An Airbrush Tattoo Spices Up Life - Airbrush Guru

An Airbrush Tattoo Spices Up Life

An airbrush tattoo is the hot date everyone wants, no one thinks they can get, and will flake out on you after a week.

Airbrush and temporary tattoos are like one night stands or week-long affairs. A real tattoo is like getting married-without the option for divorce.

People can get inked up for good or they can have their flirtatious flavor of the week. It's their choice.

If you want to get permanently hitched to your design, or do the hitching, go get educated about getting a tattoo, and maybe even looking into some different ideas about tattoo designs. I have commitment issues, so I'm not really the guy to ask.

If you don't want to settle down just yet, remember, an airbrushed tattoo is a fashion accessory. They can be fun. They can be sexy. They can be full of meaning, or just plain zany. Your imagination defines the limits.

If you're interested in getting painted, you'll need to find an artist in your area or learn to do it yourself.

Getting Started

How Does Airbrush Tattoo Work

It's easy.

  • You clean the area to be sprayed with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Hold the stencil down firmly Spray on the color in light, but smooth motions.
  • Apply powder to the sprayed area
  • You're done.
How Long Does It Last

The airbrush tattoo should last between 5 and 10 days depending on how oily the person's skin is and how they care for it afterward.

Does It Hurt - It doesn't hurt. In fact it should feel like someone lightly blowing on your skin.

What do you need?

Where exactly can you find airbrush tattoo supplies?

To summarize, you'll need...

  • airbrush tattoo paint
  • an airbrush (maybe more than one)
  • an air hose (maybe more than one)
  • an air source (usually a compressor--but there are other options.)
  • You'll probably need design stencils too, but as we'll see later that's also not always a requirement.

Choosing Your Paint

Alcohol or Water-based paint?
  1. Always choose an FDA (or whoever certifies cosmetics in your country) approved paint.
  2. Alcohol-based paint is what most companies sell.
  3. The only water-based temporary tattoo paint I've found is Duratat from the TAT Store. Though if you don't need the tattoo to endure for more than a few hours you can look into theater paint.

Choosing an airbrush

How many people do you want to spray?

If it's just you and maybe an occasional friend look at an Eclipse CS or a Revolution CR. You'll also be able to use the airbrush for makeup if you're ever interested in going that route.

If this is a bona fide business you will want lots of siphon-feed airbrushes. Generally one per color. I like recommending the Eclipse BCS or the Revolution BCR.

Choosing an Airsource

Compressor or Compressed Gas?

Compressors tend to have higher up front costs with lower operating costs. Compressed gas tends to have a lower upfront cost with higher operating costs.

Choosing between compressors and compressed gas is really two questions you'll need to answer for yourself.

  1. Power

    If you do events where acquiring a good power source is difficult compressed gas is the only way to go.

    If power isn't an issue, then you're probably better off with a compressor--though I do know artists who still choose compressed gas because it's completely silent.

  2. Noise

    Since you're spraying people you probably don't want something on par with a semi truck's air horn going off while you're chatting up a potential client. So I'll assume that you want something quiet.

    Lack of noise is an expensive trait in compressors. Airbrush compressors tend to be small because people can't afford bigger. However, if you're willing to do your own noise proofing a compressor from your local hardware or compressor store will work very nicely.

    The more permanent your establishment the easier it is to set up the environment to cancel out compressor noise pollution. You can build your own box, leave the compressor in a shed out back and run a long air hose...lots of options.

    If you go mobile, things become trickier. You have less space and fewer options. Compressed gas will always take up the least amount of space and be the quietest airsource you can possibly get, since there's no engine to take up space or make noise.

The Rest of the Air System

You still need an air hose. Some airbrushes come with hoses. If this is just for you, get an airhose and skip the section on multiple airbrushes, you don't need to worry about this kind of setup.

Multiple airbrushes, how do you cope?

  • Stick with the same airbrush for now.

    Every color will spray the same. All the parts are interchangeable, so you don't have to think too hard about which part goes with which airbrush when you clean everything at the same time.

  • For ultimate speed you'll want an air hose for each and every airbrush.

    There is one problem with lots of airhoses.
    "Oh what a tangled mess we weave when first we practice for lots of speed!"
    The Big Knot of Unintended Consequences.
    If you're not careful about how you take and set down your airbrushes you will have a knot. This knot occasionally allows you to pull, not one, but all your airbrushes from your rack at the same time. Then they all go crashing down! And that's terribly bad...just in case you needed me to say it...

  • The hoses all hook up into a manifold.

    Manifolds are described by how many ports they have. Make sure you take into account the port coming from the airsource.

Another option is quick disconnects. You have one hose for lots of airbrushes. Since it takes two hands to change airbrushes this method will slow you down just a tad, but you can avoid the Big Knot of Unintended Consequences.

Stencils

Stencils let you spray all kinds of pre-made designs onto someone's skin relatively quickly without any fuss. You might want a file of some kind too. Airbrush tattoo shops have a lot of designs to satisfy a wide range of people. So be on the look out.

You might want to read my Airbrush Tattoo FAQ. The more questions you ask, the bigger it will get.