Airbrushing and cake decorating have long been successful partners. Whether it is decoration of a flat surface or applying colour to elaborate three dimensional sugar craft the airbrush represents a wonderful solution to colourful creativity.
This is a fun and easy to make cake that will suit any pirate loving child or adult. With the use of Artool’s Pirate themed stencils this design can be easily replicated onto any type of cake with minimal airbrush skills needed. The text on the scroll can be customised with your loved ones name or a pirate phrase.
Lisa Munro also teaches courses for Airbrushing Cakes and Sugarcrafts. This hands-on workshop will cover as many basic techniques and airbrush effects as possible in one day. You will discover the airbrush as a versatile addition to your other sugarcraft techniques.
| Step 1. Airbrushing the cake board: Add Metallic Gold to the airbrush and position approximately 4 inches away from the cake board. Start at one side of the board and work towards the other side, building up the colour in light layers overlapping the last line you’ve sprayed each time. You will need to airbrush several layers to achieve a bright gold finish. Leave to dry. Clean the airbrush thoroughly with KopyKake or Squires Kitchen airbrush cleaner.
| Step 2. Add Brown to the airbrush. Position the Pieces of Eight (ART-PRY-6) stencil at one side of the board, overlapping the edge. Keeping the airbrush perpendicular to the stencil, shade in with a light layer of brown. Re-align the stencil each time so that it joins up with the design you’ve just airbrushed. Remember that you’ll only see approximately 2 inches of the board once the cake is placed on top so focus more on getting the edges right.|
| Step 3. Airbrushing the sides of the cake: Using masking tape, cover the large ship (in the centre) and the medium ship (top left) on the Flyin' Dutchman (ART-PRY-5) stencil. Place the cake on a raised turntable so that when you position the stencil against the side of the cake the stencil will sit flat to the surface. Add Black to the airbrush and spray 6 small ships evenly spaced around the cake, with the water ripples touching the bottom edge of the cake.
| Step 4. Uncover just the large water ripples underneath the large ship in the centre of the stencil, keeping the large ship still covered with tape. Still using black, airbrush water ripples in-between and in line with each of the ships. Spray lightly so they do not appear too dark. Change colour to Teal and repeat this step all around the cake. Spray a light layer of teal over ripples to create the line of water.|
| Step 5. Tear some small cloud shapes out of a sheet of paper. Change colours to Blue, position the paper near the top edge of the cake and airbrush a light layer of paint along the torn edge. Repeat this around the cake, randomly and freely to represent sky above the water and ships. Be careful not to get any blue on the top of your cake. |
| Step 6. Airbrushing the top of the cake: Using masking tape, cover the top two small skulls and the lower large skull on the Tell No Tales (ART-PRY-1) stencil. You will also want to mask around the edges of the stencil with paper. Position the stencil in the centre of the cake but as low down as possible (leaving room for the scroll above). Using black, airbrush inside the entire stencil except for the teeth and sword blades. Only spray along the undersides of the swords (blades and handles) and only the gum lines of the teeth.
| Step 7. Keep the stencil in the same position. Change colours to Metallic Silver, position the airbrush close to the cake and spray inside the sword blades only. Change colours to Metallic Bronze and spray inside the handles only. Metallic paints can land quite wet on the cake so be extra careful not to flood on the paint. Less is more!|
| Step 8. Carefully remove the stencil and thoroughly clean the metallic paint from the airbrush. Change colours to black, position the airbrush very close to the cake and carefully airbrush just inside the mouth (only pulling back on the trigger a very small amount). Start off with a very light layer of paint, which you can then build up gradually to a mid-black tone. |
| Step 9. Reposition the Tell No Tales (ART-PRY-1) stencil making sure it’s lined up correctly. Change colours to Bright White (make sure all the black has been cleaned from your airbrush thoroughly) and airbrush inside all of the teeth. Change colours to black and carefully spray one or two teeth in black, then change to gold and spray in one tooth at the top.|
| Step 10. Remove the stencil and change colours to Carnival Red. Position the airbrush very close to the headband, pull back very lightly on the trigger and start to airbrush around the outside edges. Now spray in a few lines to represent creases in the material. Shade over the entire headband with a very light layer to finish. |
| Step 11. Using masking tape, cover the bottom 3 designs on the Jolly Rodger (ART-PRY-2) stencil and the skull inside the large scroll design. You will also want to mask around the edges of the entire stencil with paper. Position the stencil towards the top edge of your cake framing nicely in the centre. Now cover any areas with masking tape that overlap your design, so the scroll appears behind the skull when airbrushed. Spray inside the stencil with black. Remove the stencil then lightly shade inside the scroll with brown.|
| Step 12. Use a fine paintbrush dipped into edible black paint and hand paint in your chosen child’s name or pirate phrase. Lay a paper towel or piece of paper over your design when doing this to protect your hand from smudging it. Finish by adding a black ribbon around the cake board and a thin blue ribbon around the base of your cake. I have added some gold coin ribbon for extra effect.|
Lisa’s Handy Tips:
Practice first: Always practice using the airbrush on a piece of paper or kitchen roll first, cartridge paper has a similar absorbency to icing so this is a good substrate to experiment with.
Mixing colours: You can mix colours straight into the bowl of the airbrush but it is a good idea to mix them into a dropper bottle if you want to use the exact same colour again. A colour wheel will also help when mixing colours.
Turn as you spray: Place the cake on a turntable; this will help you to spray colours evenly whilst turning the cake at the same time.
Cleaning between colour changes: It is not always necessary to clean out the airbrush between changing colours, simply flush through the excess colour and add in the next. However, stronger colours like black and blue do require cleaning out with clean water or airbrush cleaner first in order to remove any stubborn paint that’s in the bowl or around the nozzle and needle.
Cleaning your airbrush: Cleaning your airbrush after every use is vital to its performance and longevity. Spray airbrush cleaner through the airbrush until the cleaning agent sprays clear. For more stubborn paint, use new cleaning fluid and a clean flat bristle paintbrush, gently wipe around the inside of the bowl and across the tip of the airbrush to remove any build up of dried paint. Remove the needle from the back of the airbrush and wipe off any paint before replacing.
Masking Techniques: When masking off areas, make sure that you cover any area where you don’t want paint to land – scraps of paper work perfectly for this. Make sure there are no gaps and that the mask is securely fixed down to avoid any paint creeping underneath (known as under-spray).