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Airbrushing: Hints and Tips

Tuesday 26th March 2019

Airbrushing is arguably the fastest way to colour, add decoration and depth to your sugarpaste covered cakes. But it’s also a tool and skill that some cake decorators are apprehensive to try.

As with everything, practice makes perfect; so give yourself time to practice on some paper or some of our White Icing pinned out, and soon enough your artistic skills will rival those of Leonardo Di Caprio Da Vinci. Speaking of artists, two of the best in the airbrushing field, Molly Robbins (Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers) and Dawn Butler (Dinkydoodle Designs) have shared some of their best tips for Airbrushing with your Rainbow Dust Liquid Colours.

Tips from Molly Robbins:

 – You can blend Liquid Colours together to create others, so for example if you have some yellow left over in your airbrush, add a drop of red to create orange, and eventually blend into red.

 – By learning about colour theory you can do more with basic colours and make your Liquid Colours go further, instead of cleaning out the pot and adding each colour individually.

(Cakes by Molly Robbins)

Tips from Dawn Butler:

 – Use a children’s colouring book as practice, this will help you perfect keeping inside the lines and keeping the pages dry (lightly spraying, not over-saturating the page).

 – Don’t rub the Liquid Colours off your stencil. Very lightly dab it so your stencil doesn’t bend, if it does bend, place it in the oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes to soften it.

(Airbrushing by Dawn Butler)

Using your airbrush:

  • Angle your airbrush downward rather than holding horizontally as this will reduce over-spray going everywhere.
  • Don’t spray too far away from your cake or over-spray will cover the area outside of the cake and possibly areas of the cake that you don’t want to cover.
  • To mix colours together in the pot, or to mix colour with water, hold something over the nib of the airbrush and pull the trigger back until it bubbles.
  • If you’re airbrushing a big cake, measure and record how much of each Liquid Colour and water you have used so that the colour is consistent when you need to refill.
  • You shouldn’t have to wait for each coat to dry, as having control over how much you use and spraying lightly usually means it will dry straight away. Don’t over saturate the cake.


Airbrush design tips:

  • Look for household items you can use to create a pattern or texture e.g. net fruit or vegetable bags could be used for a snakeskin pattern.
  • Paint Metallic can be used in the airbrush by mixing with water. Make sure to test this before spraying onto your cake, but we’ve found this can add a stunning sparkle.
  • If you’re using stencils, cover the cake the day before so that the icing isn’t too soft.

Putting it into Practice

Fancy being taught how to master the art of airbrushing by Dawn Butler herself? The Renshaw Academy will be holding a class in association with Cake Decoration and Sugarcraft Magazine where you will be taught a variety of skills by Elizabeth Harris, Emma Chamberlain and, of course, Dawn Butler. Find out more about the Skills Extravaganza at the Renshaw Academy here.


Keep us posted with your creations on social. We’d love to see your airbrushed cakes at Renshaw Baking or Rainbow Dust Colours 

Happy Baking!