How to Airbrush Paint on Plastic

Written by michael monet
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How to Airbrush Paint on Plastic
Airbrushed paint can drip and run on the wrong surface. (abstract airbrush graffiti on old metal image by GoodMood Photo from

Airbrushing is a delicate process that requires thorough preparation and a gentle hand. Most airbrushing artists choose to paint on canvas, paper or other materials that paint naturally adheres to. Others will take a chance on glass, fabric and even plastic, but special steps must be taken to ensure adherence to these materials. To airbrush on plastic, you must prepare the surface to receive the paint.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • 800-grit sandpaper
  • Plastic primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Dropper
  • Airbrush paint
  • Paint mixing palette
  • Toothpick
  • Airbrush compressor

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  1. 1

    Lay newspaper across your workspace to protect it from spilt paint.

  2. 2

    Sand the plastic surface with 800-grit sandpaper. Sand in firm, tight circles until the shine of the plastic is dulled. Plastic that is shiny and smooth will be harder to paint, and the paint may not adhere.

  3. 3

    Paint a thin layer of plastic primer on the plastic surface. Let dry for at least 15 minutes, then paint a second layer. Let the second layer dry.

  4. 4

    Drop airbrush paint onto your painting palette with a dropper and mix it with a toothpick.

  5. 5

    Load your airbrush paint into the paint bottle of your compressor. Connect the paint bottle and needle to your compressor.

  6. 6

    Turn the airbrush switch to the "ON" position.

  7. 7

    Test the spray of your airbrush on newspaper. Become familiar with the feel of the airbrush.

  8. 8

    Hold the airbrush at least 6 inches away from the plastic as you spray. Spray in long, even strokes, stopping only when necessary. Let your painting dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • Lay the object flat on your work surface to prevent drips.

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