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How Much Does Airbrushing Cost? What You Need To Get Started

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Airbrushing is a great way to give your miniatures and models that extra personality and style.

Whether you’re working with your D&D or other miniatures, a scale model airplane or tank, or any other item, airbrushing is an efficient and excellent method to give a look that will bring an extra bit of pizazz to your collectibles.

How much does airbrushing cost? The cost of an entry-level airbrush kit is around $60-$90. A mid-range airbrush will run about $80, but you’ll also need a compressor, which may cost about $100. For high-end quality, prepare to spend about $250 for the airbrush itself and an additional $275 for a compressor.

When it comes to money, the numbers can get scary. Remember that you don’t have to start out with the best equipment.

Take some time and find out if you enjoy it. Start small and work your way up. With that being said, let’s break it down even more.

Airbrush Equipment: Average Pricing

Airbrush$115
Compressor$115
Adaptor Set$15
Paints$200
Flow Improver$20
Thinner$15
Varnish$15
Safety Goggles$30
Work Table$100
Shelves$85
Lamps$75
Cleaning Pot$25
Pipe Brushes$10
Airbrush Cleaner$15
Hose Splitter$10
Quick Disconnect$15
Airbrush Cleaning Kit$20
Respirator Mask$25
Spray Booth$165

Airbrushing Costs

Now that we’ve covered the basics, I’m going to break down each equipment type and their costs. 

There are a lot of different supplies and accessories involved with airbrushing, and I’m going to outline the costs for all so you can make the best decisions for you!

Airbrush

The airbrush is going to be the most crucial tool for you in your airbrushing adventures.

After all, it is the tool that’s going to allow you to paint your miniatures and scale models to your exact specifications.

You can purchase some CHIMAERA Professional 0.4mm models for around $15, get a Neo CN Gravity Dual Action for $70, or get the Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR  for $250.

It all depends on what you’re going to be doing and what kind of product you’re looking to show off.  

Average Cost: $111

Just keep in mind that as with a lot of things in life, a lower price does mean some sacrifices in the quality of the finished product. 

[amazon box=”B01BQVGPX2,B004INERK4,B0125X4QHM” link_id=”34701″]

Compressor

The compressor is the next part of the process to get that paint flowing through the brush. I’m not going to recommend a low-end price model.

They just don’t give the airflow or length of use that would be required to complete projects.

There are two models I’ll mention here. The mid-level X-DOVET Dual Pressure Compressor System Kit for about $80.

I recommend the IWATA-Medea Studio Series Sprint Jet Air Compressor for around $200.

Average Cost: $117 

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Adaptors

Adaptors are what connects the hose to the compressor. The compressor usually has a ⅛  or ¼ connector so it may be beneficial to buy the set.

You can purchase a generic 7 piece set for about $9 or the 15 piece Airbrush Adaptor Set for approximately $16.

The 15-piece set does include a quick disconnect, which we will touch on later. 

Average Cost: $12

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Paints

Now for my personal favorite, the paint! So many colors to choose and even more combinations! Most paints come in sets, so it’s a great way to start!

You can get the U.S. Art Supply 12 Color Set for about $40. You can purchase the OPHIR Acrylic Airbrush Paint Set for around $80.

For the big spenders, there is always The Army Painter – Warpaints Airbrush Complete Set for around $375.

Average Cost: $198

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Additional Mediums

There are additional items, think of them as ingredients, to create a successful airbrushed product. We are going to talk about a few here.

Paint thinner is necessary to get your paint liquified enough to transfer through the airbrush onto the miniature, model, canvas, or whatever you’re painting.

The Vallejo Airbrush Thinner costs $15-$20 and is the one I absolutely recommend. 

Average Cost: $15

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Varnish is another product worth considering to protect all your hard work! It acts as a layer of protection over the paint.

Keep in mind this does depend on the look you want your finished product to have.

Vallejo has a few options to consider. The Mecha Matt Varnish and Satin Varnish both price around $17. The Mecha Gloss Version runs slightly less at around $15.

Average Cost: $16

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One more item to consider is the flow improver. This reduces clogs and keeps the paint from drying on the needle. 

The Impressa Airbrush Flow Improver Paint Set is $8. The Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver is slightly more expensive at $22.

