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Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

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Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

Post by Lady Jayde on Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:54 am

Hey Guys,
I know that this has probably been discussed, but for some reason, the search only pulls up limited usable data when I query "airbrush tattoos" and "airbrush Makeup".

I am gathering info to getting into airbrushed tattoos but I need resource data and material data before I make my final decision. So far I've found tatt stencils that run anywhere from $4-$30 for a sheet of 3 - 6 stencils. I've also found that the temporary airbrush inks run from $6-$18 per ounce. So naturally, I want to compile good info before making such a substantial purchase. What do you guys who do these suggest and how does one go about accumulating a significant number of stencils without tapping into my retirement?
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Re: Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

Post by Noella on Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:30 am

Two suggestions to mitigate costs...... Accumulate gradually, and cutting your own stencils.

Some manufacturers only sell stencils in sets (or at least they are only worth buying in sets unless you really must just get a certain one), others sell singly. Some have display sheets, others you need to create your own. Stencils are made of different materials - you might like some and not like others as much. Others working with you to do tattoos might prefer a different type than you do. By accumulating gradually, you have a chance to see which you like.... and which pictures get asked for.... Things I thought starting out would be popular really are not....

Beyond stencils and ink you have the equipment - airbrush(es), hose(s)/manifold(s), compressor(s). Not to mention airbrush stands, stencil organization, cleaning equipment and spare parts.

Ink might last for days, or wear off quickly, it might separate in the airbrush or stay together. I really dislike the green of one manufacturer I have - it just does not show up on skin - at all. Ink is also less expensive to buy in larger bottles, but then you have to get it mixed correctly (just shaking) and that is harder to do in a rush - I buy larger but divide it up into smaller bottles for an event - also easier not to spill.


It is entirely possible to start very gradually - one compressor, one hose, one airbrush (a second for a backup for peace of mind), 20 or 30 stencils and a single color of ink (black). My favorite (go to) stencil sets were Temptu's T-27, T -28 and the Astrology set for years - 36 stencils that made just about every child and adult happy somewhere. I've expanded - if I take out my full kit it is well over 10k (before tent/table/chairs/banners) - and my airbrushes are "inexpensive" - under $100 each. It didn't feel as bad to buy though because I was getting items as I'd done events - so had received money for using them.

You can cut your own stencils - xacto knife, hot stencil cutting pen, Cricut machine. I don't like the look of the ones I've cut with the knife or pen as much, but that's just me (and my cutting). I prefer the really thick solid plastic - where cutting that can only be got from a laser.

Different places may sell the same item for radically different prices (stencils or equip) - if you have a Harbor Freight near you, check out their "Quick Change" airbrush kit for instance - one of the big online temp tattoo places sells substantially the same set. If you like a single action airbrush, it's fine (it's in my backup box), but I don't like the way it works with most of my inks (they separate and without being able to back bubble, it is harder to shake them up again).

If I had it to do over again..... I would. I probably would consider a set - but only if the total cost is much less than cost of the individual items (sourced from a "least expensive" place) - if only because a set includes everything - and since you need everything starting.....
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Re: Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

Post by Lady Jayde on Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:35 pm

Wow thanks Noella! That's a lot of food for thought!

As of right now, I have a couple of those single action, external mix brushes and 2 double action internals (Passche and Iwata) and a compressor with a tank. I haven't experimented as to what I'd want to use for what, but I agree that back bubbling should be a national pasttime for it's usefulness!

It's costed me a pretty penny to get this far but I'm going to keep moving forward. Have you ever cut the stencils on the Cricut? I think I'm going to give that a go tonight. I love the idea of having the huge pro set up, but at a start up cost of over $1200 for the barest minimum, piece meal may be the only way to go for me. Eventually, I would like to get a nice set up of about 3 or 4 brushes, but I think that I'd lean more towards the external mix ones so that I can switch out bottles of color.

Thanks for shedding a lot of light and giving me a glinmpse into your own personal growth in airbrushing!
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Re: Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

Post by Noella on Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:56 pm

I bought a Cricut a few weeks ago after reading about it here on the forum, but haven't yet cut anything on it (something else going on in life right now and I know when I get started if it works for what I want I'm going to be cutting hundreds of stencils).

A compressor with a tank is next on my list - I have 3 compressors (plus a small one battery powered one I use on set) but the tank would mean the compressor doesn't have to work as hard to keep the air stable....

If you like dual action airbrushes - check out Harbor Freight for their set of 6 (including manifold and hoses)
http://www.harborfreight.com/air-tools/paint/professional-6-color-airbrush-kit-with-holder-95923.html
Not saying it is the be all and end all, but it is a good starting place if you want to see what you like. Especially if you already know and like dual action.

With what you have (a Cricut, a compressor, an airbrush or two), you are already there for a good starting place..... just ink to go....

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Re: Best Airbrush Makeup for Tatts

Post by Sweet Loretta on Mon May 09, 2011 11:41 am

Do not buy stencils in sheets - aka self adhesive / reusable (not!). This is a waste of your money and not the proper way to do airbrush tattoos. Buy good mylar stencils costs $4 to 10 per design.

Right now European Body Art is the most popular airbrush tattoo makeup.

My personal input is you will not get quality at Harbor Freight. Buy equipment meant for use on people. Buy top quality - spend the money, it will be worth it in the long haul. And it you don't like it the equipment has a resale value.

My business has four complete airbrush systems. All use Iwata BCS airbrushes and studio (quite) compressors. Three have 6 brushes, two have identical custom stands, stools and displays, stencil books with about 200 stencils , inks, fat max, and compressors - one is just a bit different and can run off a third compressor or Co2. Then we have one big festival set up which runs 8 to 15 brushes and we use Co2 - that stencil book has about 800 designs.

This does not take into account my body painting airbrush kit I have 3 brushes and tones of texture stencils and rails in it. We cut all our stencils on a 24" plotter, or buy mylar.
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