Picking the Proper Brush
Did you know the average crafter spends about $65.00 on brushes each year? That's a lot of money, so you need to purchase the right brushes and make them last as long as possible. Here are a few tidbits of information that may save you a lot of money on brushes in the long run.
There is an old saying that, the job is only as good as the tools you use. This holds true for so many things, especially when you are painting ceramics. Any project you do is only as good as the brushes used. If you are not using a high quality brush your items will turn our mediocre at best, and that is not what we strive for. Each of us paints to create attractive items everyone will envy, items we will be proud to display in our home, give as gifts, or even sell in studios. In order to achieve this, you must learn how to choose the proper brush, and how to care for your brushes so they continue to produce the results you desire.
To select the proper brush you must consider a few different things. You must decide on the proper size, the material of the brush, and what style of painting used. The size of your brush must fit your project. If you are base coating you should use the largest brush possible, for trim work you should adjust between various sizes, determined by the width and intricacy of what you are painting. When painting eyes only the finest brush with sharp point should be used.
The material the brush is made of is equally important. Sable hair has long been the preferred material for premium brushes. Brushes of sable hair have superior spring and snap to them along with the ability to retain great amounts of fluid. They also are known for retaining a needle like point and sharp chiseled edges. When painting with this type of brush you will find you are able to produce smooth strokes or subtle blending of colors with greater ease than other types of brushes. There are a few drawbacks to sable brushes though. First off is the price, this type of brush is quite expensive. Second is they do not last very long when used hard, so if you are producing a lot of items you will find yourself going through quite a few brushes.
A good substitute for sable is synthetic taklon, its spring and absorbency is very comparable to, if not superior to sable. Either the golden taklon or white taklon has very sharp points and shards with chiseled edges. The synthetic fibers are very durable resisting breakage. Most any paint can be used with taklon. Clean up is easy and you can purchase these brushes with a variety of handles from kiln dried wood to water resistant plastic. We have found Taklon to be much more economical and durable than sable.
A dry brush is another important tool in a painters kit. Most dry brushes are made of stiff bristles and are white in color. The brush should be fluffy and have a good snap when you run your fingers across the bristles. These brushes do wear out quickly if you do a lot of dry brushing, so select one with long bristles to get extra life.