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Thinning Acrylic Craft Paints
21 replies to this topic
Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:42 PM
Can't you thin those acrylic craft paints that you get in michaels for 50 cents so you can spray them with an airbrush?
i think people use windex to do this?
anybody have ratios for this?
Posted 12 September 2009 - 07:47 PM
You can thin it with windex or alcohol. I like the alcohol myself, it evaperates quickly helping to dry it faster. Sorry I don't really have a ratio. I thin to the consistency of milk by feel. If that makes any sense.
Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:40 PM
isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol?
i was experimenting and i found that my paints reacted weird with isopropyl alcohol. they reacted a little funny (to a lesser extent) with windex.
Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:41 PM
Yes, you can shoot thinned hobby acrylics if your airbrush has a big enough tip. I used to shoot it with a Paasche VL and a Badger 170T. If your airbrush has a small tip, it will clog with the larger pigment grains in hobby acrylics. The dried paint surface is also rougher than airbrush paint, same reason. When I got a .2mm Iwata, I went 100% with airbrush paint and I think the modest exra cost is a reasonable trade-off for better flow, finer shading, and ease of use. When I used hobby paint, I'd thin it with plain water. If you want a flow enhancer, you can mix water/90% rubbing alcohol/dash of glycerin. Lots of guys use Windex to thin it but "standard" Windex contains ammonia which is not good for airbrush metal parts.
Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:50 PM
i got the iwata HPBR so its got a .3mm tip. think this is too small to use thinned craft paints?
i'm not opposed to buying airbrush paints (probably going to go with smith wildlife colors) i just wanted to try out thinned craft paints first.
i saw a post on here (don't remember how long ago) where somebody thinned black paint with water and with windex and sprayed lines on paper, and the water lines were more splattery and the windex lines were much smoother.
Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:53 PM
I have been using a mixture that I have in a seperate bottle. I add 50% water and 50%Floetrol. You can get floetrol at any paint dept. It is an acrylic paint base that thins but wont water down color or adhesion. So when I add some paint, i add enough of this mixture to thin it how I want. If you did that with plain water, there is a chance of watering down the adhesion properties of the paint.
The mixture does seperate, but a quick shake gets it usable again.
Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:05 PM
I think you'll find some hobby acrylics shoot through a .3mm tip and others won't. Nor can you count on a new bottle of a brand/color shooting as well as the last one you used. You need to experiment on how much to thin it, but the rule of thumb is you want it about the viscosity of milk. The necessity of thinning every shot is one reason I switched to airbrush paint, which I can just squirt and shoot:)
Posted 13 September 2009 - 11:06 AM
so some people thin with water, some thin with widex, some thin with alcohol (still don't know which type) and some thin with a mixture.
if windex isn't good for my brush i will try to stay away from that.
guess i'll just have to experiment with what i use for thinning.
what i was planning on doing was thinning the whole bottle of paint at once, so that way i don't have to thin every shot.
Posted 13 September 2009 - 04:29 PM
Bob is right. I forgot to mention it will shoot best with a .3mm tip. I have also thined a whole bottle like you said. It never worked for me. I still had to thin each time I needed that color.
As far as what to thin with, I would say try them all and go with the one you like the best. I use isopropyl alcohol. It does react a little different with the paint than windex. I have never tried the Floetrol before. I may have to try that myself.
Posted 13 September 2009 - 05:09 PM
I use it and thin it with 4011 reducer made by Createx. Thats what it is made for. It not only thins it, it make all water based paints shoot a lot smoother.
Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:24 PM
thanks hughesy, i might try that out. i'll try the other household things first though.
BobP, do you have any information i can read about how ammonia can damage the airbrush?
Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:04 AM
I've never seen any scientific data on this subject.....I first heard about it many, many years ago....it seemed to be general knowledge in the airbrushing community thats been passed down thru the craft.....the general claim is that when used over time products such as Windex that contain ammonia will either "A...discolor chrome plating"...or "B...cause the chrome plating to flake off".
The folks that seemed to experience the biggest problems in that area, have usually been the folks that soaked their airbrushes in windex, and not so much the folks that use it as a reducer....but most airbrushers will advise you to keep the stuff away from your airbrush, and for sure don't soak your brushes in it.
