Paint Brushes

Tips on how to maintain your paint brush

If you’re seeking ways to keep your paint brush in good condition, these recommendations will point you on the right path.

As soon as you get home, unroll or unfold brush carriers.

If you’re bringing your brushes to a workshop or a Plein air session in a brush carrier, make careful to unroll or open it immediately upon arrival to enable moisture to dissipate. It is preferable to remove your brushes and let them dry fully before repacking, although this may not be possible during a multi-day course or while traveling. However, take the time to open your paint brush container and air out your brushes.

Apart from the issues of handles breaking and ferrules loosening, storing brushes in a closed container might result in mold growth. Numerous watercolor paints include additives such as honey or glycerin to aid in their moisture retention. While a jar of honey is unlikely to develop mold due to its low water content, molds like the (very diluted) honey in your paint! Once mold contamination occurs in your brushes or paints, it may be quite difficult to eliminate, therefore it’s better to avoid allowing it to begin.

Do not be alarmed if a paint brush becomes smushed and dries in an unusual form.

While I’m sure some of you spring out of bed looking perfectly put-together, my hair is prone to bed-head. Fortunately, a shower corrects this.

Occasionally, a paint brush falls to the bottom of your tote bag and develops “bed-head” as well. It may be somewhat worse than my morning hair, since the paint brush may have been there for days or even weeks before being detected.

Using warm water, you may reshape the paint brush. If it’s been hidden in the bottom of your tote bag for an extended period of time, you may need to massage it for a few minutes under warm water before it cooperates. If that is insufficient, dab the paint brush to remove excess water and reshape and secure the bristles with hair gel. Once the brush has dried, just rinse out the hair gel as you would wash from a new paint brush, and you should be good to go. I’ve had to repeat the technique a few times on rare instances to thoroughly restructure the paint brush.

Trimming a brush to a better point is not a good idea

Occasionally, a paint brush hair or two may stick straight out to the side, and the warm-water method will not resolve the issue. The brush hair may be partly broken in this instance, and the best treatment is to cut that one (or two) hairs at the ferrule. However, do not attempt to alter a whole paint brush with trimming.

It is just not effective. A paint brush comes to a point because it has long hairs in the center AND because each hair (even synthetic ones) has a natural taper. Trimming the paint brush eliminates the natural taper and decreases the likelihood of obtaining a nice point.

Three typical reasons why a paint brush will not come to a sharp tip are as follows:

1. It is inadequately constructed

Regrettably, there is no way to correct this. The simplest method to prevent this issue is to get your brushes (at least the more costly ones) from an art supply shop that allows you to test the paint brush in clear water before purchasing. You can read about These tips will make your paint brush last long by visiting

Even a high-quality paint brush might be damaged during delivery or by other customers using it in the shop, so this is particularly beneficial if the paint brush is not sized or protected. While it may still be a perfectly excellent paint brush, testing it will confirm that it has not been harmed.

2. The brush’s longest hairs have been damaged or split.

A decent natural hair or high-quality paint brush may last a few months or a lifetime, depending on your style. To break down a paint brush in a few months, you have to be rather tough with it, although forcefully stabbing at the paper, scrubbing, and dry-brushing may be taxing on a paint brush.

My approach is to use one of the beautiful synthetics or synthetic-natural hair mix brushes available today, to paint freely, and to replace the paint brush every two or three years.

As of today, a size 14 Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable brush (long regarded as the “gold standard” of watercolor brushes) retails for $499! (However, because nothing sells at “list price,” you’re likely to find one on sale for “just” $300-350.) A size 14 retails for $1299!!! Yikes!

I’m not sure who purchases these brushes, given you can get an as nice (in fact, I believe superior) Escoda kolinsky size 10 for between $50 and $80 ($120 for a size 14). Until roughly five years ago, this was my go-to paint brush.

However, synthetic brushes have improved to the point that I much prefer to use a considerably less costly synthetic and not have to worry about treating it gently enough. Not only are synthetic brushes less expensive, but they also typically hold up well to more aggressive painting methods. My go-to paint brush at the moment is either an Escoda Prado or a Silver Black Velvet. I can get a size 12-16 for less than $25 and it will last many years before losing its sharp tip. Given how often I paint and how frequently I use this paint brush, that’s not bad.

