Airbrushing is a fascinating and versatile art form, capable of producing stunning and intricate designs on a wide range of surfaces. However, for those new to airbrushing, the technical jargon and terminology can be overwhelming and confusing, making it difficult to know where to begin. That’s where this glossary of terms on airbrushing comes in. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned artist looking to expand your knowledge, this glossary provides simple, straightforward explanations of the most commonly used airbrushing terms. From compressors and reducers to nozzles and viscosity, this glossary has got you covered. So, let’s dive in and demystify the world of airbrushing!

Male and female connectors

In the context of hose tails, “female” and “male” refer to the type of connectors at the end of the hose. A “female” connector has an opening with threads on the inside, while a “male” connector has threads on the outside.

BSP (British Standard Pipe)

BSP stands for British Standard Pipe and is a type of screw thread commonly used in plumbing and pipework in the United Kingdom and other countries. It is a standard thread size used to connect pipes and fittings together securely. The size of BSP threads is measured in nominal bore (NB) which refers to the inner diameter of the pipe that the thread is used for.


In airbrushing, a coupler is a device used to connect various components of an airbrush setup, such as the airbrush hose, compressor, and airbrush itself. It typically features male and female connectors that can be screwed or pushed together to form a secure and airtight seal. A coupler allows for quick and easy attachment and detachment of different components, enabling airbrush users to customize their setups for different applications or to switch between airbrushes with ease. Couplers come in various sizes and types to accommodate different components and setups.


  1. pipe thread reducer is a type of fitting commonly used to reduce the size of a male pipe thread to a smaller female pipe thread, allowing for the connection of different size pipes or hoses.
  2. A reducer is a type of thinner or solvent used to reduce or thin out the consistency of the paint or other medium to make it more suitable for airbrushing. The reducer is added to the paint in small amounts, gradually altering the thickness of the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency for airbrushing. Reducers are commonly used with acrylic and other water-based paints to achieve a smooth and even spray pattern, and they can also be used with solvent-based paints. The specific type and amount of reducer needed will depend on the type of paint being used and the desired effect.


In airbrushing, a nipple is a small threaded connector that is used to attach hoses or other components to an airbrush or compressor. It typically has a male thread on one end and a barbed end on the other, which allows it to be securely inserted into a flexible hose. Nipples come in a range of sizes and configurations to fit different types of airbrushes and compressors, and they are an essential component for creating a secure and airtight connection between different parts of an airbrushing system.

Hose Tail

In airbrushing, a hose tail refers to a small fitting that is used to connect an airbrush hose to a compressor or air source. It typically features a barbed end that is inserted into the hose and a threaded end that can be screwed onto the compressor or airbrush. Hose tails are available in different sizes and configurations to accommodate different types of hoses and airbrushes. They play an important role in maintaining a secure and leak-free connection between the airbrush and air source, ensuring a consistent and uninterrupted supply of compressed air to the airbrush.

Airbrush Hose

An airbrush hose is a flexible tube that connects an airbrush to an air source, typically an airbrush compressor. It allows compressed air to flow from the airbrush compressor to the airbrush, providing the necessary pressure to atomize paint or other mediums and spray them onto a surface. Airbrush hoses are typically made of a durable and flexible material, such as braided nylon or PVC, and come in different lengths and diameters to accommodate different airbrushing setups and preferences. They often feature connectors on each end, such as threaded couplers or quick-release fittings, to easily attach and detach from the airbrush and compressor.


In airbrushing, a compressor is a machine that pushes out air with a lot of pressure. This pressurized air is used to push the paint or other materials out of the airbrush and onto the surface you’re painting. Without a compressor, the airbrush wouldn’t be able to spray paint evenly or in a controlled way. Compressors come in different sizes and strengths, and some have extra features like tanks and regulators to help you get the right pressure for your specific project. Airbrushing is used in lots of different fields, like art, makeup, and even car painting.

Piston Compressor

A piston airbrush compressor is a type of compressor specifically designed for airbrushing applications. It utilizes a piston mechanism to compress air and deliver it to the airbrush for painting. This type of compressor is known for its reliability, power, and consistent air pressure output, making it suitable for various airbrushing projects. It is often preferred by professional artists and hobbyists who require a consistent and continuous airflow for their airbrushing work.


Imagine a piston as a special type of device that moves up and down inside a tube. It’s like a small helper that squeezes the air inside the tube. When the piston moves down, it pushes the air together, making it compressed or squished. Then, when the piston moves up again, it creates a space for more air to come in. This process repeats over and over, creating a steady flow of compressed air. In an airbrush compressor, the piston helps to squeeze the air and send it through a hose to the airbrush, allowing you to paint smoothly and precisely.


PSI stands for “pounds per square inch.” It’s a way to measure how strong or powerful something is pushing on an area. Imagine you have a balloon and you squeeze it really hard. The pressure inside the balloon increases, and if you let go, the air rushes out quickly. PSI is like measuring how much pressure is inside the balloon.

In airbrushing, PSI is used to talk about the pressure of the air coming out of the airbrush. Just like when you blow air out of your mouth, the harder you blow, the faster the air comes out. The same goes for airbrushing. By adjusting the PSI, you can control how strong the air comes out of the airbrush. This affects how much paint is sprayed and how detailed or wide the spray is. It’s important to use the right PSI for different types of painting projects to get the best results.


In airbrushing, “bar” is another unit of measurement used to quantify pressure. It is commonly used in Europe and some other parts of the world. One bar is equivalent to approximately 14.5 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure.

Similar to psi, bar measures the force exerted on an area. When talking about airbrushing pressure, you might come across recommendations or specifications in bar. For example, if someone suggests using 2 bar of pressure for a specific airbrushing project, it means the air compressor should be set to deliver air at that level of pressure.

It’s important to note that while psi and bar are different units, they both measure pressure and can be used interchangeably with the appropriate conversion. So, if you encounter pressure recommendations in bar but have a pressure gauge that shows psi, you can convert the values using a conversion factor of approximately 0.07 (1 bar ≈ 0.07 psi).


In airbrushing, atomize refers to the process of breaking down liquid paint into tiny droplets to create a fine mist or spray. This is achieved by passing the liquid paint through the airbrush and forcing it out of the nozzle under high pressure, where it collides with a stream of compressed air, which breaks it down into small droplets, creating a fine spray that can be used to apply a smooth and even coat of paint or other materials onto a surface. The smaller the droplets, the smoother the finish and the less paint is required to achieve the desired coverage.


In airbrushing, pneumatic refers to the use of pressurized air to create a fine mist of paint or other medium that can be applied to a surface. Airbrushes use compressed air from a compressor to break down the paint or other medium and create a spray pattern that can be controlled by the artist. Pneumatic systems are also used in other aspects of airbrushing equipment, such as airbrush hoses and couplers. The use of pneumatic technology in airbrushing allows for precise and controlled application of paint or other media, making it a popular technique in various fields such as art, illustration, makeup, automotive painting, and more

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