How to Adjust an Airbrush

By Brad Chacos
Street artists, airbrushes, graffiti
graffiti image by Gudellaphoto from

As anyone who has ever watched an airbrush t-shirt artist at a mall kiosk can attest, airbrushes allow capable users to create intricate, colorful artwork quickly -- but even those spray-painting maestros needed to start with the basics. Airbrushes require two basic materials to work; paint and a regulated air flow. Users can adjust the rate at which the two materials flow through the gun to create thicker or thinner spray patterns and start on the road to airbrush mastery.

Set the air pressure on the compressor to the appropriate setting for both the gun and the application, using the gauge on the air compressor or a separate air inlet valve to determine the available air PSI. Lower air PSI results in a lighter, more feathery spray, whereas higher air PSI settings result in heavier, more solid paint spray.

Open the fluid control knob fully.

Hold the airbrush four to six inches away from a piece of cardboard. Pull the air control trigger to being spraying.

Adjust the fluid control knob to tweak the thickness of the paint. Adjust the available air PSI if the adjustments to the fluid control knob don't result in a desirable spray pattern. Increase or decrease the air PSI very slowly, as a slight change to PSI can make a significant difference in the atomization, or spotting, of the paint.

About the Author

Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC,",, "Wired,", and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.