I will say that from my own experience i've had one Paasche VL that had chrome flake off the body, back when I was airbrushing tee shirts daily and used to let the airbrush body soak in a bath of water and Windex overnite.....I also noticed that when I used Windex as a cleaner on a rag that the chrome inside the color cup would eventually rub off just from my continual wiping the inside....eventually leaving the underlying brass showing....Once I stopped using Windex as a cleaner I never had another airbrush show those same signs of loosing its chrome.....Was it the ammonia, or something else within Windex?....I dunno....But the professional airbrushers swear its the ammonia....bound to be something to it.
Posted 14 September 2009 - 07:28 AM
Amonia is the main solvent used by riflemen to clean copper and brass fouling from rifle barrels. If you were to push a patch with solvent down the barrel then follow with a clean patch you will notice a blue color on the patch which is dissolved copper. Potent stuff.
Windex uses a very weak mixture of amonia and probablly won't cause a problem IF it is rinsed properly. Since most air brushes are plated brass, the plated part it will not bother but there are places inside the brush with exposed brass and any amonia left on them will come back to haunt you.
Posted 14 September 2009 - 08:41 AM
I think you're probably right.
Now, admittedly, I'm a ham fisted painter, but here's what I've learned, so far.
All of my airbrushes have Teflon gaskets.
I used to wash my brushes with windex, and then let them sit, and they would stick the next time I used them. Then I'd have to take them apart, soak them in acetone, and backflush with acetone to get them to work again.
Now, between colors, I wipe out the extra paint with a rag or piece of paper towel, flush and backflush with windex, and then again with soap and water.
Once I'm done painting, I do windex, soapy water, and then clean water, and I'm usually fine the next time I pick up the brush.
Paint still gets back up the needle bore hole, and has to be cleaned out, but I've found, if I remove the needle, and then spray first Windex, and then soapy water into the bore from the needle locking nut end, it gets most of that paint loose enough to be removed by running the needle back and forth a few times down the bore backwards, carefully, so I don't scratch the bore.
And paint and cleaning residue still get into the finger trigger area, and that's a pain to clean.
If anyone has a neat way to clean that, without having to dismantle the entire trigger assembly, I'm all ears.
Edited by mark poulson, 14 September 2009 - 08:43 AM.
Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:28 PM
Re the ammonia "no-no", I got that from a TU post reporting that an Iwata rep said ammonia would eventually ruin an airbrush. So it's second (now third) hand info but since there are alternatives, why do it? Same for thinning paint, IMO.
Look, a lot of TUers, certainly including me, are basically airbrush hackers. We airbrush periodically as part of a hobby, not every day as a business. When a pro like Hughesy comments on airbrushing, I sit up and listen. And when somebody with extensive airbrush experience like 68KF makes an observation, I tend to believe it. Regarding thinning agents, if you want to "home brew" versus buying ready-mixed, check out some of the airbrush sites for a mixture of water/isopropyl alcohol/dish soap/glycerin. I haven't tried it but remember somebody posting it here on TU at some point (I know it can be hard to find in the multitude of "airbrush posts").
Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:52 PM
well i just tried spraying paint thinned with just water, and i was kind of dissatisfied.
i think i thinned it too much. the lines on the paper were not very dark once the water had evaporated off them.
i'm going to try thinning it with alcohol tomorrow, and thinning it a little less.
anybody have any ratios?
Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:21 AM
I try to thin it to the consistency of milk.
Try spraying light coats.
With Apple Barrel paints, and with any thicker hobby paints not specifically designed for air brushing, it's a good ides to use a brush with a bigger tip, because the pigment particles are coarser than in true air brush paints. I use a Badger 360 for that. I think it has a .05 tip. I know it sprays everything I put in the bottle, and puts a lot of paint on at one time. I have to be careful not to put too much on, or it will run and sag.
More, lighter coats are the best advice I can give you.
Posted 16 September 2009 - 12:44 PM
I have used Windex to clean my Iwatas out for years and can't tell that it has done any damage to them whatsoever. I generally clean between colors with just water but every third color change or so I run some windex through it to get things working good again and generally use it as a final cleaner before putting the brush away for the day. If Windex is bad for the brush it will take a very long time to do any damage and literally thousand upon thousands of lures.
Posted 16 September 2009 - 08:08 PM
this isn't working so great.
thinning is a pain and i'm never sure if i have thinned enough or too much, and i noticed earlier the paints weren's spraying smoothly, the spray would kind of cut in and out.
i think i'm just gonna buy airbrush paints and save myself the headache.