How to Make a Homemade Airbrush

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Graffiti artists use an airbrush to paint their designs.
Graffiti artists use an airbrush to paint their designs. (Image: fun graffiti on the wall image by Antalia from Fotolia.com)

An airbrush is a small device operated by air used to spray ink, dye, paint to create artwork. Air brushing techniques are used to paint surfaces such as fingernails, motorcycles, t-shirts and various other items. An airbrush generally consists of a small air tool connected to an air compressor and a reservoir that can be filled with paint and other media. Though airbrush kits are sold, they can be costly. However, you can create your own airbrush following a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • X-Acto knife
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Glue
  • 35-millimeter film canister
  • Saw
  • 2 Metal straws
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Small rubber tubing

Empty the spray bottle of its contents.

Remove the top of the spray bottle and cut off the nozzle with the X-Acto knife at the point where it connects with the piping.

Use the scissors to cut off approximately 2 inches off the bottom of the tubing inside the bottle. Do not discard the piece.

Use a drill bit of about the same size as the tubing. Drill a hole into the side of the nozzle. Insert the 2-inch piece of tubing into the hole and use glue to secure it.

Use a drill bit of the same size as the metal straws to drill two holes into the bottom side of the film canister.

Cut one of the metal straws to a 6-inch length. Use the saw to cut a 2-inch piece of the other straw.

Insert the longer straw into the canister as high as possible while the cap is still on the canister. Glue the straw into the hole to secure it. This straw will serve as the air intake.

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Insert the smaller metal straw into the other hole so approximately one inch of the straw is inside the canister. Secure the straw with glue.

Cut off the tip as well as the back end of the marker with the X-Acto knife.

Drill a hole at each end of the marker at a 45-degree angle towards the bottom of the canister. Drill a third hole at the center of the marker.

Glue the canister to the center of the marker. Position the canister on the opposite side of the center hole in the marker.

Cut three pieces of plastic tubing between one to two inches in length.

Insert the first piece of plastic tubing from the top of the marker and into the center hole to serve as the paint intake. Attach the end of the straw coming through the center hole in the marker to the smaller metal straw. Glue the connection together, while making sure not to block the pipe or the straw.

Attach the unoccupied end of the first piece of tubing to the nozzle.

Connect one of the ends of the second piece of tubing with the 2-inch piece of tubing coming out of the nozzle. Pass this piece of tubing through the hole at the top of the marker and push it out of the marker so it hangs out of the bottom.

Connect the third piece of tubing to the unoccupied metal straw and pass the other side of the tubing through the hole at the bottom of the marker and push it out of the bottom of the marker.

Use the airbrush by filling the canister with paint. Do not fill it higher than the air intake straw. Blow through the second and third pieces of tubing to paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a thicker marker for better results.
  • Use thin media in the air brush to allow them to flow through the airbrush without difficulty.
  • Tape the second and third tube together with a small piece of tape so you can blow into them at once.

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