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How to Choose and Care for Your Arts and Crafts Paintbrushes
By: Maria Nerius
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Learn the differences between the many craft paintbrushes out there and use our quick and easy guide to learn how to care for your brushes.
Round Brush: Brush usually with a round ferrule and round shape brush tip that can come to a point or be trimmed flat. The size can go from 000 (tiny fine tip) to 10 (big fat brush).
Flat Brush: Brush with long bristles with a square- cut brush tip and a ferrule that is somewhat flat usually size by number such as 2, 8, or 16 or by fraction 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”
Hake Brush: Oriental brushes that are very fluffy and absorbent available round and flat best known for their use in Sumi-e or Oriental brush stroking.
Stencil Brush: Very stiff round brush with flat or even tip used dry, loaded with paint, crème paint or ink and with a circular motion applied to surface in combination with a stencil.
Make-Up Brushes: Usually very “fluffy” used to apply chalks and pastels.
Stipple Brush: Stiff round brush with uneven tip used dry, paint or ink is loaded onto brush and brush is pounced onto surface giving texture.
Specialty Brushes: Do very specific techniques and include such brushes as Filbert, One Stroke, Mop, Rake, Fan, Liner, or Paste.
Sponges: Different types and sizes, including natural and synthetic giving either a smooth or textured look when loaded with color and pounced on surface.
Natural brushes are made of animal hair and are usually the most costly and time consuming to make. Most painters feel that a natural brush gives the finest chiseled edge or point. Synthetic brushes are manufactured with hairs made of polyester. The advantages of a synthetic brush include being less expensive to produce, easier to clean, less prone to damage from solvents and paint, and better suited for painting with acrylics. Please note that brushes should be wet when working with liquid color unless other wise stated (dry brushing techniques).
The Paintbrush is a Versatile Tool
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