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Airbrushing With Stencils…What I Learned

So this post was not going to happen but I decided that it was important to show you my fails in addition to my successes. The picture above is what I would consider a success but I’m going to show you how I got to that point with the failures.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of cookiers using stencils on their cookies. I have a few stencils at home and have rarely used them. I did what anyone who sees a trend happening does. I went to Michaels and Hobby Lobby and bought more stencils.

I’m not an airbrushing pro. I’ve only used my airbrush a few times. When I first got it I did some experimenting with a stencil and filmed it. You can see that post here.

One thing I like to use when I airbrush is an old photo box I made from foam board. It helps keep the spray in one place but as you’ll see later it is not full proof. This box has seen better days. I get lazy sometimes and spray out the color I’m using on the board to change colors. Other decorators have nifty tricks like using a plastic cup to do this in.

I began by trying out an idea that I thought was genius but turns out it wasn’t really so smart. I thought it would be a great idea to put small clothespins on each corner of the stencil to give it some weight so the stencil would not move. It worked well until I went to lift the stencil off the cookie. The best way to lift a stencil off is to pull it straight up. The weight of the clothespins prevented me from doing this smoothly and caused the stencil to move and smudge. I removed the pins and sprayed the cookies with just the stencil on top but I still had issues with smudging. I think the hardest part is removing the stencil in a smooth motion.

You can see that I tried different levels of spray from light to heavy. In all the trials I did the results were not clean. I decided to give up on trying regular airbrush colors and try a sheen. I chose a pink sheen. The result of this is the first picture in this post. As you can see it was much more successful.

So what did I learn? I learned that I’m not a fan of airbrushing with stencils on cookies. I think it serves it’s purpose and there are many decorators that do a great job of it but it’s not for me. Give me icing and piping bags and I’m a happy girl. However, if I was to stencil on cookies again I’ll stick to sheen colors because they seem to work better for me.

I have some tips for you.

1) To clean your stencils simply run them under water until all the color has come off and then place in between two sheets of paper towel and pat dry with your hand. You can also soak your stencils in a plastic container with soapy water.

2) Wear a mask. Airbrush color gets everywhere and I mean everywhere. You’ll know what I mean when you blow your nose after having used an airbrush. Even though I used the box there was color all over my tables. Even though you could not visibly see color on the table I sprayed and wiped them and this is what came up. There was even color on my camera.

3) Practice. Practice. Practice. Just like any technique practice makes perfect. I know that if I keep trying I will get better and better at this technique.

Comments

  1. Misery loves company…minus the clothes pin idea, this could have been me writing this post! I tried these stencils and it was an EPIC fail…so much so that I instantly shoved them in a drawer, probably to never be seen again.

    I am also amazed at the MESS airbrushing can make! I sprayed TWO beach cookies (on my blog today) the other day, and I was still cleaning up over spray two hours later!

    Thank you for posting this…it’s nice to know this type of stuff doesn’t just happen to me!

  2. Thanks! I appreciate seeing the “tried and tried again” side of things. I have a question. What do you mean when you say “sheen colors”?

    • Thanks Catherine! I use Americolor brand airbrush colors. They make them in your regular colors like blue, red, green, etc. Then they have a line of sheen colors like pink sheen, lavender sheen, silver sheen, etc. These are very shear metallic colors that take multiple passes to build the color. They basically add a shine to whatever your airbrushing with a hint of color.

  3. Well…Crap on a cracker! I just hate it when things don’t work out as planned! I too,ran all over the place looking for stencils. It is amazing how some people can airbrush stencil anything and make it look good..then there are people like us….who can not get a clean crisp line. Thank you for sharing your fail….you should have done a “Nailed it” photo…I see those all the time when people try Pinterest projects and fail…they make me laugh every time. Chin up ladybug…you are still am amazing cookie decorator!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for showing the failures and successes. I’m still learning to use stencils and airbrushes.– Kate

  5. This was a great post. I don’t own an airbrush nor do I have any stencils. I did try the spray cans once…maybe twice. I made a big mess and I think I prefer to clean up icing bottles and piping bags 馃檪 Having said all that, I’d still eat every one of your cookies shown above.

  6. Oh, we have all been there! Cookie fails are just as important as cookie successes! Thanks for sharing, Melissa 馃檪

  7. I am the queen of failures. Your cookies look amazing compared to some of my failures. Maybe I will be brave and share one next time. 馃檪

  8. Great and informative post Melissa. My airbrush still sits in a box from Christmas. I’m not a fan of messes and it really just seems to be a messy project and cookie decorating is messy enough. Thanks for sharing in your post!

  9. I think you read my mind with this post! I have a love hate relationship with my airbrush and I have found more success working with sheen, as well. I think your cookies look lovely, even with the smudges. 馃檪 Oh, and it’s never a failure, but a learning opportunity. Thanks for sharing!

  10. You and me both sister!!! I am the WORST at airbrushing! give me a piping bag any day…heck I’ll even take royal icing and a palette knife! The number of stencils I keep buying is atrocious and I know I won’t stop….I don’t even want to think about how many cookies I’ve ruined! Glad to know its not just me but sorry you had the same troubles! If you figure out a foolproof way to do this I’m all ears!

  11. Devon Lowe says:

    Thank you so much for this… I had almost lost all hope in myself till I realized I’m not the only one

Trackbacks

  1. […] revisit airbrushing with stencils on cookies. You can see my first attempt here and my next attempt here. I think I’ve come a long way and have finally found a technique that works for me. I like […]

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