So I can hear you all saying, “Seriously Amber, you’re gonna rant on about paint brush care??”
Well...yes! Yes I am.
I love painting my with edible paints (it’s super relaxing), and like with anything, having the right tools can make one hell of a difference. Quality tools = quality work.
How are you meant to create a painted, detailed work of art when you’re bristles are frayed, bent or stained with paint? There’s no way you can achieve high quality brush work when your main hero - the fabulous paint brush - is all out of whack.
You need your brushes to be in consistent shape - figuratively and literally - so that you can produce smooth brush strokes and details with precision and ease.
So I admit to being a total hypocrite with this post - because I can be terribly neglectful of my brushes. I’ll have you know I currently have a large collection of splayed and stained brushes sitting in my draw as we speak #dontjudgeme.
But I’m trying to change my tune and put in the effort to prolong the lifespan of my brushes to save money in the long run (cause they ain’t cheap!). More importantly? I want consistent brush performance and quality.
So without further adieu, here are my top five paint brush care tips:
- Only load your paint half way up the brush bristles.
If you fully load up your brush with paint on a consistent basis, it can drip paint down into the ferrule (the metal that holds the bristles to the handle). This causes the ferrule to clog and dissolve the glue that holds the bristles together. This leads to misshapen bristles and eventually causes your brush to fall apart.
- Clean and rinse your brushes immediately after you’ve finished painting to avoid paint drying onto your brush. Once that paint has dried onto the bristles, it's super hard to remove which leaves your brush unusable.
On the other end of the scale, avoid leaving your paint brushes sitting clean and wet in your water jar. Excess water (or fluid in general) can cause damage to the ferrule (see point above), plus causes the varnish on your brush handle to flake and peel off onto your painting surface (which is a massive pain to clean). It can also change the texture of your brush handle, which feels icky to touch.
- Dry your paintbrushes lying flat.
Once you’ve washed the paint off, reshape your bristles and leave the brushes to dry lying flat.
Why not store them vertically in a jar to dry? It can bend your wooden brush handles and cause water to drip back into the ferrule and cause damage.
- Take the pressure off your bristles.
Store your dry brushes vertically in a jar with the bristles facing upwards. Don't ever store your brushes standing on their hairs, because it can cause the bristles to bend and ruin their shape. The damage is irreparable.
- Protect your bristles.
If your bristles come packaged in a clear protective tube - keep them! These protect your brush bristles while being stored and prevents them from being bent out of shape.
If your brushes don’t have a plastic protective case, use a straw (cut it to size) and fit it over your brush.
So there you have it, my top five tips for taking better care of your paint brushes so you can optimise your painting performance.
What do you enjoy painting? Let me know in the comments below. Me? I love painting abstract colours and shapes.