When I get a new one, I continue to use the old one (there are occasions when a sharp tip is unnecessary).

3. There is something dried in the ferrule.

This is a much bigger issue with acrylic than with watercolor, but even with watercolor, dried paint or binder (gum arabic) in the ferrule base inhibits the paint brush hairs from resting as near to one another as they should, preventing the tip from coming together sharply.

If a brush seems to want to split into two points, it is nearly likely due to dried muck in the ferrule.

If the issue is with watercolor, ordinary water will dissolve it; nevertheless, it might take an unexpectedly long time to dissolve stuff that has dried within the ferrule. Capillary action is required to transport the rinse water up there and then back out. Click here to read more about Capillary Action.

You may expedite the process by holding the paint brush handle in one hand and the paint brush hairs in the other at the ferrule, and forcefully wriggling the whole mass of brush hairs back and forth near the ferrule. If you use a little amount of shampoo or soap, you will often be able to see the color flowing out of the ferrule in the soap foam, which can assist you in ensuring that you have removed all of the dried paint.

If the dried substance is acrylic paint or glue, it is often possible to remove it by wriggling a citrus-based cleanser (such as CitraSolv or GooGone) into the brush hairs near the ferrule and allowing the cleaner to migrate into the ferrule. Allow it to soak overnight before washing with shampoo or castile soap. This procedure may need to be repeated multiple times to completely remove dried acrylic paint or adhesive.

These tips will make your paint brush last long

If longevity is something you’re looking to achieve with your paint brush, you may want to pay attention to the tips below.

Never use masking fluid with your fine brushes!

The masking fluid dries quickly! In the time it takes to mask a tiny area, a paint brush may be ruined since the masking fluid often dries in the paint brush at the ferrule while still running at the tip. Take no chances!

While you should apply masking fluid with a nice paint brush, go for an affordable synthetic of high quality. Princeton Brush offers a series of Snap! white and gold Taklon (nylon) brushes that are surprisingly well-behaved and reasonably priced. Numerous other lines of white- and gold-Taklon (nylon) brushes are comparable. You should be able to purchase a nice masking paint brush for less than $5.


Wet ANY paint brush for masking with soap solution before to use.

Simply dampen my masking paint brush and scrape it around on an Ivory soap bar. I take extra care to rub soap into the region around the ferrule to keep the masking fluid OUT!

I use basic Ivory soap since it has no moisturizers or oils that might interfere with the flow of water-based media.

Some people use a soap and water solution, but I find that a bar of soap is faster and simpler. You can read about How to Paint a Ceiling: 5 Easy Steps for Painting Your Ceiling by clicking here.

Types of Paint Brushes

Angled and flat paint brushes are offered. Angled brushes are excellent for cutting in around corners and achieving straight lines. When you want a very sharp line, use a fine angled paint brush. A broader, angled brush carries more paint and is ideal for painting ceilings and trim.

When painting a big, flat surface, flat brushes perform nicely. Certain flat brushes are designed specifically for use on the trim or on walls.

Bristle Terminations

The bristle ends have an effect on the paint brush’s ability to take up and release paint onto the painted surface. Higher-end brushes with flagged or exploded hairs allow you to take up more paint with each dip. Additionally, the split ends aid in the paint flowing smoothly and without paint brush traces.

Sizes of Brushes

The size of the paint brush has an effect on its suitability for certain work, taking into account both the bristle area’s breadth and the bristle thickness. While thick brushes carry more paint and allow you to cover more land before reloading, thinner brushes are lighter and provide greater control. Visit to read about Types of Paint Brushes.

Select a paint brush that is broad enough to cover well yet small enough to allow you precise control over the paint application. When painting tight trim, a large paint brush is ineffective. A two- to two-and-a-half-inch brush is a suitable all-purpose size for a number of jobs. Choose a 1-inch paint brush if you’re painting thin trim or tight places. Large, flat surfaces benefit from a 4-inch brush, which allows for speedier coverage.

