Creating an Acrylic Spray Aquatint: Final Formula

ZEAMAZING! SPRAY AQUATINT
researchers: Jenny Gover and Audrey Blood

Formula:
Small Amount
10 tsp Pledge Floor Care Finish
1.5 tsp Golden GAC-100
4 tsp India Ink
3 drops Golden Airbrush Medium
3 drops Golden Flow Release

Full Bottle
80 tsp Pledge Floor Care Finish
12 tsp Golden GAC-100
32 tsp India Ink
1/4 tsp Golden Airbrush Medium
1/4 tsp Golden Flow Release

Stop Out
15 tsp Pledge Floor Care Finish
15 tsp Golden GAC-100
5 tsp India Ink

Setting up the booth:

  1. Tear a sheet of newsprint and pin it to the back of the airbrush booth with magnets, leaving some area of the vent exposed as an air intake.
  2. Place your plate on the wooden blocks in front of the newsprint.
  3. Pour a small amount of ZEAMAZING! aquatint spray into the airbrush bottle and close lid tightly. Attach the bottle to the airbrush.
  4. Turn on the airbrush compressor and the air vent.

Spraying a plate:

  1. Begin by tightening the airbrush all the way until it is entirely closed. Test a spray in an upper corner of the newsprint. Little to no spray should come out.
  2. Loosen the nozzle by quarter turns until a fine, light-grey spray appears on the newsprint.
  3. Spray your plate holding the airbrush at a distance of 6″–8″ from the plate. Spray long passes beyond the edges of your plate, moving horizontally, vertically, and diagonally in each direction. Aim for approximately 15 passes over the plate.
  4. To judge whether you have sufficiently covered the plate with aquatint, take the plate to an area with diffused, indirect light in order to see the aquatint spray on the surface. You are aiming for small, fine dots that cover approximately 60–70% of your plate.
  5. Compare your newsprint spray to the example in the aquatint booth to judge fineness and darkness of the spray.
  6. Place your plate in the drying box with the hair dryer set to low for 20 minutes to harden the ground. Do not over-bake the aquatint.
  7. To remove the ground, place the plate in the stripper bath of 1 cup washing soda to 12 liters of warm water for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry the plate immediately to avoid oxidation.

**If you need to walk away from the airbrush at any point, be sure to test the spray again when you return. The airbrush clogs quickly, so you may need to loosen and re-tighten the nozzle in order  to regain the fineness of your spray before continuing.

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Cleanup:

  1. Bring one bowl with warm water and a second bowl with neutralizer solution (1 cup washing soda to 1 gallon water) over to the aquatint booth.
  2. Remove the airbrush bottle from the airbrush and dump any remaining aquatint mixture back into the bottle. Set the airbrush bottle aside while you clean the rest of the airbrush.
  3. Begin by submerging the entire head of the airbrush in neutralizer solution. Spray the airbrush while it is submerged in order to cycle the neutralizer through the airbrush. Repeat this process a few times while twisting the nozzle up and down.
  4. Using a rag, tap the connector to the airbrush bottle to remove leftover aquatint spray, and then spray the airbrush into the rag.
  5. Submerge the airbrush into the bowl of plain water and repeat the cleaning process until no color is seen when it is sprayed onto the rag.
  6. After the airbrush is clean, empty it of water by spraying onto a piece of clean newsprint or the back of your hand until no droplets remain.
  7. Dump out dirty water and neutralizer solution.
  8. Clean airbrush bottle in the sink with soapy water and place back in the airbrush booth to dry.
  9. Hang the airbrush on its hook and turn off the compressor and vent.
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Airbrush Anatomy 

airbrush_diagram

 

Click here to download a printable version of our handout.