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Home > Cookie Decorating Tutorials > How to Use an Airbrush

How to Use an Airbrush

The content on this page was created by Lisa Snyder and is used by permission. Check out her blog at

I wrote a post a while back about Airbrush 101 but, I wanted to do a post on how to use an airbrush gun. When I bought mine, the first thing I did was take it out of the box and grab the instructions only to find, the instructions seemed to be missing. I wanted to share some of information on a presentation I did at CookieCon on how to use an airbrush gun.

This is “Wendy” my airbrush gun. I like using her on cookies but, I try not to use it too much on the blog because everyone doesn’t have one. If you are planning on purchasing one in the future, you can get it here. I will try to answer the questions my friends and I had when we got ours.

I said earlier that the instructions were missing but they weren’t. Here are the instructions I got with my system. To me, it is more about building a gun than operating it. I seriously don’t need to know all the inside parts but, wanted to know more about the basics.

Here are the parts to your airbrush gun.
  1. Attach the power cord to the mini compressor and plug it into an outlet.
  2. Connect the gun holster to the mini compressor.
  3. Connect the short hose to the mini compressor.
  4. Connect the other end of the short hose into the filter.
  5. Attach the filter to one end of the long hose.
  6. Connect the other end of the long hose to the airbrush gun.
It makes me want to sing the song, “My toe bone’s connected to my ankle bone, my ankle’s bone’s connected to My knee bone, my knee bone’s connected to my hip bone….” I will try to resist so that song doesn’t get stuck in your head. Hehehe

A few things you need to keep in mind, don’t change speeds quickly. You need to go slow because the instructions say so. And Don’t run it for over 20 minutes straight because the instructions say so. ;)

Now, here is the gun. The gun has a trigger, a needle that is protected by the needle cap, a hose connector, and a cup. It also has a lot of technical stuff on the inside but, they give you those instructions when you buy the gun. I am keeping it simple remember.

Now for the colors. You have to use special “Airbrush Colors” for an airbrush gun. If not, you will mess up the airbrush gun. I get mine here. You can also get Electric, Sheen, and Pearl Sheen colors. I don’t have the Sheen kit yet but hopefully someday soon I will get them.

Add a drop at a time to your cup. I love these bottles because it is easy to control how much you add. You only need a drop to airbrush a several cookies.

Also, if you are going to airbrush with several colors, you will save some cleaning time by using light colors to darker colors. I personally clean in between each color so my colors are true. I do a quick clean like I did here.

Once you are “Locked and Loaded” ( have your hosed attached and your drop of color) you are ready to begin. This airbrush has 3 speeds, high, medium and low. The speed will determine how fast the air comes out of the tip of the gun. 90% of the time I use low because I like outlining an individual area on my cookie. I also LOVE SPEED so the other 10% I am wide open on high. You should pick the speed that is best for your project.

I know before I have mentioned on this blog that I am a messy person. I have drug that hose through many a cookie and destroyed them! I now make myself an airbrush gun hose bracelet by wrapping the hose around my wrist a couple of times. Since I have started doing this, no more destroyed cookies.

The trigger is a crucial part in how fast the flow of the air and color hits your cookie. As you can see, the trigger can move quite a bit and controls how much air is forced out of the gun. The more you pull the trigger, the faster the spray of color will come out. I recommend you practice on a piece of parchment paper to see how fast you want to go and get the feel of the flow.

The last question I feel like you would ask is how close do you hold the gun to the cookie. Well, that depends on how thick you want your line. The closer you hold the gun to the cookie, the smaller the spray. The farther away, the wider the sprayed area.

For detailed spraying you would hold the gun pretty close to your cookie and get a defined dark line. To get a larger area covered, you would hold the gun farther away and get a lighter spray that covers a wider area of the cookie.

I think that about covers it except for the cleaning. I will show you how to clean and do a little troubleshooting if your gun doesn’t spray correctly here.

The content on this page was created by Lisa Snyder and is used by permission. Check out her blog at

For a video on maintaining, troubleshooting, and cleaning the needle and trigger, click here.

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