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total newb here ....advice on airbrushing please - home improvement project

Discussion in 'Beginners help' started by saltysandman, Sep 13, 2020.


  1. saltysandman

    saltysandman Young Tutorling

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    hi all,

    i do have a couple hours of experience back in the 80's airbrushing some f-14's but remember very little these days and much less on airbrushing. i'm doing some home improvement projects and i paid a helluva a lot of $$ to have a painter come and re-stain my wooden handrails. now i want to paint the black iron spindles on the handrails. silver, nickel, or gunmetal would be a great upgrade in color. thought of spray paint from a can but i got bogged down with all the prep (sanding, primer, sanding, drop clothes, taping (probably still need to tape). then i thought it would probably still not look as good as airbrushing. so like most people, i started on youtube but only found a couple people using spray cans with compressors but again so much prep. basically, had to tent the house. anyway, thought id consult with some experts about airbrushing. landed here.

    my questions.
    1. do i need a primer before i airbrush?
    2. how much paint will i need? i have 1200 sq inches of spindle. they are 30.5" long by 0.5" wide (x's 4 sides), so that's 30.5 x 2.5 (gave some buffer) or about 76 sq inches per spindle . i have 16 spindles so a total of 1216 sq inches. i think my math is correct.
    3. will i need a top coat to protect it? spindles rarely get touched but maybe grazed. biggest worry is if someone scrapes it accidently (moving furniture etc.)
    4. decent airbrush kit recommendation?
    5. where can i buy metallic airbrush paint? didn't see any on amazon. or do i have to mix?
    6. any other pitfalls you guys can think of?
    i truly appreciate any resources for my lofty by i think do-able project.

    -salty
    jord001 likes this.
  2. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Staff Member Mod Very Likeable!

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    Hey Salty,
    Well the bad news is that the prep for using spray cans is pretty much the same as using an Airbrush for this projects. Maybe your masking wouldn’t need to extend as far as it would with a spray can, but the theory is similar. In terms of how much paint, I’m not the guy to ask as I never have a clue how much I need to use. The only thing I know is that painting 4 x 17” wheels, you get some left over from 1 litre.
    The topcoat is really a question of how long you want it to last. If the area is high traffic, I’d top coat with some 2k clear myself, but again there may be members here who can advise you with a little more certainty.


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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
    jord001 and saltysandman like this.
  3. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    lol sounds like a fun project.

    Here's my answers to your questions, then I'll throw my idea into the ring and how I'd do what you want to do.

    1. do i need a primer before i airbrush?
    Absolutely, prep is essential for any paint job, your end result will only be as good and long living as your prep. Without proper prep then you risk the paint peeling/chipping off easily.
    2. how much paint will i need? i have 16 spindles so a total of 1216 sq inches. i think my math is correct.
    how much paint is dependant how deep you want the colour. I'd suggest 2 as a minimum but likely 3. you should always do multiple light layers rather than one thick coat. It dries quicker and less likely to cause runs and ruining what could have been a great paint job.​

    3. will i need a top coat to protect it?
    strongly advised if you don't want it looking bad very quickly, plus it makes cleaning them a lot easier.​

    4. Decent airbrush kit recommendation?
    No such thing as a decent airbrush 'kit'. they are always a compromise. Do you have a workshop compressor ? if so then you just need a good airbrush air hose with the right fittings and relevant paint/sealer/topcoat. ​

    5. where can i buy metallic airbrush paint? didn't see any on amazon. or do i have to mix?
    They do sell metallic airbrush paint. AutoAir & creates both make them, but you'll need at least a .5mm airbrush to use them.​

    any other pitfalls you guys can think of?
    Not right now but I'm sure we'll think of them as time goes on lol

    Ok, now for my thoughts on how I'd do this (with the information you've provided. )

    I'd buy Scenix Mural & theme paint. it can be brushed on and once its cured its almost bomb proof from what I understand. A spray gun is also an option but it can't be used with an airbrush under 1.2mm needle. I personally wouldn't be using a spray gun / airbrush for interior painting if you are already living in the house and you're not prepared to / unable to isolate the stairs from the rest of the house

    Scenix paint approx. 350 sq. feet per 1 gallon. (coverage varies per color)

    Can be used straight from the can if using a brush, Thinning required for spraying.

    Its water based so clean up is easier.

    You have a choice of 3 clears for top coat.. Gloss, Matte, Satin and using 'Their' top coat you eliminate any product incompatibilities.

    You have a choice of colours but unfortunately no metallic. Personally I'd stick with the black, any other colour will be outdated fairly quickly. Black metalwork is classic and long lived. (just my opinion and you can paint them bright yellow if that is what makes you smile.)
    https://createxcolors.com/scenix-mural-theme-paint/scenix-mural-and-theme-paint/index.html


    Well that should give you something to think about for awhile. :) I'll be back later to check on you and make sure your brain hasn't imploded :)
    jord001 and SiRoxx like this.

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