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Getting better mileage from your brushes?

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Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by CrazyPainter on Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:02 am

Simple question really. What do you do to keep your brushes in tiptop shape?

Mine aren't that old, but the bristles are starting to spread. I wash the brushes in cold water after every gig, and try to avoid pressing the bristles against anything, like the bottom of a cup, while I'm doing it. They're stored in a cup, brush side up. They're still going south on me. I'm using Snazaroo and (I beleive) WolfeFX brand brushes.

Do these things have a shelf life even if you do keep them nice? What do you guys do?

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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Jessiesgirl1108 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:27 am

I'm having the same issue, I'm am also having a problem with the paint on my brush handle chipping off. I did read, somewhere on here, about washing your brushes and using hair gel on the bristles to straighten them out and then let them dry. I just tried this for the first time last night and as of this morning they look straight. We'll see what happens the next time I paint with them.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Jody Rife on Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:39 am

When my brushes are wet after being cleaned I hang them upside down to dry. This makes them stay in there smooth pointed form. I have a big Snaz kit that has brush attachments in the lid and I open that kit lid and hang my brushes upside down in it. But you can do this other ways too, I have weighted a large sponge and stuck the brush handles up in it so the bristles hang down off the side of the table. It's not a science but something that works for me. Smile
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:13 am

when your brushes are not in use, store them in a brush roll, a strip of fabric that has pockets in it that you just stick your brushes in and roll them up inside. It keeps them separated, organized, and safe. This is what I do and my brushes tend to last a long time.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by AngieAnders on Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:47 pm

There are threads here somewhere advising that you dip your brushes in boiling water to tame the bristles. I've never tried it but heard that it works like a charm! I need to go do that now...
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Psalmbook on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:25 pm

I had something in my kit fall on my brushes, bending a bunch of them. I dipped them in boiling water & reshaped them. It worked great! Just make sure it's a quick dip as long exposures to heat will melt the glue.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:00 pm

Brushes die, it is an unfortunate fact.

Mine get harshly treated as I have to wash and saturate in alcohol between EVERY person I paint.... but they do last a pretty decent length of time.

They also get washed properly at home and are laid flat to dry, along the edge of the counter. I wash with shampoo, shape with my fingers and lay them down. Generally overnight, then put them back in the box I carry them in.

My make-up brushes are treated the same but are stored in a fabric brush roll.

All I can add as a tip to keep them in good condition is:

NEVER let them sit and soak in water (or anything), shape them with your fingers when wet and allow to dry.

If they are splaying you can use a tiny bit of hair gel when shaping them, then let it dry.

But once they start shedding and splaying when you try to use them, they can be either retired to be "scruffy brushes" or tossed. I toss... I have a supply of scruffy brushes to last eons!

And if I catch a brush leaving hairs while I paint I just toss it away and grab another brush. If I don't I'll put it back and it will leave hairs on the next face I use it on!

And in my experience, the pure sables wear out faster - but, I do use them 99% of the time!! So they get worked hard.

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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Lyndell44 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:17 pm

Sometimes the splaying is caused by residual paint caught in the bristles near the ferrule. I clean mine between each person using a technique similar to Shannon's. When I get home, as soon as I can, I wash them all using "The Masters" Brush Cleaner and Preserver. Even though the brushes look clean after multiple rinses in water and alcohol durng use, there is always some paint still there when I wash them with this brush soap. Opinions vary concerning using soap on your brushes, but I'm sort of a clean freak when it comes to my brushes. This soap can even be left in to help reshape brushes. But like Shannon says, when one starts behaving really badly, it meets the bin fairly quickly!
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Tracalla on Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:14 am

I clean my brushes in hot water and masters soap. Once i'm done with that I soak them in 70% alcohol. After the alcohol I rinse them off and roll them in a bar of ivory soap and let them dry. This stiffens the bristles and holds them into shape until I use them next time. I use a 3 cup method for rinsing my brushes at an event. I use one of them as my first rinse so that's where the soap gets rinsed off.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:42 pm

When you say "soak" I hope you mean you just saturate by swishing and remove from the alcohol... ??

Soaking by leaving the brush sitting in a container of alcohol would make the brush aborb it up into the ferrule and possible into a wood handle, which causes the glue to break down quicker, thus the shedding hairs!

We (face painters!) typically use watercolour brushes, not oil/acrylic brushes which may be better able to withstand solvents (as you clean oil paints off with turpentine!)

I spend about $150-200 a year on brushes... but I am buying good sables most of the time which are around $30 each but I try to get them on sale.

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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Tracalla on Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:50 am

No, I don't soak in alcohol, just put them in a cup for a few seconds and then rinse it off. Not in there for long periods of time. I haven't had too much trouble with stray hairs.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:20 pm

i clean mine with ivory soap rinse well..dry the handles off really well so that the paint on the wooden ones don't start to chip..some times I hand them upside down..with the bristle hanging down..the water drips out and the brushes usually have a great point..i have dipped them in boiling water just a tad and that work really well to.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by Sweet Loretta on Mon May 09, 2011 12:03 pm

I clean mine with Masters bar soap or homemade cold processed soap than every so often, and I seem to be doing it more as I see the difference in reataining the bristles, I "treat" them with a dip in Mehron Brush cleaner and treatment.
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by barbb919 on Mon May 09, 2011 1:39 pm

i also try not to get the wood part wet when painting..i only put a small amount of water in my rinse cups i have 4 small stanless steel shot glasses but they work great..when i wash them i dry the handle off right away..and hang with the bristles down ward so the water does not stay in the brush it drips out
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Re: Getting better mileage from your brushes?

Post by barbb919 on Mon May 09, 2011 1:40 pm

oh be careful when hanging so they don't fall and bend the bristles
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