Average Cost: $15

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Work Area

With airbrushing, you’ll want to set aside a space that is dedicated to the activity. There are some items that would be beneficial to have. 

Your spray booth is crucial to your project. It can add some light, and most have a fan to help filter out the paint overspray and fumes that come from the air brush.

You can purchase a Portable Paint Tent for around $30, but it’s not going to do much other than block out light and keep paint from going all over the place.

The Master Airbrush Spray Booth will cost you somewhere around $165. It included lights and the fan to filter out leftover paint dust, and it is portable!

If you’re looking for a booth that will allow two projects to be worked on at once, the Master Airbrush Brand Dual Unit Spray Booth can be yours for approximately $300.

Average Cost: $165

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A desk or work table would be nice to place your spray booth and materials for the product. The CubiCubi study desk could be a great starting point.

It runs at multiple sizes. The smallest and cheapest 32-inch will cost around $70, and the mid-range 47-inch and the 63-inch cost approximately $90 and $140 respectively.

Average Cost: $100

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Next up, shelves! You need some space to store your products while they dry where they won’t be disturbed. 

The Furino Turn-N-Tube will cost about $30. The Gracious-Living 4 Tier Shelf is $85. The Tangkula 5-Tier Steel Shelves are about $140 and possibly the most sturdy of the options.

Average Cost:$85

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One other component that could add to your airbrushing would be a lamp.  This will add more light to your project space and increase accuracy.

The YOUKOYI Desk Lamp adds a good amount of light at around $40. The Phive Architech Lamp is another option that is listed at around $85.

The Neatfi XL will cost you $110 approximately.

Average Cost: $75

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Cleaning Gear

So you’re finishing up with your most recent scale model? Well, now is the time to start cleaning up.

You’ll want to clean the airbrush and make sure it’s empty of paint so nothing clogs or gets dried. 

What do you clean it with? There are a few items.

First you’ll need the airbrush cleaner. The Evo Dyne Airbrush Cleaner is the least expensive at around $12.

The Medea Airbrush Cleaner is slightly more expensive at around $15. The U.S. Art Supply Cleaner runs just a little more at about $16.

Average Cost: $14

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The next item is pipe brushes to really get in there and get your tool nice and clean. Here are two options.

There is the  8-inch cleaning brush straw set at around $10, or you can go with the DanziX Pipe Cleaning Brush Kit for around $12.

Average Cost: $11

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One more thing you’ll need for cleaning is a cleaning pot. These are useful for all the cleaning spray. Instead of it going everywhere, simply place it in the cleaning pot to collect the spray.

The Sagud Cleaning Pot is a good option for about $13. Another option is the Iwata Medea Universal Spray Pot at around $30.

Average Cost: $22

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Accessories To Consider

As with any hobby, there are some other accessories worth considering. Some of them may not be something you’re looking for right away, but they are worth knowing about for the future

Hose Splitter

Average Cost: $11

[amazon box=”B00BZ9JR4K,B00J8BC2DA” link_id=”34715″]

Quick Disconnect

A quick disconnect allows for the hose to be disconnected and also shut off the air supply.

Average Cost: $14

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Cleaning Kit With Holder

These are great because they come with both the cleaning pot and the pipe cleaners.

Average Cost: $17

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Respirator Mask

The airbrushing process leaves fumes and excess paint in the air, so you definitely want to protect yourself!

Average Cost: $30

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Related Questions:

Can You Make Money Airbrushing?

Yes! There are tons of ways to make money from airbrushing. You can sell your creations in online stores and take on commission orders.
With all the box games and others that include miniatures, there is a huge market.

How Much Do Airbrush Artists Make?

This is a hard question to answer. As you’ll be naming your price when you start your business, you’ll have to come up with a proper fee.
Charging for materials, assembly time, AND the time you spent painting is a great way to cover all bases and make sure you are getting paid the proper amount for all your hard work. 

Ready, Set, Airbrush!

There you have it. We covered quite a bit in a short amount of time, but now you have all the necessary information to get started in your airbrushing adventure.

Airbrushing is an immensely rewarding venture, whether you are starting a business or painting for yourself.

You have all the tools available. Take advantage of them and get going!

image showing a man crafting a piece of pottery on a pottery wheel - header graphic for the hobby ideas post on gigworker.com
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