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How to Airbrush Paint to Look Like Chrome

By Carl Hose ; Updated September 15, 2017
Color combinations help achieve an airbrushed finish that looks like chrome.

Airbrush artists use a air-propelled gun to deliver paint to surfaces ranging from glass to canvas. By combining colors 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 colors carefully, you can airbrush any surface to resemble a chrome finish.

Paint a dark base coat onto the area you want to paint chrome. The base should be dark enough to bleed through the colors 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.

Layer a thin coat of white paint over the black. Don't worry about coloring 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.

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.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.