How to NOT Ruin Your Watercolor Brushes – How to Take Care of Your Brushes

How to NOT Ruin Your Watercolor Brushes – How to Take Care of Your Brushes


– Watercolor brushes, compared to acrylic or oil paintbrushes, have a lot softer and more delicate bristles
which are a lot easier to destroy if you use them
with the wrong type of paint. So, if you want your watercolor
brushes to stay happy and fulfilled with their lives, save them for the right type
of medium they are meant to be. Especially when you just
invested in some good, quality watercolor brushes. The scrubbing on the paper
or canvas, the chemicals, and the sometimes poorly cleaned bristles after use acrylic paints,
for example, can be damaging. The same goes for liquids
like masking fluid. It dries fast, and it’s
hard to get rid of, like super glue from your hands. Instead, you can use
either super old brushes or silicone brushes. Since they’re made out of silicone, the masking fluid won’t stick to it, and you can easily clean them afterwards. I also read that you can
add soap to the bristles before you use the masking fluid. It makes sure that the
masking fluid won’t stick to the bristles, but I personally
haven’t tried it out yet. So, I don’t know how well it works. If you, like, have experience
with that, please let me know. Now, while you’re painting, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first thing you want to avoid is dipping your watercolor brush completely under the water. If you have seen my video
about watercolor brushes, I mention that the brush consists of different parts attached together. The bristles, the ferrule, and the handle. And if you dip your watercolor
brush up to the ferrule, the water can get under the
ferrule, soften the glue, and at some point, even
detach from the handle, but it can also cause the
glaze or varnish on the handle to start cracking and chipping off, which will end up falling
onto your painting, and this is so frustrating, isn’t it? If you’re worried that
it will still happen too many times or if you just don’t want to think about it at all, what you can do is you
can add just enough water into the jar so it doesn’t reach the upper part of the ferrule. Another thing you want to avoid is leaving the watercolor brush inside the water for too long. This can also weaken the glue that holds the bristles
and the brush together. The brush might start losing hair, which will then fall
off onto your painting and to remove the hair from your painting is as annoying as getting rid of the chipped off pieces of the handle, but it can also ruin the whole shape of your watercolor brushes
because the whole weight of the brush will bend
and deform it’s shape. So, instead rather place them on your desk or onto your watercolor box horizontally. Now, what are you supposed to do with your watercolor brush
once you’re done painting? Luckily, with watercolors we don’t have to worry about the cleaning process too much because watercolors are water soluble, so all we need to do is
we just need to rinse off the paint off the bristles with a little bit of water and we’re done. With acrylics it’s a
little bit more difficult because we really need to
clean the brushes thoroughly or the paint will just
stick to the bristles dry and then ruin the whole brush, but if you really want to deep clean your watercolor brush
and get rid of any stains that the paint might have caused, what you can do is use
special soaps for that. You can either use a gentle hand soap or special soaps made for brushes. For example, you can use
the Masters Brush Cleaner, but there are a ton of
other options as well. It’s a cleaner, but also a
conditioner at the same time. Just like for your hair. You’ll only need to
gently swirl the bristles on top of the soap and
then you can use your hand to bubble it up with
a little bit of water. Rinse off the soap and repeat the steps until you don’t see any residue. Here it’s important to
clean the lower part of the bristles, that
is close to the ferrule, as you might be surprised how
much paint is stuck there. Don’t forget that you
absolutely don’t have to use soaps every time you’ve done painting. Maybe from time to time, to just really deep clean your brush or
to get rid of any stains, so it doesn’t build up over
time and stays there forever. Once you’re done cleaning
your watercolor brush simply soak up the excess water with the tissue paper
and then reshape the tip of the brush between your
fingers to get a fine tip to make sure that the brush
dries and is the right shape. Now, some artists also
like to use the soap or even special brush
shaper to make the shapes stick together and make it look like you just bought the brush in a store, but that, only you should do it, is after you clean your brush, you just want to swill over the soap and then we shape the tip again. This way the brush will have a protective layer around the bristles. Now, when you let your
watercolor brushes dry, you don’t want to let it dry vertically with the bristles up because
then the excess water will sink onto the ferrule, which again, over time will weaken the glue that holds the bristles in place. That’s why it’s the best way to just simply let them dry
horizontally on your table or you can also hang them up
with the bristles downwards without touching anything below. So, what you’re supposed to do once your watercolor
brush is completely dry. So, make sure you store
your watercolor brushes in a way that doesn’t put
any pressure on the bristles. The best way to store them is by either just placing them
horizontally into your drawer, but making sure there’s
nothing touching the bristles that will press against
it or you can just simply place it into a jar with the bristles up. So, never let your watercolor brushes stand on their bristles,
always on their handle. This way your brushes will
have a long, happy life. Well let’s be honest, no-one is perfect. We sometimes forget things
or we’re just plain lazy. So, we already might have a few brushes that are close to being at a lost case, but they’re a few things that you can do to kind of revive them and
save them to extend their life. Now, if you have an old
brush that is out of shape, literally, what you can do is, you can use really hot
water and then simply dip the bristles inside this hot water for a few seconds, but
make sure that the water doesn’t go above the bristles, and then remove the excess
water and reshape the bristles, and then you should have
almost a brand new brush. Now, let them dry as I mentioned earlier and you just saved the
life of a watercolor brush. Now, it might be a little bit tricky with natural hair brushes
because they’re just so delicate, but if you’ve tried everything and you already thought
about throwing it away, you can still try it
out and see if it helps. The same goes for dried colored paint on your watercolor brushes,
if it’s your last resort, you can try out hot vinegar
and really soak it in the mix. So, hot vinegar, for a few hours, but even that, it might
not work all the time, but if the bristles are
fine and the only thing that bothers you is the glaze, that it’s just falling into
your painting, all the time, what you can do is, you can use Washi Tape or any other tape you have and simply wrap it around the handle and you have another crisis under control. And if you want to learn more
about watercolor brushes, you can check out the video, right here. I really hope it was helpful. Thank you so much for watching. Have a wonderful day and I will see you in my next video, bye. (upbeat music)

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