Care for your paint brush with these tips
You owe your paint brush the best care. And these tips will teach you how to give it.
1. Rinse new brushes well to remove sizing.
To avoid damage while shipment, new brushes are often packaged with a water-soluble “glue” that holds the bristles together (even brushes shipped with a plastic cover over the bristles may have sizing in the paint brush). The bristles will feel stiff and crusty and may even get entirely glued together.
If you merely break the bristles free of the size while the paint brush is still dry, a residue of sizing will remain in the paint brush, impairing its performance and causing it to dry hard again. At least until you’ve painted with it long enough to allow the sizing to gradually wash off.
Rather doing that, rinse a fresh paint brush under warm running water and massage the sizing out of the bristles with your fingertips. It normally takes between 30 seconds and a minute to thoroughly rinse off all of the sizing. This step is only necessary when purchasing the paint brush for the first time.
2. Before you begin painting, wet the brushes you want to use and allow them to absorb some water.
Natural hair brushes, in particular, need a few seconds to absorb water before exhibiting predictable behavior. As synthetics improved (becoming more similar to real hair in behavior), this became true for them as well.
When you’re ready to paint, dip the paint brush in clean water, wipe the excess, and place it on your table (preferably tip down).
In addition to enabling the paint brush hairs to absorb water, this permits some water to travel up into the ferrule by capillary action. If any old paint was not completely washed off, this will allow it time to disintegrate and be rinsed out before it has a chance to make an uninvited appearance in your first wash. Additionally, having some water in the ferrule dilutes any paint that does go that far up.
3. Rinse one more before proceeding with the painting.
If any paint remained after the last painting session, this will allow it to be rinsed away fully immediately, before it may contaminate your initial wash. This is particularly useful if you’re working with bright hues such as phthalo blues and greens, or quinacridone reds, violets, and oranges. A trace of these vibrant hues remaining in the ferrule may find its way into your initial few brushstrokes. It’s rather infuriating if you intended to lay down a pure, light yellow!
4. Avoid soaking brushes in rinse water.
When painting with acrylics, it is customary to soak the paint brush in rinse water to prevent the paint from drying on the bristles. You may have been trained to do this as a youngster while using watercolour or tempera paint to avoid dropping a paint-filled paint brush on the table.
While brushes with relatively stiff bristles and plastic handles may withstand this, a soft watercolour paint brush with a lacquered hardwood handle would rapidly deteriorate. Water absorbs into the handle’s wood, swelling it, cracking the lacquered gloss, and loosening the ferrule (the metal collar that secures the bristles) from the handle.
Even if you merely immerse the paint brush tip in water, capillary action and time will bring the water up into the ferrule, where it may be absorbed by the handle’s wood. In certain situations, the glue that secures the handle to the ferrule is also destroyed, resulting in the handle falling off. In certain brushes, the paint brush hairs are bonded in place, and if left soaking in water, the paint brush may begin to loose hairs.
Rather of that, have a sponge or towel nearby to wipe the paint brush dry and lay it flat or tip down until the next time you need it. While a paint brush rest or chopstick rest is convenient for resting a paint brush, a pair of towels will do. Click here to get how to know any paint brush.
If you already have this tendency from acrylic painting, one technique is to temporarily use a tiny, light container for rinsing water. It’s a bit of a pain since you’ll have to replace the rinse water more often, but if the container seems like it’s about to topple over due to the weight of the paint brush, it’ll serve as a reminder to avoid leaving the paint brush soaking.
I paint in both watercolour and acrylic, and I separate my rinse water into various containers to assist remind me not to saturate my watercolour brushes. (If you paint with acrylics, you may want to read my post on acrylic brush cleaning methods for suggestions on how to avoid paint from drying in your acrylic brushes until you end a painting session and have time to wash them.) Click here for more information about other techniques for cleaning and storing paint brushes.
5. When you’re finished for the day, properly rinse them with clean water and set them aside to dry tip down.
If any remaining watercolour dries in the paint brush or ferrule, it will not damage the brush. Even if watercolour is left undissolved for twenty years, it may be redissolved in water. However, capillary action sometimes draws a little amount of pigment into the ferrule. If you let the paint brush to dry tip down, the majority of the colour will migrate down into the ferrule, making it simpler to rinse before beginning your next painting session.
I take an additional painting support, prop one end with a rolled-up towel, put another tiny towel over it, and dry my brushes tip down over it.
6. Avoid storing damp brushes in jars.
It looks nice and keeps your brushes handy, which is why many people store their brushes in jars, tip up. Likewise, I do (well, my acrylic brushes, anyway). However, not until they are completely dry!
Allowing them to dry on their sides in the jar causes water to trickle down into the ferrule, where it has little chance of evaporating. This creates the same issues as soaking your brushes in rinse water. I have numerous watercolour brushes with broken lacquer and dangling ferrules as a result of reusing them before they were completely dry. Check out also Photoshop tutorials for beginners.