How to Prevent Overspray When Airbrushing Your Model


You’ve been very careful assembling your model car, plane, or ship. You’ve painted the majority of it, now it’s time to airbrush with a new color.

You have a great imagination (that’s partly why you love scale modeling) and can already visualize paint splatter on your beautiful work.

Don’t worry, I’ve done some research for you and have come up with some great tips on how to avoid overspray and get nice crisp lines for a professional result.

To avoid airbrush overspray you need to take some precautions:

  • Make sure you are working with a clean airbrush: A partially clogged one is likely to have a "splattery" spray. Also, you don’t want bits of another color mixed in with your new color.
  • Thin out the paint between 50-70% thinner to 50-30% paint. This will make the spray more ink-like to get finer edges.
  • Lower the pressure of your airbrush down to about 10 psi.
  • Stay closer to the surface, even up to about a 1/2 inch or so.
  • Spray straight: Aim your nozzle directly at the surface and not at an angle.
  • Use masking tape, like you would when protecting the baseboards when painting a room. 
  • Use Blu Tack for curvy parts in addition to the masking tape.

    Airbrushing a model gives great results, but you need take some precautions to prevent overspray.

    How to Clean Your Airbrush

    You should always thoroughly clean your airbrush after each use to help prevent splatter and dirty color. Here are the steps to make sure everything runs smoothly:

      1. Use a cleaning pot to rinse out your airbrush in between changing colors.
      2. Stick the airbrush nozzle into the cleaning pot, pour water into the airbrush cup and use a thin paint brush to clean out any residual paint.
      3. Once you flush the water out of the airbrush, use an airbrush cleaner to make sure you’ve gotten everything.
      4. Blow out any excess liquid and you’re ready for your next color.
      5. Once done with your painting session, repeat the above steps but then finish up with a very thorough cleaning. 

      Thoroughly Clean Your Airbrush When You End Your Painting Session 

        1. Unscrew the back and front of the airbrush.
        2. Remove the needle on the inside and wipe it down with airbrush cleaner. Make sure to wipe away: This will prevent injury to you and also prevents damage to the delicate needle.
        3. Use cotton swabs and pipe cleaners soaked in airbrush cleaner to clean the fluid nozzle. You can use the needle to gently reeme out any hardened paint. Just make sure you give the needle a final wipe down.
        4. Finally, put the airbrush back together. 

      There you have it—a clean as a whistle airbrush ready for excellent performance on your next airbrush session.


      In order to prevent overspray, make sure to:

      • Use a clean airbrush
      • Thin the paint to 50/50 or 70/30 thinner to paint, respectively 
      • Keep the psi low, from 20 to as low as 10 psi when it comes time for the fine lines.
      • Using masking tape for straight lines, and Blu Tack for curves
      • Spray close—around a 1/2 inch is great
      • Spray straight.

        Thank you for reading this and I hope I was of some help to you. Please share this post and leave a link to a picture of your finished project, as I would love to see what you’ve been working on. Cheers!

        Click Here to Check out Those Amazing Resin Kits

        Helpful Links

        Airbrushing a Model with Blu-Tack

        Airbrush FAQ

        Airbrush Line Overspray Troubleshooting

        How to Airbrush for the Complete Beginner by OrcPainterNerd

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