How often do you replace your brush? Fiona finds out.
 

I know paint brushes don’t last forever, but until recently, I wasn’t sure how often I should be replacing them.

Are they like toothbrushes - with a recommended three month turn-over? Or are they more like hair brushes - that could become family heirlooms (if you’re into sentimentally handing down particles of your own scalp)?

Answering this question is difficult because there are so many variables: Type of brush, type of paint, what you paint on, how often you paint, how vigorously you paint, how well you clean your brushes…

A brush’s life-span is going to vary considerably between painters and - like choosing fried food from the corner store - it comes down to learned experience and how much of a gut ache you’re prepared to put up with.

Over my three years of regular painting, I’ve added to my brush collection, but have never thrown any away. When a brush gets too bushy for detailed work, I’ll put it on the backbench and use it for under-painting or general surface coverage painting.

But just when do you make that call? Sometimes a paint brush looks passable, but as you get into the nitty gritty parts of a painting, it starts to become a liability. Instead of laying the paint down in a smooth, even stroke, it creates multiple little paint lines - like a cat trying to finger paint with its claws out. Not pretty.

TellTaleBrushstrokes.jpg

Or you go to place a clean spot of paint down and some curly stray bristles create a fly-spotted effect around the perimeter of your stroke. Even more not pretty.

Here’s my discovery and handout tip: If a brush is even close to reaching this point, it’s time to move it to the back bench.

OldBrushes2.jpg
OldBrushes1.jpg

Yes, you can still make it work, but the frustration and gut-ache experienced while painting (and the ensuing end result) does not justify avoiding the hassle of replacing the brush.

And as a bonus hand out tip: Maybe don’t bequest your hairbrushes - it’s icky and frankly, a little bit creepy.

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