Airbrush Tip: Frisket Film

The best airbrush tip I have for new airbrush artist is…

… get yourself some Frisket Film.


If you’ve seen the lessons on this website, you’ll see that I use this product often!

The reason I use it so much is that when your learning to airbrush it can be very frustrating when your paint sprays in areas you don’t want it to. Frisket film is assurance that the paint will go where you want it to and only where you want it to.

So what is this stuff?

Basically, frisket film is simply clear tape that comes in sheets instead of strips. Each sheet comes on a backing that is easily removed.


How is it used?

Frisket film is used to make quick custom stencils. You can apply the frisket over a sketch and, because it is so clear, you can see the design through the film. Using an exacto knife lightly cut through the film following the lines of the sketch beneath.

When you are ready to paint, remove the areas of frisket film that you want to paint and paint away – your paint will be confined only to the area exposed. Or, you can draw directly on the frisket making a stencil with both a positive and negative component as shown below:


What else can it do?

Not only can you paint shapes as shown above, but once you are done painting those areas you can reapply the removed piece of frisket over the painted area to protect it.

Where do you get it?

Frisket, in some form or another, is available at almost any arts or crafts store. It may come in sheets (as shown above) or it may come in rolls. Either way will work just fine.

If you are torn between brands, get the cheapest one. I know that is contrary to pretty much everything I have ever said on this website (as usually you get what you pay for) but in this case – frisket is frisket.

I have even read that all frisket, regardless of all its branding, all comes from the same factory … so it is all the same stuff.

What if you can’t find it?

In a pinch… and only in a pinch … you can use Mac-Tac (which is a kitchen cupboard liner) as an alternative. It is available at most hardware stores in the kitchen area – it comes in all patters (flowers, woodgrain, etc) but you are only interested in the clear version.

I warn you that this product is not made for this application. It is a lot thicker and harder to cut, and, the glue on the back sometimes comes off on your artwork when you pull it off.

What else do you need to know?

You need some tips!!

    Airbrush Tip #1:

    Frisket is way stickier than it needs to be. This can be problematic if you are working on paper or illustration board because it will cause the paper to peel when you remove it.

    To reduce the stickiness, still the frisket to your pant leg or to your skin a few times. This will pick up some lint (or dead skin – gross) that will reduce the over all stick-factor.

    Airbrush Tip #2:

    Cut lightly! The goal is not to actually cut all the way through the frisket – you only wan to cut about 95% of the way through so that you don’t end up marking up or scratching the surface being painted.

    I always turn the music off and listen when I am cutting frisket – you can tell if you are cutting too far because you will hear the tip scratching the surface.

    Also, change your blade frequently – it will be SO much easier to cut with a fresh blade!

    Airbrush Tip #3:

    Firsket is reusable!! So, if you have a big-ish piece, be sure to keep it somewhere for reuse!

And Lastly…

I encourage you to check out the lessons on this website to see more practical applications.

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