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Which brush should I use?

'A craftsman is only as good as his tools' goes the saying. But what does that mean? If, for example, an aspiring furniture painter starts using expensive, professional brushes they will magically achieve a perfect, professional finish?

Of course not! The result of a job is, first of all, a matter of technique, which takes time and practice to develop. And I am sure that a good craftsman will manage to achieve the desirable result even without special tools.

HOWEVER: when we start learning a new craft, such as furniture painting, and we struggle with even small steps (e.g. how do I hold my brush? How much water do I need?) why not make our lives easier, by using good quality materials and tools? Imagine, for example, that your result is uneven, like in the photo below, with visible, uneven brush strokes.

What did you do wrong? What could be the problem?

  1. The paint itself. Different brands have different qualities and thickness. For example, the paint might be too thick and requires some thinning with water.

  2. Your technique. Maybe you apply the colour sloppily, using small brush strokes that leave marks.

  3. The surface you are painting. It's not the same to paint on raw wood, melamine or high gloss surfaces. For example, raw wood absorbs a lot of moisture and requires more water when you paint.

  4. The brush you are using. If, for example, you are using a small, flat brush to paint a large surface, you will not easily achieve a uniform result.

Now, you may say, 'how I am supposed to know what's wrong? Until today I hadn't ever even held a brush in my hand!

Exactly! So, doesn't it make sense to start with the right tools, so that we know that at least we can cross this off our list?

So, let's talk about brushes! There are some basic rules that will prevent you from getting frustrated, and will help you achieve a uniform result.

1. DON'T use brushes that are very old and stiff. A brush like this will not apply our paint in a smooth, uniform manner. On the contrary, it will leave unattractive lines and brush strokes and will frustrate us. Use new or well maintained brushes with flexible soft bristles, which will glide on your surface and help you apply the colour evenly.

2. Use the right brush for each job.

According to my experience, the number one brush you will need is a round or oval one.

It can be used on large surfaces but also in corners within shelves, and also on carvings, spindles, and chair legs.

For large surfaces you could also use a good flat brush with long flexible bristles.

For details and small projects, I recommend a small 2,5-3 cm flat brush. My favourite is this brush, which has needle point bristles that become thinner at the top, giving you amazing control.

3. Look after your brushes!

As soon as we finish painting, we wash our brushes thoroughly with warm water and soap. Make sure that the paint is removed not only at the top but also at the brush's base. To clean that area, hold your brush vertically under the tap until the water runs clear. Also, it won't hurt to condition your brushes with hair conditioner every now and then, to soften the bristles!

No matter what brushes you select, make sure they are soft and they don't shed! Otherwise you will end up picking bristles from your surface with your tweezers! If you choose good brushes and you take good care of them, you will have reliable toos for your creations and you can focus on the creative part of the process!

*If you want to start building your collection of brushes, I have selected a kit (right) containing all my favourites for you!

-a professional flat 2,5 εκ.

-a professional flat 5 εκ.

-a round brush 3,5 εκ.

-a round brush 2 εκ.

-a stencil brush

They are all you will need for big and small projects!

Happy painting!