Paint dries inside badger while spraying




Today I started airbrushing, so these are my very first steps into this world.

I have a problem. While I am airbrushing, I can see the top layer of the paint in the bucket getting thick. The paint gets sticky on top. When I keep on spraying, that sticky part gets sucked into the badger, and the whole things gets stuck. This happends after 5 minutes of spraying.
I work with createx wicked colours, reduced with creaex w100 at a 1 to 1 ratio. My compressor gives 3 bar pressure and i use a Coloma badger.

Its about 30 degrees here, is this why this is happening? It will get hotter during summer, untill 38 degrees, will I be able te airbrush in these conditions?
Is it something else than the heat? I hope it is ...

Many thanks in advance,


Queen Clown Slayer
Hey jesse, if I'm right then 3 bar is somewhere around 40 psi. You don't say what AB gun you have but if it is smaller than .5 then you may want to reduce it more. T shirt painters use createx and have larger needles, and spray at higher pressure (I believe 60 + psi), so 1 to 1 might be a struggle at 40psi. Temperature and humidity will affect paint in the cup so again reducing more will help with that, but I've painted in high 30 plus degrees to minus temps it just takes some adjustments. However having issues after only 5 mins seems odd. I'm not familiar with createx, but use Wicked which is made by createx and wonder if you may not be mixing your paint and reducer thoroughly, I've noticed that w100 can kind of sink through the paint so that it will come out first carrying some paint, but what is left at the top will basically be as if it was unreduced, it needs to be well mixed. I also make sure I give it a shake as I go along to stop it separating, although that takes some time to happen. Make sure you carefully pick off any dry paint from the end of your needle ( the oft mentioned tip dry) as that will affect your paint flow. Also, if your paint is old, been open a while, or near the bottom of the bottle it may be thicker than usual and so need more reduction anyway. There's no hard and fast rule with paint mixtures, different people prefer different mixtures and use different techniques. E.g T shirt painters as I mentioned use straight paint and high pressure, whilst some members here use a ratio of 20 to 1 and 5psi. Play around with different mixtures and pressures and make a note of which works better for you and then work from there. I use a mixture of 3 to 1 at 20 psi as my base and adjust from there. Pop over to the intro section, and say hi/ tell us a bit about yourself there. And if you let us know more about your set up, I'm sure someone will be able to get you going.


When using Wicked paints, I usually reduce at around 10-20% (1 part reducer for every 5-10 drops of paint). Even through my finest detail airbrushes, it works without a problem. I've seen more problems from people who over-reduce than from people who don't reduce as much, especially with Wicked.

The ready-to-spray consistency should be close to that of 1% or 2% milk.

The Wicked reducer will make the paint dry faster, which could be the cause of your paint starting to gum up in the cup. Try reducing less, and see what happens. Also, I'd start at 35psi, then move it up AND down from there to find the "happy place". Most of my airbrushes tend to like the 25-30psi range best. Some can go down to 5 psi, some like 40 psi.

Another trick to slow down the paints drying time is to add A drop or TWO of glycerin (almost any store that sells Tylenol would have it. Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, etc). A better alternative is E'Tac Condition-Air, which works much the same way, but without compromising the dry film strenth and adhesion like straight glycerin can. The Condition-air works in every water-based paint I've used it in, which includes Wicked.


Yeah, I had the same problem working outside on that mural last year. The paint would cook in the cup because it was so dang hot. On those days I switched to using water instead of the reducer. Yeah, you'll get more tip dry than usual but it sure beats the alternative of having a goopy mess inside your cup and you don't have the adhesion issues you get with using glycerin either. (Don't get me wrong, glycerin is good for retarding but it also messes with the cross linking. It's a good thing for illustration work where adhesion to the surface isn't as critical). Good ol' H2O with a drop of dawn (the blue stuff) or ivory liquid dish soap in about a quart of water. Does this compromise the paint bond? Ummm if the Mural is any indication... nope. Just goin on my own experiences here.


I almost just started a thread on this same subject. I have a Spirit and just recently started using Wicked Detail instead of Createx opaque and transparent. The paint that gets on the needle body has been drying inside my brush. I guess I am using too much thinner.....old createx habit I guess. Its really irritating to have to completely remove the needle and wipe it down every 5 minutes.
Thanks to the OP for asking almost the same question I needed answered!