T-Shirt Painting--Keep the Paint Flowing

By Mark Rush

Does it seem like your paint flow is choking? If you are one of those artists who doesn't take his or her airbrush completely apart every time you finish painting and clean each part thoroughly, this might occasionally happen to you!


First of all, most "sane" airbrush T-shirt artists don't clean their guns until they stop working completely. They usually just plug in a new one in order to keep making money. But these clogged airbrush guns do get worked on when the crowd thins down.

Many T-shirt artists have a problem with florescent colors, as these pigments are usually a little larger that other colors. So be especially alert here to paint build-up.


If it seems like your color flow is choking off, the first place to look for trouble is in the tip or cone. Many times, there will be a build-up of color on the inside of the tip where paint has dried and built up after time. The best way to get rid of this build-up, which eventually cuts off the paint flow and causes problems with the internal mixing of air and paint, is to use a wooden toothpick to dislodge the dried paint and pigment. Do not use a needle or any metal object, as this will scar the inside of the tip, causing more build-up. A wooden toothpick will give way before the tip is damaged in any way. A little cleaner helps to soften up the dried paint, so soak those old tips instead of tossing them, as they might come in handy sometime in the future; and at $5 to $10 each, who can afford not to clean them if they are still in good shape.


Take a close look at the tip or cone. Look for a trumpet shape on the very end or a split on the side or an uneven shape on the very end of the tip. All of these little problems are signs to throw away the tip. Look for nylon tips in the near future that hold their shape and last for years.


TIP: Before disassembling your airbrush, check to see whether the choking paint problem can be attributed to a clogged breather hole in the bottle top--a common occurrence.


Created by ARTtalk.com