Paintbrushes of Superior Quality

Whatever sort of paint brush you choose, pay close attention to the build quality for the finest results. Throughout the ferrule, look for thick bristles. Bend the paint brush back toward the base to conduct a test. A solid paint brush jumps back to its original position. A tapering shape with a narrow profile at the end and flagged tips provide superior control and coverage.

Choose a paint brush with a sturdy design and bristles that are appropriate for the job at hand. When you do, you provide your consumers with smooth, high-quality finishes that keep them coming back to you time and time again.

How to choose the proper paint brush

Have you lately visited a home center to purchase paintbrushes? If not, you’re in for a rude awakening. The ordinary home center and hardware shop have hundreds of different varieties of paintbrushes in an almost infinite range of sizes, styles, prices, materials, lengths, and bristle types. Choosing the appropriate paint brush is almost as challenging as selecting the appropriate paint color.

Fortunately, just a few brushes are required to complete the great majority of do-it-yourself painting tasks. Thus, here are four points to consider the next time you go paint brush shopping:

Type of Bristles: Bristles (sometimes referred to as filaments) are available in two primary forms on paintbrushes: natural and synthetic. Natural bristles are derived from animal hair, often hog or badger. Synthetic bristles are often composed of nylon, polyester, or a mix of the two materials. Natural-bristle brushes work better with oil-based alkyd paints, whereas synthetic-bristle brushes work best with water-based latex paints. When using a natural-bristle brush to apply latex paint, the bristles absorb the water in the paint and become exceedingly limp, making it almost hard to distribute the paint.

Certain synthetic brushes are suitable for both latex and alkyd paint application. Check the brush’s package to confirm it’s suitable with the paint you’re using.

Width of paint brush: Brushes are available in a broad range of widths, often ranging from around 1 inch to 5 inches. While a larger paint brush allows for more paint to be applied, you should always match the brush width to the surface being painted. Additionally, it is preferable to use a paint brush that is somewhat thinner than the surface. For instance, if painting a four-inch-wide window casing, use a three-and-a-half-inch-wide paint brush. A paint brush with a diameter of 4 inches or more will overlap the casing’s edges and spill paint.

Bristle Shape: The majority of paint brushes on the market today are square-cut. They’re ideal for holding and applying paint to almost any surface. However, when painting into corners, up to neighboring surfaces, or along tight edges or surfaces, square-cut brushes may not give as much control. For more precise control, use a sash paint brush with slightly angled bristles. Sash brushes excel for cutting in around the edge of space.

Bristle Tips: Brushes of higher grade have bristled with flagging or broken ends. Flagged bristles retain more paint and distribute it more evenly. Certain brushes, particularly sash brushes, have pointed tips, which are distinct from flagged ends. The tips of tipped brushes are pointed; they are not cut flat and straight like a regular paint brush is.

Types of Paint Brushes

According to the substance used to make them, there are four primary varieties of paint brush.

  • Paint brushes made of natural hair Natural hair paint brushes are of the highest quality and are recommended for use with oil-based paints.
  • Artificial hair bushes. Synthetic hair brushes are constructed of polyester or nylon, which makes them more durable than natural hair brushes. They are less expensive, but have a downside in that the bristles tend to come out throughout the painting process.
  • Raised bristles. Bristles of flagged paint brushes are split. They are used solely for latex painting. Split ends aid in the retention of more paint on the paint brush. Additionally, it leaves less marks on the wall while painting.
  • Brushes with different sizes. Brushes exist in a variety of shapes and sizes, and no painter is complete without at least a few distinct types. Brushes of various sizes are available, including little brushes, large brushes, and brushes for angles.

After Use, How to Care for Paint Brushes

It makes no difference what kind of paint brushes you have – the appropriate approach to care for them is always the same.

