How to Airbrush Tears on Metal

by Alex Smith, Demand Media

    The appearance of torn metal can give a surface a damaged appearance without piercing the metal. An airbrush is the ideal tool for creating these faux tears because it produces a smooth, even coat of paint. Because an airbrush produces lines with hazy edges, paint the tear in layers, blocking the sections that you are not currently painting. This process can be achieved with a material called frisket film, which is available at any art store.

    Step 1

    Wet the metal surface and sprinkle cleansing powder onto it.

    Step 2

    Lightly scuff the surface with a fine scouring pad in the area that you want a tear. Rinse the pad frequently. Continue scuffing the surface until it appears hazy.

    Step 3

    Rinse the cleansing powder off the metal surface. Dry the metal with a towel.

    Step 4

    Peel the backing off a piece of self-adhesive frisket. Apply the frisket to the metal surface.

    Step 5

    Sketch the tear onto the frisket with a marker. The tear will consist of two parts: the hole and the torn metal around it.

    Step 6

    Score the frisket along the drawn lines with a razor blade.

    Step 7

    Remove the frisket from the torn portion surrounding the hole, and set it aside.

    Step 8

    Connect an airbrush to an air compressor with a hose.

    Step 9

    Fill the airbrush's paint reservoir with bright metallic airbrush paint in the color of the metal that you are painting.

    Step 10

    Press the airbrush's trigger to spray the exposed metal with a thin coat of paint. Allow it to dry. Apply a second coat.

    Step 11

    Empty the reservoir and spray the gun until it is empty. Add flat black paint into the reservoir.

    Step 12

    Lightly spray the center portion of the tears located next to the hole with black paint. This paint should be a faint shadow instead of a solid coat, making it appear that the metal curves inward near the hole. Allow this paint to dry.

    Step 13

    Replace the frisket onto the torn section, and remove it from the hole.

    Step 14

    Spray the exposed hole with several thin coats of black paint until the color is opaque. Allow the paint to dry.

    Step 15

    Replace the frisket over the hole, and remove the border piece surrounding the torn section.

    Step 16

    Lightly spray black paint under the tear, simulating a shadow. Allow the paint to dry.

    Step 17

    Remove all of the frisket.

    Step 18

    Repeat this process for each tear.

    About the Author

    Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.

    Photo Credits

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