How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Paint Brushes
Some art products never seem to last that long. Blades for your cutting knife tend to dull out after a couple of small projects, and some acrylic paints - we're looking at you, White - tend to run out so much that you might as well buy two at a time. However, important tools like paintbrushes should never be something you have to constantly replace. With good care, you can keep your paintbrushes lasting for years. Here are some quick tips on how to do exactly that!
1. Don't dip the entire brush into a color. The paint should only be touching about a third of your brush length. Getting paint too high up on your brush can cause it to seep into the handle, making the pigment stuck there and causing it to affect your later colors.
2. Keep them protected. There are a range of ways to do this. If you go to an art supply store, there are special paintbrush cases you can purchase that will keep your brushes separated and secure. If you are taking a break from a project and still want to use the paint color that is on the brush, you can even seal these brushes in plastic wrap to keep the paint wet and usable for later.
3. Clean your brushes as soon as possible. As soon as you're finished with your project, wash your brushes with soapy water or paint thinner (for oil-based paints). Never let your brushes sit in a cup of water, as many artists are wont to do. The water can absorb into the wooden handle of your brush, warping the shape of it.
4. Let your brushes fully dry. Some painters prefer to hang their paintbrushes bristles down to dry them. Others lay them on a double layer of towels. No matter which method you choose, make sure to let your brushes dry completely so that the bristles will not get matted or tangled when you go to use them again.
5. Do not lean your brushes on their bristles. Many people like to store their paint brushes in a cup (or clean them in a cup of water). If the bristles are being pressed against a surface at a certain angle for a considerable amount of time, it will cause the bristles to change their shape. It is best to store your brushes bristles side up, in a case where they won't be running into one another, or even better, to hang them bristles side down against a wall.
Follow these simple rules, and your brushes should last you a pretty long time. Happy painting!