Airbrush painting is a super-versatile art and a fun alternative to painting with a brush. And you don’t even need special paint: you can use a regular acrylic paint if you first mix it with an airbrush medium to thin it out. There are two kinds of airbrush media: a thinner and a flow improver. A paint thinner simply thins the paint, whereas a flow improver has a drying retardant that keeps the tip of the airbrush from drying out—especially important with very thin paint and smaller needles. Incorporating a variety of additives, airbrush mediums may do one or both of these things. Browse our selections below to find the one that best suits your needs, and remember that it is always good to check compatibility when mixing brands of paint and medium.
1. Liquitex Professional Airbrush Medium
Liquitex’s pre-filtered, ready-to-mix professional airbrush medium comes in an 8-ounce bottle and is designed to thin acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paints for airbrush application. Simply mix this medium with your paint and pour the mixture into the airbrush reservoir. It will maintain the integrity of the paint while decreasing the chance of clogging and buildup.
2. Createx Colors High Performance Reducer
Createx Colors’ 16-ounce premium reducer is designed to thin out water-based paint such as acrylic, watercolor, and gouache. Simply mix it with paint before pouring the mixture into the airbrush reservoir, using it in any ratio to achieve the desired viscosity and transparency. Because it contains mild solvents, this medium also reduces tip drying. And you can use it as a cleaner for your airbrush.
3. Vallejo Thinner Medium
Vallejo is justly known for its high-quality airbrush and model paints, and this thinner is no exception. Use it to mix uniform, transparent color for layers, gradations, highlights, and other special effects. It will even restore dried out paint in airbrush reservoirs. Compatible with Vallejo model paints, it’s ideal for painting miniatures. This medium is super-concentrated; just a few drops in the pot and you’re set.
4. Jacquard Clear Extender Airbrush Medium
Jacquard’s 4-ounce airbrush medium thins out paints so you can use them with an airbrush. The non-pigmented binder system dries clear and nonglossy so it won’t interfere with your paint’s original color. The medium adheres to a variety of surfaces including fabric and leather and resists cracking and flaking.
5. Golden Airbrush Medium
Golden Artist Colors’ 32-ounce bottle of airbrush medium is a great option for professionals. Mixing paints with water to thin them risks having them chip and peel, but this medium, which incorporates acrylic polymers, avoids those problems by maintaining paint density and particle bonds. It is also great at preventing tip drying and paint buildup.