Economical Paint Thinner Management for Airbrushing:
This is a practical tutorial about controlling the cost of your airbrushing while still getting the best results for thinning your paint. This is my method and it works for me fairly well as I want good results, but want to keep some of the modeling costs down.
There are a lot of different brands of paint, and every paint brand seems to have its own brand of thinner specifically formulated for their paint line, this is good as you tend to get the best results by using the line appropriate thinner, but this is also bad as the brand name thinners are pretty expensive.
In the photo above there is an 8 oz. can of Testors Universal Enamel thinner and a 32 oz. bottle of Odorless Mineral Spirits from a hardware store. The 8 oz. Testors cost $10.99, the 32 oz. Mineral Spirits cost me $4.87.
So you can see the price difference Testors at $1.37 an oz. and the Spirits at 0.15 cents per oz. Now some people use the no name cheap thinners to thin their paint for their airbrush and if that works for them great. I myself find that the results from the various thinners I have used are never quite as good as the thinner designed for that paint line.
My method is very simple. I use the name brand paint to mix my paint for airbrushing. And I use the no name brand to clean my airbrush. Cleaning you airbrush is the main action that wastes thinner. I like to use quite a bit to make sure mine are clean, and this way I don't spend to much doing it. I keep smaller bottles of the thinner handy so it is easier to utilize. I typically have a small bottle of clean thinner for cleaning my airbrush and a bottle of what I call dirty thinner for first pass paint brush cleaning.
This is very cost effective and I don't worry about using my good expensive thinner just to clean my airbrushes.
This method also works well with acrylic paints. Instead of cleaning my airbrush with the expensive acrylic cleaners, I use Isopropyl Alcohol and Windex. these two work great in conjunction with each other. I am also experimenting with a mixture of 70% Alcohol and 30% Windex for airbrush cleaning but I'm still in the testing stage with this mixture.