When asking myself "What should our first blog post be about?" I didn't really have an answer. I've never kept a blog before. But I eventually decided why not shed a little light on the subject and answer some common questions about the products we offer and about airbrushed accessories in general?
So here we go...
Are These Permanent?
Surprisingly, I hear this question a lot. Maybe I take the understanding of airbrush for granted. Maybe it's because airbrush tattoos are NOT permanent. Maybe people just aren't familiar with the concept of a custom-made shirt.
Whatever the reason may be that this question surprises me, the answer is YES! Airbrush shirts will, of course, fade over the years just as a screenprinted shirt will peel or an embroidered logo will start to get loose threads. But airbrush shirts and the airbrush paints we use are heat-treated to be permanent. They do not wash out, and a shirt, hat, or other item will retain its quality for years to come!
How Do You Do That?
Answer: You must be one of the few chosen by the airbrush gods.
No, I'm kidding. It's actually a lot of hard work and practice. Airbrushing is kind of a cross between drawing and traditional painting. You must have a steady hand to draw a line or create a stroke, but you must have a grasp of colors and how they blend into one another to create new colors and traits such as depth or texture.
Your start-up cost might be a bit high to get into airbrushing; you'll need a gun (a beginner's model is $80-100) an air compressor ($100-300+) which you could also sub out for cans of propellant but this reduces quality as the flow is often inconsistent, and some paints. How many colors you need depends on your projects and personal taste, but expect to spend at least another $50 on a few colors (if you buy the 3oz. bottles). All-in-all, though, airbrushing is super-cool and with so many different applications, well worth exploring.
The gun itself works a little like this (we use dual-action, siphon-fed airbrushes at Beginner's Luck): the gun is hooked to an air compressor, which condenses the air so it is pressurized. Meanwhile, a bottle on the bottom of the airgun holds paint. When the trigger is pressed down, the pressurized air is released at high speed through the gun. This action pulls the paint up from the bottle and it sprays onto the shirt or other surface. Our dual-action guns allow us to control both the amount of air and the amount of paint flowing, which provides a bigger variety in lines and coverage for a quality product.
How Do I Clean/Wash This?
An important question, no doubt. Airbrush care is simple. For t-shirts, turn inside out and wash in a cold cycle. They are safe to wash with other garments, but please do not bleach airbrushed items. We recommend air-drying these items. Ironing is okay, and actually is probably good for your airbrush shirt in the long run (your standard household iron is how we set the paint). Iron the item as you would a normal cotton shirt (a low-medium heat setting).
For hats, spot-clean only with cold water. Do not steam clean or otherwise subject your hat to heavy-duty cleaning. It is, however, okay if your hat gets wet in say, the rain. The paint will not drip or run.
License plates are clear-coated, and as such can be wiped clean with a soft, dampened cloth. Do not use abrasive cleaners on your airbrush license plate, and do not scrub with any cloth or scrubber that is rough as it can cause scratches. If your plate is subject to mud and grime exposure, or if you are concerned for it's lifespan, consider buying a plastic license plate cover.
What Products/Paints Do You Use?
Good question! For our standard setup, we use mainly Iwata airbrushes (although there are a few other brands in there such as Badger and Paasche) and we use SpectraTex airbrush paints. These are well suited for fabric and are non-toxic/water based. We do not use special candies, enamels, or acrylics unless a very particular project calls for them.