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you are here : Help: Brushes

Paint Brushes


Brushes are an Investment

Brushes are an investment that you will want to take care of. The plastic in the paints is hard on bristles. You will replace them maybe twice a year depending on the amount of painting that you do, but good habits will increase their life span.

  • Wash the sizing from the brush with a mild soap, Ivory or any gentle dish detergent, and warm water.
  • Always wet your brush before you put any paint on it. The bristles act as a wick and will pull the paint up into the ferrule unless there is already water there. It will be nearly impossible to remove and will ruin the brush edge or point.
  • Acrylics are fast drying and will dry just as fast on your brush as you work. It means you must clean your brush frequently as you work to prevent build-up.
  • Whenever you are not using your brush, rinse it out in your basin. Never lay your brushes down with paint on them.

Cleaning your brushes

When your painting session is complete wash the brushes with warm water and a liquid detergent in the palm of your hand. Simply stroke back and forth until all of the paint is out. Realize that some paint colors are likely to stain the bristles. That's okay. Just wash until the soap bubbles are white and the water runs clear and you should be safe.

Holding a paintbrush is different than holding a pen.

It's not at a 90 ° angle but almost. Don't drop it into the crook of your hand like yo would a pencil. Grab close to or on the ferrule and use your little finger as a tripod leg. Awkward - yes! Effective - you bet! Familiarize yourself with it every time you paint.

Don't buy the long-handled brushes; they get in the way.

Brush Types

Learning the different brush names and what they are generally used for will help you to follow and adapt instructions for your projects.

Round Brush

The round brush is broad at the base and gradually comes to a point. When you run it across your fingers it should spring back. You'll know exactly what I mean when you try this yourself.

They come in various sizes and rare numbered with the higher number being a bigger brush.

Use this brush for:

Wet your brush and blot it on a soft cloth. Load by stroking the edge of the paint pool, turn a quarter turn and pull paint from the edge of the pool again. Repeat twice more. Then take your brush point and pick up a ball of paint on the end. That's what gives the first part of the stroke it's substance.

Flat Brush, Wash or Shader

The flat, wash or shader has bristles that are longer than they are wide. The edge forms a straight line when dampened and has flexibility when you brush it across your fingers. It springs back and is not soft and fluffy.

Use this brush for:

  • Stroke work
  • Basecoating entire pieces or large pattern areas (larger brushes)
  • Floatshading (all size brushes)

Wet your brush and blot it on a soft cloth. Load by pulling paint out from the side of the pool. Stroke brush several times as the edge of the pool, turn over and repeat using some pressure. That action should get the paint moving up the bristles. Repeat until there is a nice even coat of paint on your brush. No clumps on the edges.

Liner Brush

The liner brush is a thin brush. When you purchase this kind of brush make sure there are enough bristles to hold the paint. Check to be sure there are no short bristles that will create a shadow when you "draw" with the thinned paint. This brush, too, should be flexible when you run it across your fingers.

Use this brush for:

  • Stroke work
  • Details
  • Lettering

Wet and blot on soft cloth. Load by pulling brush through inky paint, turn, dip, and pull out until evenly loaded.

When doing these strokes don't cramp your style. Paint from the elbow, not your wrist and let the paint flow from the end of your brush.

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Getting Started On Your Decorative Painting Project

How To Add Dimension

How to Pick Brushes