TIP 2 -Preserving brushes.
Brushes are some of the most expensive items we use and here are some tips to make them last longer.
- Dry the brushes facing downward, so liquid doesn't run into the ferrule. Here is a device I found in an art magazine and built for my studio. These are simple springs from the hardware store, attached to a small board with a glue gun. I then attach the board in my studio, usually on the end of a rolling cart, and I have a multi-width brush holder. For wide brushes, I drill a small hole in the handle and hang it from a wire hook added to the spring. A photo is on the right.
I used two sizes of springs, one for narrow brushes and one for slightly wider. The beauty is brush handles are tapered so you just insert the brush handle and then pull upward until it is fairly tight. I've been using the same artificial brushes for my water soluble oils for several years and they still work like brand new.
- Another tip is to use a good brush cleaner. I really like the Masters Brush Cleaner. It comes in several sizes with the large 24 oz. size being the best value. You just use water and rub on some cleaner and rinse. It even works for brushes you left to dry accidentally. Just rub the cleaner in and let it work for a few hours.
- While working with your brushes, it's best not to store them upright, as the paint and medium runs into the ferrule. I sit when painting outdoors (gotta save my legs for racewalking. LOL.) so I use a slotted brush holder lying down next to me on a cloth. The brushes then won't roll around. Part of this tip is to use a brush for each major color group to save cleaning, as you can just lightly wipe the brush to go to the next similar colors. I tear up old T-shirts to use as wipe rags, then cyle them through as they dry to reuse. Here is a photo of my brush holder. You can just cut grooves in any piece of wood or find anything else with slots to use.
- Having been painting for a long time, with many media, I've collected a lot of brushes. Here is a storage idea I built from plywood that I use in my studio, on my workspace. It's stepped so I have smaller items on the left, and taller items on the right, with "normal" brushes in the middle. It's OK to store dry brushes upright like this.