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How to properly care for your brushes? 7 incredible tips!

by Julie World Paint by Number on October 06, 2020
Studies show that painting can help relieve mental and emotional stress, increase cognitive skills and improve motor skills.

However, the hobby of painting can be an expensive, which may end up preventing some beginning artists from starting to explore their talent.

The brush is an artist's best friend, today we will show you 7 tips on how to properly care for them.

1. Know the anatomy of a brush

First of all we must know our brushes! Although the materials and sizes may be different, the anatomy of a brush is quite consistent.

The tip refers, of course, to the end of your brush bristles. While some brushes have a flatter edge, fine-tipped brushes tend to have a pointed tip.

The middle part of your bristles is called the belly because that is where the bristles swell. Fine-tipped brushes have a small belly and are less likely to absorb extra paint.

The bolt is the metal part that provides structural support for the bristles and connects them to the cable. You will notice a pinch point at the edge of the ferrule closest to the handle. This is known as crimp.

The handle is the longest part of a brush and is usually made of wood. You want to find a brush that has a thicker grip between the middle of the handle and the crimp. This is where you will hold your brush most often and this extended grip creates an ergonomic shape.

2. The right bristle material

You will notice that according to the material, brushes tend to cost anywhere between $ 5 and hundreds of dollars. The best quality bristle materials are extremely expensive.

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The first brushes were made for the first time in 1866 at the request of Queen Elizabeth, who was looking for the perfect brush to paint with watercolor. Kolinsky's sable hair comes from a rare Siberian weasel whose hair is worth three times its weight in gold.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a high quality brush. Look for brushes with high quality nylon bristles that compare to sable brushes in touch and durability.

3. Don't let the paint dry on your brushes

After the paint dries on the bristles of a brush, it is much more difficult to clean. This will make the bristles harden. The secret is to keep your brushes wet when they are in use and clean them as soon as you finish using them.


You don't want the paint to dry on the brushes, but you also don't want to dilute the acrylic paint. The solution? Wash each brush before leaving it for more than ten minutes at a time!

4. Do not use hot water

Although it seems intuitive to use scorching water to clean almost anything, the advice is to use warm water with your brushes.

Hot water causes acrylic and oil paints to coagulate. This means that instead of washing away the excess ink, you will end up with thick pieces of dry ink stuck together that change the shape of the bristles.

5. Soak brushes hardened in baby oil

Even when the brushes are clean it can happen to harden over time.

Take a little baby oil without chemicals, preferably with a mineral oil base and aloe vera extract, and soak your brushes for 10 to 15 minutes. When finished, clean them with warm water and washing powder, as usual.

6. Many people forget this area, but it is extremely important

If you allow old paint to accumulate around the hasp, individual bristles may lose their length or bend at odd angles, resulting in a fine or irregular brush stroke.

The best way to protect your bolt is to avoid soaking it with paint in the first place. This means that you do not want to submerge the brush beyond the belly of the bristles when dipping it in the paint.

If your bolt gets stained with acrylic paint over time, get a sewing needle, some alcohol and some paper towels.

Dip the bristles in isopropyl alcohol and then squeeze out any excess ink with the paper towel you can. Then, take your sewing needle and push it very carefully between the bristles near the ferrule. Move it from the base towards the brush tip, moving any paint away from the hasp.


Repeat these steps a few times until the base of the bristles looks cleaner and more flexible.

7. Remodel your brushes and store them properly

After cleaning the brushes, you will need to reshape the tip before drying. Use your fingers to do this because a paper towel or cloth can create friction and pull some of the bristles out.

Final tip, never store your brushes with the bristles touching a hard surface.

The idea is to store them horizontally or with the bristles facing upwards. Make sure that the bristles on one brush are not touching or resting on the bristles on another.

Get paint!

Now that you know how to take care of your main painting instrument, it's time to start. Check out our most popular paint kits by number!
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