Silkpaint!® - Unique Products for Creative People - The AirPen, Fiber Etch, Silkpaint Resist
A college of Silkpaint projects: SurfacingSkins, Fiber Etch, AirPen and Silkpaint Resist

AirPen® Color Dispenser Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How is the AirPen Color Dispenser different than an airbrush?
A. An airbrush sprays thin paint onto a surface, the AirPen does not spray, but dispenses (or extrudes) paint as well as a variety of mediums in lines or dots onto a surface.
Q. Can I hook the AirPen Color Dispenser up to my airbrush compressor?
A. No, each AirPen is calibrated individually to the specific air pump which comes with that particular pen. Normally, you cannot turn a large compressor down to 4psi and still get a consistent, non-sputtering flow.
Q. Can I use solvent based mediums on the AirPen Color Dispenser?
A. Yes, however do not allow the medium to remain in the cartridge overnight, as it will begin to work on the plastic of the cartridge.
Q. How do I clean the tips and/or cartridges?
A. With the plungers, which are included. Simply twist off the tip, plunge the contents back into the original container, then twist the tip back on and force the water (or corrresponding solvent, if using a solvent based medium), thru the tip with the plunger. Finish with a rinse of water.
Q. How do I prevent the applicator tips from drying out during use?
A. When alternating use of cartridges/changing colors, place a crumpled, moistened tissue piece in the bottom of each hole of the foam holder, and temporarily "park" the cartridge with tip in the foam holder. Also, you may use a coffee cup with a damp paper towel at the bottom to hold cartridges while working. When changing tips, always keep used tips submerged in a small container of water until cleaning is possible.
Q. Is it ok to use the same cartridges for all uses?
A. No. Use separate cartridges to prevent cross contamination. Additional cartridge kits are available, click here.
Q. Once the applicator tips dry with medium in them, is it possible to clean & reuse them?
A. For best results, you need to clean the tips immediately after each use. You can try soaking your tips in hot water/mild solvent for 5-10 minutes. Attach the tip to a cartridge, and then push hot water/solvent through the tip. If still clogged, you might try forcing a needle threader through the tip.
Q. The paint/medium seems to be "spitting" out of the tip instead of flowing, why?
A. In most cases this would indicate that your cartridge is running low on paint/medium.
Q. Why won’t my paint/medium dispense even when I place my finger over the hole?
A. You need to make sure your fingertip covers the hole completely. Also, check to see the the medium in the cartridge is "gravity feeding" down thru the cartridge. If not, dilute a bit.
Q. My AirPen is dripping, what does this mean?
A. The foam plug may be filled with paint, which happens if you do not keep the tip pointed downwards. If the foam plug becomes saturated with paint/medium, air is not able to pass through the plug to force out the contents. Clean & replace the foam plug.
Q. What causes the paint/medium to "flood" when I place my finger over the hole?
A. If possible, you might try thickening your medium. You can also try using a smaller applicator tip, or even a regulator valve for use with thinner materials. For additional information please read the use instructions.
Q. Why do I have "skips" in my lines?
A. It’s possible your finger is not completely covering the hole; you might also try slowing your movement down. (Could this also be because the medium is too thick?)
Q. What’s the correct way to change a tip on a full cartridge?
A. Twist cartridge partially out of the Pen to reduce the sudden amount of air pulled into the AirPen when you take off the tip (you do want a bit of suction, however, to hold the paint in the cartridge, so just loosen cartridge a bit while still inside of Pen). Twist off used tip, placing in water, and twist on desired tip.
Q. How do I fill the cartridges?
A. Just pour your medium directly into the center of the cartridge, trying not to get it along the sides of the cartridge. Remember to fill the cartridge no more than 2/3 full.
Q. Any special considerations for ceramic glaze applications?
A. As some glazes are of "fluffy" consistency, you may have better luck using the cartridge only 1/3 full or so. Sometimes the suction in the pen is enough to blow very lightweight glazes against the foam plug inside the cartridge, restricting air flow through the cartridge, and necessitating removal and cleaning of the foam plug.