Proper Care For Your Brushes

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An artist’s brush can be an expensive purchase, but using quality tools to create your art is important.

If you’ve gone from buying the least costly brushes you can find to investing in brushes of superior quality, it’s essential to care for them properly.

Whether you’re painting with oils, acrylics, tempera, encaustics or watercolors, a proper cleaning and conditioning will maintain and extend the life of your most important implements.

Three Basics Of Brush Care Every Artist Should Know

1. Properly Clean Your Brushes

If you allow pigment to build up at the base of your brush, the hairs push apart, and the brush can’t hold its shape. A pointed brush won’t hold a point; a round becomes shaggy and a flat is no longer flat. This can happen with watercolor paint, as well as with oils or acrylics. A well-cleaned and conditioned brush holds more paint and provides a smoother, even flow when applied to canvas or paper.

2. Avoid Using Damaging Products Or Methods

Never use hot water to clean brushes. Warm water helps dissolve paint, white hot water can actually coagulate paint residue. Strong detergents and paint removers strip natural bristle brushes of its oils and can damage the hairs. This may make it impossible to reshape the brush into its proper contour. Only use products that are recommended for artist’s tools. These formulations are specifically designed to be safe for both your and your tools.

3. Reshape, Dry And Store Properly

After properly cleaning your brush, dry the handle and ferrule with a lint-free cloth. Reshape the bristles and stand upright in a container with the bristles facing up. Never store your brushes with the bristle facing downward, and never store them in a sealed container until they are thoroughly dried to prevent the formation of mildew. A properly cared-for paint brush can last for many years – perhaps even a lifetime.

General Pencil Company The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver 2.5 0z. ASIN: B0009RRT9Y

The Masters Brush Cleaner And Preserver has been protecting artists’ brushes since 1979. It removes varnish, oil, acrylic, watercolors and other pigments from your brush while preserving the bristles to keep your precious tools in like-new condition.

Formulated with help from a cosmetic laboratory, The Masters Brush Cleaner preserves and conditions your brushes in the same way as the products you use when you shampoo your hair. By retaining the original luster and shape of your brushes, they’ll perform as well as the day you purchased them.

Condition And Protect

To give a brush a deep-conditioning treatment, clean the bristles with The Masters Brush Cleaner. Next, swirl the brush in the product and work into a lather. Leaving the lather on the bristles, reshape the brush and allow it to dry. When you’re ready to paint again, simply shake the bristles to remove the powder, and you’re back in business.

Renew And Restore Brushes

Before throwing out those stiff, old brushes that have been languishing in your tabouret, try The Masters Brush Cleaner And Preserver. You may need to use it several times and allow the bristles to soak a bit, but chances are you’ll wind up giving new life to most of those old brushes. After your final cleaning, work up a lather on the brush, reshape the bristles and allow it to dry.

A Cautionary Word For Makeup Artists

The Art And Creative Materials Institute has tested and certified this cleaner for safety. However, it has never been tested for cosmetic use, and the manufacturer does not recommend its use for cleaning cosmetic brushes.

A good brush can cost $100.00 or more, so proper care is crucial. Using this inexpensive but effective cleaner and preservative is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to add years to your brushes’ lives. It’s a good idea to keep one of these handy cleaners in your travel painting kit, as well as one for your studio.

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