Paint Brushes

A paintbrush is made by clamping the chosen bristles to a handle with a ferrule and are used to apply paint or ink to paper, canvas, or other chosen mediums. Paint brushes can be made from stiff or soft hairs, which can be natural hairs or synthetic fibres, and come in a variety of sizes. They are versatile tools that are used by artists, painters, decorators and DIY enthusiasts.

Types of Paint Brushes

Synthetic brushes have the advantage of being cheaper than natural hair, made of either nylon or polyester filaments that have been treated in various ways. These brushes are good for acrylic paint, which can be hard on and also damage natural hair brushes and are also ideal for large-scale work. Good synthetic brushes are rugged, maintain their shape well, and can be easily cleaned.

Natural hair brushes normally use fibres from goats, hogs, ponies, camels, badgers, Kolinsky sables and oxen. When working with oil-based or alkyd paints, natural bristle brushes are an excellent choice as they can achieve a smooth and level finish. It is not recommended to use natural filaments with water-based coatings as the natural fibres will absorb water, making them sticky and causing them to lose their shape.

Soft brushes are ideal for thin paints which spread easily, such as watercolour paint, and for detailed work as they can form a point which allows for precision painting.

Hard brushes are ideal for applying thicker paint, particularly in household decorating, and can leave visual brush marks in paint, if so desired.

Bristle shapes

Most brushes are square cut, which is great for holding and laying paint onto virtually any surface. However, square-cut brushes don’t provide as much control when painting into corners, up to adjacent surfaces, or along narrow edges or surfaces. For more precise control, use a sash brush, which has its bristles cut at a slight angle. Sash brushes are particularly well-suited for cutting in around the perimeter of a room.


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