.10mm to 0.35mm.
Edible Airbrush Colors
Airbrush edible colors must be a consistency that easily passes through the gun without clogging, but retains its body when it is sprayed onto the cake surface. There is a wide variety of colors from black and white to vivid primary, seasonal, and rainbow to metallic and pearl types. The pearl and metallic colors add an iridescence to butter cream icing and fondant cakes. Adding opaque white to colors creates pastel shades. It can also hide decorating, spraying, or script errors!
Edible airbrush colors are concentrated and must be FDA-approved. They are also typically made with Kosher approved ingredients. Many cake decorating airbrush kits include a variety of bottles (typ.: 0.7 fl.oz.). They are intended to be sprayed onto cakes, pastries, gum paste, sugarpaste, icing, fondant, isomalt, etc.
Cake Decorating Airbrush Techniques & Technologies
Airbrush systems allow you to paint and decorate on cakes and fondant. Using different angles, air pressure, and color volume you can beautifully add accents, layers, shading and pastels that are very difficult and cannot attractively be hand-painted. Detailing requires a long, narrow-point needle.
Airbrush spray guns are equally effective for coverage. The larger the spray area, the easier it is to blend and cover the cake. It takes practice and patience, but to achieve a smooth consistent coverage, your goal is to cover in as few passes as possible. On the other hand, you do not want to overspray.
Airbrushing is one tool that may be used to create a variety of decorations. Silhouettes, stencils, and motifs such as lace, leaves, patterns, etc. are created simply and expertly using an airbrush tool. Detailed features such as stems, dew drops, curls, script, etc. can also be airbrushed to enhance the previously stenciled or created main design. Airbrush stenciling cookies, for example, will have a clean, non-blurred pattern if the stencil is put close to the cookie so the airbrush color cannot blow under the stencil.
How to Airbrush Cakes and Pastries
- Cover your surface to protect it from airbrush color overspray, mixing spills, etc.
- Clean your airbrush before beginning. Put some warm water in the paint cup (color well). Spray out the water. Repeat until the spray is clear.
- Spray with air only to dry out the inside of the airbrush.
- Only use FDA-approved, edible, food safe colors.
- Hold the airbrush nozzle 6” to 8” from the cake’s surface. Holding it too close causes the pressurized air to pock-mark the cake. Holding it too far away causes the airbrush color to spray everywhere it shouldn’t!
- Hold the airbrush nozzle at a 45° angle to obtain soft, wide lines and passes. A 90° angle produces a sharper, more defined line.
- Spray the color, and then re-spray to darken it.
- Clean the pipes and needle using a squeeze bottle of hot water between colors so they do not become muddy or splatter during its next use.
Mediums and Special Airbrush Effects
Airbrushing is ideal for decorating fondant cakes, icing, and other design elements. Imprint a pattern directly onto fondant and airbrush it for texture, detail and depth. Stencils are easy, reusable, and add style.
Isomalt is a sugar substitute that can be heated and molded into various shapes (i.e.: geometric shapes, flowers, ribbons, etc.) to create edible artistic works. Airbrush highlights, accentuate features and add dimension.
Airbrush decorations can be enhanced with other elements such as borders, buttercream accents, and inscriptions. Edible markers allow you to write or draw directly onto fondant cakes. Edible images may be made with edible printer icing sheets, ink, and a compatible printer and attached to your iced cake. Rice paper continues to be popular for flowers, feathers, ribbons, etc. Airbrush pastel petal tips, shadows, or wet-look reflections on the images to add depth and realistic magic.
How to Buy a Cake Decorating Airbrush Kit
Airbrush cake decorating requires purchasing three primary elements:
- Edible food colors
You should know the difference between single action and double action cake decorating airbrush guns. Single action airbrush guns are best-suited for beginners. The double action airbrush guns allow dual simultaneous control of coverage and color. Simplified,
- Single action airbrush guns are simple, operate similar to a can of spray paint, operate slower, and are the easiest to learn with. They work by pulling a trigger that engages pressure that blows out the edible food color spray. The more you pull back on the trigger button, the more paint color is released/sprayed.
- The double action airbrush gun allows you to increase production by controlling the air and spray coverage as well as the volume of color that is released. You can control two operations at once. Double action airbrushes are typically for more advanced cake decorators.
A basic airbrush kit includes an air compressor and compatible single or double action airbrush. Some deluxe kits include FDA-approved, Kosher ingredient edible food coloring paints. These kits typically include a mini, portable 110v. air compressor model that puts out 15-20 PSI.
A more deluxe cake decorating airbrush model may include a single action airbrush (or dual action airbrush) but the air compressor has more complex features including a knob to adjust the air flow. Typically these air compressor upgrades have a three-speed adjustment (low, medium, and high). This adjustment allows you to control how strong the spray is and color will be applied to the cake. Similarly, the low setting allows you to work with a softer air flow to more easily complete detail work.
Airbrush kits that include a dual action airbrush typically have a more upgraded air compressor. The dual action trigger releases the color and also releases the air. To truly obtain non-stop convenience, a deluxe air compressor will regulate the air flow, cycling on and off to maintain pressure as you continue your work. A maintenance-free compressor may also have a moisture trap that will alleviate any moisture build-up in the air hose line.
Edible food color paints should be no less than FDA-approved. Many kits include several bottles of colors. Any color paints used in the cake decorating airbrush must be fluid enough so it does not clog the airbrush gun. To avoid voiding any warranty, it is suggested to follow the airbrush manufacturer’s food color paint brand recommendation.
There is a wide variety of cake decorating airbrushes and air compressors from which to choose. The items are sold separately as well as in kit form. Kits can range from $60 to $300 or more. Airbrushes may be simple or dual action. Air compressors may be mini, portable models or deluxe, maintenance-free with adjustable settings. Many kits also include FDA-approved, Kosher ingredient, edible food color paints.
Selecting an airbrush or kit that matches your skill level, style, and a project is important to your satisfaction and culinary success. Some cake decorators will choose the least expensive airbrush and upgrade later. Others will immediately choose a deluxe air compressor and dual action airbrush and grow into it as their experience, expertise, and skills improve. Regardless of your decision and budget, it is important to choose the product that feels right to you, that is easy to use, and creates the results you envision.