How to Airbrush Paint to Look Like Chrome

Written by carl hose
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How to Airbrush Paint to Look Like Chrome
Colour combinations help achieve an airbrushed finish that looks like chrome. (chrome abstract background image by vnlit from

Airbrush artists use a air-propelled gun to deliver paint to surfaces ranging from glass to canvas. By combining colours and proper layering, a skilled airbrush artist can create almost any look with airbrush paints. One of the trickiest looks to achieve is chrome, but by combining and building colours carefully, you can airbrush any surface to resemble a chrome finish.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Airbrush gun
  • Air compressor
  • Black paint
  • Silver paint
  • White paint

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  1. 1

    Paint a dark base coat onto the area you want to paint chrome. The base should be dark enough to bleed through the colours you brush over it. The bleed-through is an important element because it will provide the contrast needed to help replicate the shiny surface of the chrome.

  2. 2

    Layer a thin coat of white paint over the black. Don't worry about colouring over all of the black. Keep your airbrush nozzle about 6 inches from the canvas and apply the paint with a side-to-side motion, leaving most of the black paint untouched.

  3. 3

    Paint silver over the layer of black and white. Use a silver paint that has a high-gloss finish. Aim for a thorough coat of silver. Apply it evenly and over the entire black-and-white foundation. The black base will bleed through as the paint begins to dry, but not enough to overpower the silver. The effect combined with the shine of the silver will create gradation and a reflective effect.

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