Learning to paint helmets

My son wants to learn to eventually paint helmets, but i need a starting point. Im going to order him a little hobby airbrush kit, and let him learn how to apply a smooth coat of paint on something. What type of paint should we start with? Just model paint, or something from an art supply store?

Any other suggestions to help him get started?

To paint a helmet, you’ll need quite a bit of stuff to do it properly. But having him practice the airbrush a bit is a good start. To do a full project from start to finish, even if it isn’t a helmet, will require a fair bit more investment (spray guns, compressor, clear coat, ventilation etc). To be honest, most of the paint job is in the masking.

To just mess around with the brush, I’d start with something water-based, like Createx/Auto Air: https://www.dickblick.com/brands/createx-colors/

Water-based stuff is less nasty than solvent-based, and easier to clean up.

And I would grab a roll of fine line masking tape as well to practice laying down some lines and practice masking.

Happy to answer questions if you have them.


Thanks. He’s a LONG way from painting a helmet, but he’s quite artistic, he’s got a notebook full of his own car designs, including orthographic views, that he learned to do on his own. So i figured learning the basics of how to use an airbrush would be a good start, maybe get him some more model cars to paint as well.


Model cars is a fun way to practice. I know when I was a kid I did some models but mostly I took paint markers to almost all my Hot Wheels and toy cars to draw designs on them.

Painting a helmet is just a combination of learning a lot of skills. Design, how to tape straight lines, work an airbrush, mix paint, work a spray gun, mix clear, sand properly etc.

Starting with learning the airbrush is a good first step. There are plenty of tutorials on basic airbrush use on YouTube.

My little promo video gives some insight too, but isn’t really supposed to be a tutorial per se: OKTANE VISUAL // 2020 PROMO REEL - YouTube


You remind me this guy, he did a lot of cool paint on scale model.