Choosing and Caring for Your Paintbrushes


Visit any art supply store and you’re sure to find an overwhelming number of paintbrushes for sale. Many kind of paint brushes are in the market which are the best for home useĀ  Not only are there paintbrushes for every medium in all kinds of shapes and sizes, the paintbrushes are made of different kinds of bristles that affect the paintbrush’s performance.

Natural haired paintbrushes are made from the hairs of animals such as sables, squirrels, ox, goats, ponies and hogs. These brushes range from soft to coarse depending on the animal. The softest natural bristled paintbrush is that made from hairs of the tail of the sable marten. These brushes are soft, flexible and strong. The sable haired paintbrushes are often used for watercolors.

The hard bristles from a hog’s back are springy and strong. These paintbrushes have natural split ends making them hold more paint. They’re effective when using thick paints and for making brushstrokes and other marks in the paint. These hog bristled paintbrushes are often used in oil and acrylic painting.

You’ve invested a good deal of money into your paintbrushes, it only makes sense to take proper care of them in order to make them last and get the most out of your investment. Follow these tips to extend the life of your paintbrushes.

Invest in a paintbrush holder. A paintbrush holder will suspend the brush in either water or solvent while you’re painting (or between uses) without crushing the hair.

Keep the handles dry. When soaking the paintbrushes in solvent or water, soak only to the top of the brush head so that the handle doesn’t get wet. Handles can become loose or cracked with repeated exposure to liquids.

Never allow paint to dry in a brush. Clean the paintbrushes immediately after painting. Use a formulated brush cleaner, soap and warm water. Rinse completely and reshape the hairs.

Let the paintbrushes air dry in an upright position to maintain the shape. You may also lay them flat or suspend them so that no water drains into the ferrule. Once thoroughly dried, store the brushes in a closed container. Make sure that nothing disrupts the bristles.

When painting a rough surface, avoid the use of expensive natural hair paintbrushes. The rough surface will damage the brush and cause it to wear out before its time. Instead, choose a less expensive synthetic brush for these tasks.

Occasionally condition your natural hair paintbrushes using lard oil which is found at most hardware stores or art supply shops. Place a drop of oil on each brush head and work in to the bristles. Wrap in a towel or rag for a few days (up to two weeks) allowing the oil to absorb. Gently wash the brushes and dry as described above.

Enjoy your paintbrushes and take the necessary steps to keep them in pristine condition.

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