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Airbrushing Cake Pops

How to Airbrush Cake Pops

Airbrushing is an art. The first patented airbrush machine was invented by the Stanley Brothers known for the Stanley Steamer.  The Stanley Brother allegedly sold their patented invention. Initially, it was created to airbrush paintings and pottery. As time advanced, it became synonymous with the automotive industry, finger nail art, and clothing. Voila! Frances Kruper a former vaudeville dancer enters with cake airbrushing.  She was the first home based cake decorator to cater to royalty.  She has a model cake with an airbrushed portrait of the late Princess Diana of England.

Airbrushing is one of the most creative mechanisms for adding finishing touches to your sugar work. With any technique there is a process and a learning curve. Airbrushing to achieve your desire results require speed, pressure, and angle. Airbrushing works with the use of paint and compressed air. The compressed air atomizes the paint forcing it through the brush’s spray nozzle.

Safety Zone: Airbrushing can be creative, fun, and messy. I use a large enough cardboard box to spray my cake pops. When working with cakes, I spread old newspapers on a plastic table cloth and a project backboard on top to avoid the mess factor. When using this technique spray 6-8 inches from your sugar work to prevent a wet look or smearing. If you spray further than 10 inches your area or walls may get sprayed inadvertently.

Edible Aerosol can: There are many sugar art companies that sell color mists. Color mists are edible aerosols (food coloring). I am not a fan of these products as you can’t gauge the pressure but they do come in beautiful colors.  You’re not getting as much bang for your buck with a color mist can as you would airbrush system. Food for thought!



Step 1: Choose a location in your home where your sugar art would be safe from excessive air particles and airbrushing. Set up your card board box. Place your airbrush machine in proximity that would give you enough elbow room to move around with your spray nozzle.  Turn your machine on. It’s going to make a loud sound it’s the pressure gauge.  Place your Americolor Sheens in arms length for your use. Shake each bottle well.

Step 2: Add a few drop of the pearl sheen in the airbrush badger (glass jar) or nozzle cup.  When you press down on the level you will get low pressure. When you pull the level backwards towards yourself it releases high pressure paint.  Always airbrush your safety zone inside the box or on the newspapers and move onto your sugar work. You don’t want to make the mistake of spraying your cake pop or cake first and it comes out too dark. Practice for a bit before applying the paint to your sugar work. Once you’re comfortable you can move onto step 3.

Step 3: Let’s decorate! Remember to the inside of the cardboard box first and then spray over onto your cake pop 6-8 inches away to avoid a wet messy look. If you spray further than 10 inches it may get on your walls or table. Americolor is water based so it’s easy to clean up it’s just the process.  In a circular motion spray each cake pop and turn slowly in a 360 degree motion to cover the entire cake pop. Place each cake pop in a cake pop stand to air dry.

Maintenance:  I place my badger (glass jars) in a small pot of pre-boiled water for 30 minutes. I am OCD with cleansings and germs so that’s my thing. Most of you can use some soap and water. Keep the airbrush needle clean it should be handled with care. Each airbrush kit comes with instructions read them. If you’re starting out you don’t need a super expensive machine. However, the more money you shell out for a kit the more pressure options you have. I purchased my machine from www.ebay.com for $99.99. The owner was retiring and closing down his shop. I was fortunate to receive a Master Airbrush kit with a box of 20 Americolor gels. The owner supplied me with three different attachment kits; a Gravity Feed Airbrush, Master G68 Siphon Feed Airbrush, and a Master E91 Siphon Feed Airbrush.  When I like about my gravity feed airbrush is that is a single trigger dual action handle. I can pull the trigger back for high pressure or downward for low pressure.  There are just few options you should consider when purchasing a machine. How often are you going to use this? Is this just a personable hobby or the beginning to a business endeavor?

It’s best to shop around! My local suppliers include Rainbow dust, Cake Art in Tucker, GA and New York cake they all provide shipping options.  If you decide to airbrush non-food related items purchase separate nozzles. I do not recommend using the same needles/badgers for cakes to spray make up, nails, or clothes.

Fun tips: You can use a cake stencil placed over a sugar cookie with some royal icing or fondant and airbrush your desired design.  You can airbrush butter cream and fondant cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and cookies. Airbrushing is endless!


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