How to Make Your Brushes Last

How to Make Your Brushes Last

Brushes are one of
the most important tools a painter will purchase. You want to
make the most of your tools by taking proper care of them. Some general
rules to follow are: Use separate brushes
for water-based and oil-based media; Never leave your brushes
sitting in a water or a solvent; Don’t scrub harshly and make sure to
clean your brushes thoroughly after each
painting session. This is especially important
when using acrylics which dry quickly. Here are some tips for
cleaning your brushes. Wipe your brushes clean
with a cloth first, getting as much of
the paint out as possible, and then if you’re
working with oil you’ll use a turpentine
or mineral spirit to work out
the remainder of the paint. For acrylics,
you’ll just use water to rinse out as much of
the colour as possible. Then using a mild soap
and lukewarm water, lather the brush, and then I’m just going to
work the soap down all the way
to the ferrule. Just applying
a gentle pressure, making sure I get
everything out of the base, from the base to the tip, and then you’re
just going to rinse. And repeat this process
as many times as possible until you get all of the
colour out of your brush. Keep in mind that certain
pigments will stain the bristles or filaments, and this isn’t
a problem as long as there isn’t any actual
paint left in the brush. Then you’re going to
squeeze out any of the excess water, and then reshape your bristles
with your hands to get them back
in the original shape. When drying your brushes,
lay them flat to prevent water from
damaging the ferrules and the lacquer and to help the bristles
maintain their shape. Once your brushes are dry you can place them in
an upright holder with the bristles
facing up. Your brushes will last
much longer if you just take a few minutes after each painting session
to take good care of them. Captioned by GigEcast


  • terrapin52 says:

    Kati = Cutie 😛

  • Blick Art Materials says:

    Actually hanging your brushes upside down is great. We suggest that people dry them right side up as it is usually an easier way to protect the brush hair from being bent while drying.

  • treetopstall says:

    There are brush cleaners on the Dick Blick site that use springs to hold brushes bristle side down. Wondering about making one of those to house brushes. Thanks for timely video.

  • AlphaPhoenicis says:

    I'm using one brush for acrylics (not very often, like 1 or 2 times every 2 months) and watercolor (3-4 times a week). Is this okay?

  • Blick Art Materials says:

    The soap shouldn't harden the brush hair or damage the brush if it is rinsed out well. You certainly can use a conditioner for the brush hair if you are concerned that it is getting too dried out. Just make sure it is rinsed out completely before painting with your brush.

  • 1-Shot slinger says:

    Don't pull the bristles forcefully and don't mash the bristles into the bottom of the cleaning bowl. Never get water on a lettering quill or striping brush. Blick was a sign supply house so I figured I would mention this. Alway oil the brush and work a bit of oil into the heel of the brush ,then store upright .

  • 1-Shot slinger says:

    Someone asked " oil the brush with what"  . They make brush oil : Kafka is a good one .  Also realize I'm using lettering enamels in my brush so oil keeps the heel from geting hard or holding any dried paint. in the heel .   Only lettering quills can't get wet with water. You have to go to Siberia and kill a blue squirrel to make a good brush for striping work. You don't get water on those hairs.

  • Tooloose Lowtrek says:

    My father was a signpainter and used oil enamels extensively. To protect his lettering brushes after washing them free with mineral spirits he used to work lard derived from rendered kidneys into the brushes. This provided a high melting stiffener which kept the brushes in shape in his lettering kit. Today I use vaseline for the same purpose. Since the solubility of vaseline in either the hog bristle (protein) or synthetic polymer bristles is low, this is an alternate way to protect one's brushes. Of course, the vaseline MUST be washed out with mineral spirits before beginning to paint.

  • Diana Dominguez says:

    Hello, what kind of soap is Kati using to wash out the brush? Can I also use Palmolive detergent to wash out my brushes?

  • Megalart Gross says:

    Here is a tip. After eliminating the bulk of paint residue on the brush use a small jewelry sonic cleaner (about ten bucks) and use your favorite cleaning liquid. You will not believe how this eliminates the most minute paint particles. Tip: Remove the brush BEFORE you turn off the sonic.

  • Megalart Gross says:

    Also remember to then dip the brush in a combination of safflower oil and clove oil. Lightly wipe, then store.

  • jeff olsen says:

    I would not let this woman touch my brushes.

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