  • Immediately clean the paint brush after use. To increase the life of your paint brush and avoid throwing it away prematurely, clean your paint brushes immediately after use.
  • Between paints, clean the paint brush. If you’re taking pauses between paints, such as a 15-minute break between walls, you should clean your paint brush at this time. Even if you want to continue using the same paint.
  • Clean the bristle base. Although the region around the ferrule is the most difficult to clean, it is necessary to begin there in order to do it correctly. 
  • Never keep your brushes upright in water, even if it takes more than 15 minutes. Leaving your paint brush vertically submerged in water or any kind of cleaning liquid may easily bend the bristles, permanently altering their shape. Additionally, water may enter the base of the bristles and remove the glue that holds them in place, resulting in bristles falling out.
  • Vertically store clean brushes, head-side up. Or, if you want, horizontally. Ensure they are completely dry before storing them. As long as no pressure is applied to the head side, you’re set to go. Click here to Learn how to clean and store your brushes.

Is it preferable to use natural or synthetic brushes?

I understand that for the majority of artists, deciding which brushes to use may be really challenging. However, it is important to understand your alternatives and that there are significant distinctions between the brushstrokes achievable with synthetic and natural hair brushes. Visit to read about Tips on how to maintain your paint brush.

Natural hair brushes are more expensive to manufacture, which means the artist pays a greater price. However, in today’s world, synthetic alternatives are often very dazzling and, in some situations, outperform real hair options.

What is the definition of a sable paint brush?

The term ‘sable’ is a misnomer, since the hairs of the sable, a tiny carnivorous animal, are not utilized to manufacture painters’ brushes. We refer to it as ‘weasel’ hair in the brush-making profession. For example, the hairs for Kolinsky sable brushes originate from the kolinsky, a Siberian weasel belonging to the Mustelidae family. Kolinsky’s hair is ideal for artist brushes owing to its conical form and powerful character, which includes a long, tapering tip and a thick belly.

Frequently Asked Questions about the many kinds of paint brushes

How large of a paint brush should I use?

This is a perplexing question. To begin, painters often use brushes in even or odd sizes, such as 2, 4, 6, 8, and so on, to avoid their brushes being too similar in size to one another. The best course of action is to get one of our complimentary mail-order catalogues, which include actual-size photographs of all of our brushes.

Which brushes are the finest for painting outdoors?

It’s not that they’re specifically meant for outdoor usage, but some brushes are simpler to clean and get the stroke you need fast when painting en Plein air. I’d prefer short-handled synthetic brushes, such as those in our Ivory or Evergreen collections, for on-the-go usage with oils and acrylics. We offer an excellent selection of travel brushes for watercolours.

Which brushes are ideal for impasto painting?

Impasto requires a paint brush that is very thick and capable of carrying a large amount of colour. We do indeed manufacture an impasto brush variety, the smallest of which is one inch broad. Due to the bristles being firm and synthetic, they are simple to clean and durable.

What distinguishes a swordliner, a dagger, and a rigger?

A dagger paint brush has an angular form and a tip that is more pointed. It works really well for painting flowers, waves, clouds, and organic patterns. A sword liner is a longer variant of a dagger that provides for more flexibility and pigment carrying capacity. Both have a sharp edge, which enables them to draw delicate lines as well.

The rigger is a long-pointed circular paint brush that is used to paint thin lines such as hair and ship rigging. If you find riggers to be too difficult to manage, consider a sword liner.

Can I paint with acrylics using oil or watercolour brushes?

You certainly can. However, keep in mind that acrylic paint rapidly destroys brushes. It’s advisable to keep your finest brushes for watercolours and oils and keep your acrylic brushes separate.

What exactly is a “single-stroke” paint brush?

A single stroke is a colloquial term for a long flat paint brush. They were initially used to paint the sides of canal boats and coaches, with the concept being that the paint brush would only need to be dipped once to make a single stroke.

Which paint brush is the best for varnishing?

Personally, I believe that the Series 444 is the greatest varnish paint brush on the market. Due to the fact that it is composed of badger fur, it is coarse but soft and has an enormous carrying capacity. It seamlessly combines the varnish and provides excellent control.

Final thoughts

With the tips mentioned here, you can easily tell which paint brush is which.