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Caring for Your Brush Investment
Paint brushes are an investment, and you want to get the most value from your purchase as possible. If you care properly for your brushes, a good brush will last many years.
We have gathered some useful information that we hope you will use to protect your investment. Our goal is to prevent you from having to replace your brushes before they have reached their life expectancy.
There is one key point that can be emphasized for all brushes. If paint is left to dry in a brush, a solid mass will form in the brush heel (near the ferrule) and will be impossible to remove. Eventually, the brush hairs will be impaired beyond use.
If you are interested in preserving the life of your brushes, and want to learn how to properly take care of your brushes, please read on.
Brush Care Basics:
- Don't dip a dry brush into paint. In a
natural hair brush, especially, it is best to dip the brush first into
medium or water. This distributes the natural oils, allowing each hair
to respond fully.
- Don't use strong paint solvent, lacquer
thinner, shellac remover or acetone to clean brushes. These can
dissolve the setting compounds which hold the hairs in place.
- Don't soak your brushes overnight resting on
their ends. This bends the hairs or bristles permanently out of shape
and can cause wooden handles to swell and loosen the ferrule.
- Don't let brushes dry on a heating element.
The brush hairs can lose their natural oils and the wood handle is
subject to shrinkage.
- Don't use the same brush for different
- Don't use a brush to mix paints on your palette. Use a palette knife.
The following are additional brush care tips that we believe you can use to maximize your brush investment:
Clean your brushes as soon as you are finished painting. Paint of any type, even water-based paint, should never be allowed to dry in a brush. If needed, use a formulated brush cleaner to remove paint from hair. Then use soap and warm water, rinse thoroughly and reshape.
Between use, soak your brushes in water or solvent to keep the paint from drying in the hair. A brush holder that will hold the brushes suspended in the liquid, without crushing the hair, is an excellent investment.
Brushes should dry in an upright position to protect the shape. Allow your brushes to dry thoroughly before storing them in a closed container. A storage container made just for brushes is ideal, but a tool box with a separate compartment for brushes will also work well. Don't store your brushes in such a manner that the hair will be bent or have paints and other materials resting on top of them.
Keep your brush handles dry. Even the finest brush handles will loosen and crack when left soaking. Fill your water or solvent container so that it just covers the brush head, and the handle doesn't get wet.
Don't use watercolor brushes in acrylics or oils and expect them to deliver the same performance afterwards - they won't. You can use watercolor brushes with other mediums, but don’t switch back and forth.
Don't use expensive natural hair brushes on rough surfaces, including rough or textured canvas, or they will wear out very quickly. Synthetics are more suited to these surfaces, and less costly to replace when they wear out.
Condition your Natural Hair brushes.
Lard oil is our recommendation. It's inexpensive, found in any good
hardware store and is just what a brush needs after weeks of painting on
rough surfaces, and being cleaned with solvents.
To rejuvenate your brushes, spread out an old heavy rag, lay down your brushes with heads all pointing in one direction, then put a drop or two of oil on each brush head. Gently work the oil into the hair and wrap the brushes up in the towel (making sure brush heads aren't bent). Store for up to 2 weeks and when you unwrap the brushes, the oil should be fully absorbed. Wash brushes gently and they are ready to paint.
Artist Brushstrokes - Brush Education - Protecting Your Brushes
Caring for your brush investment
Ensuring that your favorite brushes last long and continue to perform well require a bit of maintenance on your part. Proper brush cleaning and maintenance will maximize your brush investment.