How to Airbrush Shirts?

Airbrushing shirts is a creative process that involves using an airbrush to apply designs and colors to the fabric. As a beginner interested in airbrushing T-shirts, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the necessary equipment and techniques to create your designs effectively. Here's a comprehensive guide based on the provided sources.

Prepare Equipment for Airbrushing T-Shirts

If you are a beginner who is new to airbrushing and you want to use an airbrush T-shirt, you can refer to our recommendations to purchase related products.

Airbrush Paint Starter Kit

Type of Airbrush: The siphon feed airbrush is commonly used for T-shirts because it handles the higher viscosity of textile paints well and has a larger paint capacity, which is useful when working on T-shirts or other large fabric surfaces. This means refilling the paint less frequently, saving time and effort during the painting process.

Siphon-fed airbrushes are easier to clean and maintain, ideal for beginners new to airbrushing. They're also more affordable, making them a cost-effective option for those starting out.

Airbrush gun set Fengda BD-182K with 0,3-0,5-0,8 mm nozzle

Airbrush Holder: Provides a secure place to set your airbrush when not in use.

Compressor: A compressor capable of providing 40 to 60 PSI working pressure is needed. For occasional use, a compressor marketed for airbrushing should suffice. If you plan on doing a lot of T-shirts, a commercial type compressor from a hardware store is recommended.

Fengda Airbrush mini compressor with air tank AS-186(FD-186)

Hose: Ensure you buy the correct hose for the airbrush you purchase, as different brands may use different sizes. You can choose airbrush set with hose in our store so that you don't need to worry about hose sizes.

Paints and Mediums

Textile Paints: Use airbrush paint made specifically for T-shirts, which requires heat setting after application. As a professional airbrush manufacturer, we recommend spraying T-shirts with acrylic paint, which is a paint specifically designed for textiles. It adheres well to fabric and is very durable after heating set, which helps the T-shirt withstand laundering after airbrushing.

Timbertech Acrylic Paint Ⅱ-12 Colors(30ML)

For those just starting out or on a budget, even relatively inexpensive acrylic paints can be used as long as they are properly diluted to the correct consistency for the airbrush and heat treated after application to solidify the paint.

Heat Setting: This can be done using a heat press or a household iron. For a heat press, the common setting is 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds. For an iron, use a temperature of at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and iron over parchment paper or the reverse side of the T-shirt.

Additional Tools

T-Shirt Board: Provides a flat, wrinkle-free surface to paint on. Can be made from foam core board, cardboard, or hardboard. Cut the board about one inch larger than the T-shirt you will be airbrushing.

Stencils: Can be made using contact paper and a razor blade to cut out the design.

A Step-by-Step for Beginners to Airbrush T Shirts

Step 1: Assembling the Airbrush Gun Set and Compressor

Before using the airbrush, assemble the components of the airbrush gun set, including attaching the airbrush gun to the hose and connecting it to the compressor. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper assembly.

Step 2: Preparing the Shirt

Stretch the T-shirt over the board and secure it tightly to create a smooth surface for painting.

Step 3: Applying Paint

Hold the airbrush gun at a distance of 6 inches from the shirt for a softer appearance, or 4 inches for a bolder look. If using a single-action airbrush gun, press down on the trigger for paint flow. For a double-action airbrush gun, press down for airflow and pull back for paint release.

Move your hand steadily to maintain a consistent distance and avoid paint buildup.

Overlap each pass slightly to ensure even coverage and prevent gaps.

Before airbrushing onto the shirt, practice different fonts and freehand elements on paper or a similar surface.

Step 4: Heat Setting

Allow the paint to dry for at least 30 minutes before heat setting.

To heat set, place parchment paper over the design and iron the reverse side of the shirt on a medium heat setting for 2-3 minutes. Never apply direct heat to the design as it may cause smudging or fading.

Heat setting helps to fix the paint onto the fabric, making it more durable and resistant to washing.

Step 5: Post-Painting Care

Wash the T-shirt inside out with cold water to help preserve the paint.

Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they may cause the paint to fade or wash out prematurely.

Step 6: Tips for Success

Practice airbrushing on paper or similar material to become familiar with the airbrush gun and its controls.

When building up layers of paint, do so gradually to ensure the paint adheres well to the fabric without creating clumps or runs.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Shirt Airbrushed by Airbrush Artist?

The cost of getting a shirt airbrushed can vary depending on several factors such as the complexity of the design, the size of the shirt, and the skill level of the artist. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 for a basic design on a standard-sized T-shirt.

However, prices can go up for larger shirts, more intricate designs, or if you're commissioning a custom piece from a highly skilled artist. It's always a good idea to inquire with the airbrush artist beforehand to get an accurate quote based on your specific requirements.

    How Much Do Airbrush Shirts Cost if You Do It by Yourselves?

    If you're airbrushing shirts yourself, the cost will primarily depend on the materials you use. Here's a rough breakdown:

    1. Airbrush Kit: The initial investment for an airbrush kit can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the quality and features of the equipment you choose.
    2. Fabric Paint or Airbrush Colors: Prices for fabric paint or airbrush colors vary, but you can typically expect to spend around $5 to $20 per bottle, depending on the brand and size.
    3. T-shirts: You can purchase plain T-shirts for around $5 to $20 each, depending on the quality and brand.
    4. Additional Materials: You may need to budget for other materials such as masking tape, stencils, fabric medium (if using acrylic paint), and cleaning supplies.

        Airbrush set Fengda AS-06K mini compressor AS-06 and Airbrush Spray tanning gun

        The cost of airbrushing shirts yourself can vary depending on the quality of materials you choose and how many shirts you plan to make. However, once you have the initial equipment, the ongoing cost per shirt will mainly be for paint and the shirt itself, making it a relatively affordable option for creating custom designs.

        You can successfully craft personalized airbrushed T-shirts by assembling the necessary tools and honing the skills described above. Remember to proceed at your own pace, and refine your craft through practice. Practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid of trying designs and color combinations without hesitation, you will airbrush your ideal T-shirt one day!