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Old 10-13-2016, 11:10 AM
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fedetony fedetony is offline
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Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Hi there I'm refurbishing and old post for you to have some info in how to mix paints for airbrush use. This comes from personal experience, so please feel free to use under your own risk.

Paint consistency must be mixed to achieve the correct proportion that depends on the surface you are using:
-For high absorbent surfaces as paper the Airbrush acrylics are quite liquid and are absorbed fast. It seems to me commercial Airbrush inks acrylics have the pigments in smaller grain as the normal paints. Are the same pigments as the tube acrylics, but far more processed before mixing into a solution, so they are easier mixed with water. When you thin them in water you can use them as watercolor over paper. The proportion is 1 to 3 (but depends the color) Darker colors may take 1 to 4. And of course you can use the amount you need as measure. Thining with water is ok, because the pigment will be retained in the surface and the water absorbed and evaporated.

-For canvas or non absorbent surfaces the mixing is different, since water is not absorbed, the medium must contain something that bonds it to the surface when is applied. The solution is to use a combination of substances to make the paint thin enough, but still sticky to the surface. I make a combination of Acrylic Retarder, Acrylic medium (Matt , Neutral, or Gloss under preference), water and the normal Acrylic paint.

I normally use for the mixtures Schmincke Products because they are easily found in Germany and are really good quality, but liquitex, createx and others have similar products. Regarding Water, I use water from the bottle, drinking one, but not tab, in Germany contains a lot of calcium and minerals.
Normally I use this products for the mixture:
50553 Acryl Fluid-Medium, seidenmatt
50556 Acryl Retarder
Normal from tube opaque Acrylics (W&N mainly)

Yes the Fluid medium is milky and white, but will not dry that color. Dries pure transparent and gives the end look.

So now the proportion comes according to color and what are you using it for:
For normal opaque Airbrush use, I make a proportion of:
3 ml Acrylic color, 2 ml retarder, 5 ml fluid medium and I start with 8 ml Water but depending on how opaque and color and amount of layers I want to apply I'll add more water. I start with a lower amount because you can always add more if needed, but not take it out.
For backgrounds, I want thicker paint so I use only 8 ml Water in the mixture.
For second coats, 10-12ml H2O.
For Glazing 15-20ml H2O.

I actually add H2O until I get the consistency I need because it depends on the color. I don't add it to my airbrush before being sure of the consistency, so I test it with a brush and a piece of paper. Dark colors are quite rich even with a lot of thinning, these are easy to measure and mix and to pass through the Airbrush. Colors as white may be problematic, yet a couple of tries makes the mixture in the correct consistency.

I mix them inside syringes, where I add the substances with enough precision. I use some washers inside so when I Shake them the Paint mixes. I use 2 or 3 of them, these do not rust (very important) and are flat allowing the paint go out fully.
Here the materials:

Here is a mixture example:

I shake them for a while and then I use the needles to pass through the mixture. Because I use them for Airbrush, then if it passes without issue through the needle, it will pass without issue through the nozzle ..
Here After mixing:


Actually after mixing them like this paints can be stored for months and be reused... You will see when the paint decants after weeks. I always mix new ones to airbrush because else it forms grooms and clogs it, but the rest of the paint I can use it for retouching, or the brush, etc... I have residues from many paintings I use for backgrounds or small stuff... Just keep reusing until the last drop, I've thrown so far only tubes of green which is a problematic color..
Here the needles:


Here my Normal Mess, reds and oranges I have them for months now:


Needles need to be clean else they will clog as the acrylic dries. Use caps to hold the paints and leave no air while storing. I have always a water syringe which I use to flush the needles.

Also its really nice when you have mixes because you can always make the same tone by mixing same quantities. For example the cute snake painting I mixed 7ml cerulean blue and 3 ml naples yellow several times and as I need it... I mark the proportions in a tape for later remixing.
Here how to mix:



After shaking Ready to use :


Using this way of mixing paints and colors you can always replicate the same color without failure. All these comes from my experience and by experimenting, use it under your own risk...
I hope it was useful and have fun
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:30 PM
jonc50 jonc50 is offline
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Good info!
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:14 AM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

thanks Jon, I'm glad its useful...
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:39 PM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

This is GREAT. I've been pondering how to store paint when I'm not using the guns. You have solved the issue and for that I thank you!
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:38 PM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

very cool. where you get the syringes?
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Old 12-04-2016, 01:07 PM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

you are welcome horse...
hi jocko, in a pharmacy... they sell the box for 10Ä and comes with 200 pieces..

Last edited by fedetony : 12-04-2016 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:15 PM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

thanks
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:52 AM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

This is useful to get the proportions of paint for mixing:
https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_abmedium and if you use golden medium instead of Schminke
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:25 AM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Thanks for all this great info, and a question I would never have known to ask.
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:23 AM
niglo99 niglo99 is offline
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Very nice feature.
An alternative to the syringes are the little plastic bottles used for the liquid used in e cigarettes - you can find them empty on a popular on-line auction site! Pull the nozzle off with pliers, rinse out, peel off the labels (Panel Wipe, the solvent automotive sprayers use as a final degreaser, gets rid of any residual sticky), pop in a 4 or 5mm stainless steel ball bearing, and you have a small DIY equivalent of the containers used by Createx et al).
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:57 AM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Quote:
Originally Posted by niglo99
Very nice feature.
An alternative to the syringes are the little plastic bottles used for the liquid used in e cigarettes - you can find them empty on a popular on-line auction site! Pull the nozzle off with pliers, rinse out, peel off the labels (Panel Wipe, the solvent automotive sprayers use as a final degreaser, gets rid of any residual sticky), pop in a 4 or 5mm stainless steel ball bearing, and you have a small DIY equivalent of the containers used by Createx et al).
Yet there are couple of advantages still from syringes:
- Super easy to find in any drugstore, and with 15 bucks you get a pack of 200 pieces of 20 ml, plus needles, plus caps.
- They come completely sterile, no need to clean
- You can measure amounts in the syringe precisely.
- You can take out the air so the paint will stay fluid forever.
- You can control the outflow and viscosity by the use of needles.
- You see clearly the color.
...etc..
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Old 08-18-2018, 05:44 AM
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Re: Mixing Acrylic for airbrush use

Fedetony,

I have a question about how you are actually mixing your colors if you donít mind. I love your syringe idea and Iím definitely going to employ this idea, but the mixing has me a little confused.

Do you mix your colors on a pallet to get them right before you put them into the syringe or do you mix the straight in the syringe? For strong colors say a pthalo blue or green where a pinprick can drastically change your color how do you handle that?

I am getting ready to do a piece where there are a lot of very subtle color changes and color differences that is going to require quite a bit of color mixes that donít change a whole lot, and Iím not sure how to control the mixes just yet.
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