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Cleaning Brushes

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Quick question on cleaning brushes.  How often do you thoroughly clean them?  Obviously cleaning them each time you use them is necessary, but do you go so far as to thoroughly clean them each time you change colors?  Or do you just give them a good water rinse between colors?  Some of both depending on the paint/colors/etc.?  

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A good rinse between colors is fine.

 

Two rinse jars when working. Dip the brush in Pink Soap or use Master's Hockey Puck Brush Cleaner. Don't use a rinse container that looks like your drinking cup.

 

Metals have mica flakes so you're supposed to keep metals separate from other paints. Frex, I'll do metals last on a miniature (with a cheap sable Nail Arts brush from Amazon), then throw away the parchment paper on the wet palette, and change rinse containers. 

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Always a good water rinse between colors. Serious cleaning with actual brush soap for me is limited to my W&N series 7 brushes. Those brushes cost 15-30 dollars apiece, so they get a lot more TLC than my cheap brushes and they are never used for drybrushing. My cheap brushes it usually more efficient to replace them rather than to clean them with the brush soap I use. I have a brush tub that I order from Amazon for about 10 dollars that is sectioned off with one half set up to hold the brushes at a 45degree angle in the clean water and the other half with a series of panels to draw the brush across in the water to clean.

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Hey thanks for the quick replies!  Fortunately I knew about the "problems" that metallics can cause as well as the abuse that brushes go through when dry brushing.  Of course, I also have not yet gotten a good brush (next item to buy on my supplies/minis list).  I just wanted to make sure that I did take good enough care of my brushes as even with the cheap brushes I don't see any need to be wasteful, but for my good brushes I definitely want to keep them going for as long as possible!

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FWIW, I don't always rinse thoroughly between colors. It's often important when going between a saturated color and white, but when going between moderately dark colors, very little or no rinsing is necessary.

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$15 - $30 for W&Ns? 

Sheesh...  

 

I clean ALL my brushes with Masters. Yes, even the crappy ones.

(I'm relatively new at this and are desperately trying to build up some good habits)

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$15 - $30 for W&Ns? 

Sheesh...  

 

I clean ALL my brushes with Masters. Yes, even the crappy ones.

(I'm relatively new at this and are desperately trying to build up some good habits)

 

But one of those brushes will last you a year or more, depending on how well you take care of it.

 

I wash my brushes with Masters soap at the end of a session, or if I see paint in the ferrule. I let the lather dry on the bristles to keep them trained to a point.

I'll give the brushes a quick 10 minute soak in W&N Brush Cleaner and Restorer every few months, depending how stained the brush hairs are.

Between colours it's just a quick rinse.

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I wash mine every other session or so (unless I get too much paint on the brush and have to give it a wash after the session). Usually I like to keep 2 water cups nearby, one will have a tad bit of Pink Soap in the water and the other will just be straight water. I'll swirl in the pink soap one and then rinse it in the straight water one. Masterson's I'll use to really clean it out and if for some reason I have a bunch in the ferrule or forgot to clean a brush and it has some dried on paint on it, I'll use the Brush Restorer and let it soak for a few hours, that stuff is awesome.

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$15 - $30 for W&Ns?

Sheesh...

 

I clean ALL my brushes with Masters. Yes, even the crappy ones.

(I'm relatively new at this and are desperately trying to build up some good habits)

But one of those brushes will last you a year or more, depending on how well you take care of it.

 

I wash my brushes with Masters soap at the end of a session, or if I see paint in the ferrule. I let the lather dry on the bristles to keep them trained to a point.

I'll give the brushes a quick 10 minute soak in W&N Brush Cleaner and Restorer every few months, depending how stained the brush hairs are.

Between colours it's just a quick rinse.

^This^

 

And my teenage daughter will clean ALL my brushes with Master's soap every few weeks...

 

She likes doing it for some reason...

But won't sit down and paint with me...

Edited by knarthex
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A good rinse between colors is fine.

 

Two rinse jars when working. Dip the brush in Pink Soap or use Master's Hockey Puck Brush Cleaner. Don't use a rinse container that looks like your drinking cup.

 

Metals have mica flakes so you're supposed to keep metals separate from other paints. Frex, I'll do metals last on a miniature (with a cheap sable Nail Arts brush from Amazon), then throw away the parchment paper on the wet palette, and change rinse containers. 

LOL'd at the drinking cup advice--and it's advice I share too.  Best is to not leave your rinse cup anywhere near the coffee...

 

And agreed on the metals.  Unless you want *surprise sparkles* elsewhere on your models, never rinse metallics in the same water as your other paints.

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I guess I'm the poster child of what not to do. :P

I paint for around 4 hours almost every night. My brush gets a thorough cleaning maybe once every month or two. However I always try not to load more than hallway up the bristles of my brush. I like using the biggest brush I can get away with, usually a comparable size 2 or 3 of the Series 7. I do rinse often during painting and after the session I give the brushes I used a final rinse i my rinse cup.

 

I only use one rinse cup for both non-metallic and metallic paints, with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. I change my rinse cup water maybe once a week. No noticeable contamination yet.

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I'm at the 'it's better to be safe' end of the spectrum. I rinse them thoroughly...pretty much constantly. Paint by nature will dry out and by thoroughly rinsing almost every time I reload the brush I'm pretty sure it stays clean through the whole session.

 

Yep, almost every time I reload the brush with paint. Now, I use good brushes and paint slowly, so that's not as often as it sounds, but it is a great habit to get into. You develop a feel for when paint is starting to dry on the brush if you pay proper attention to how your paint is flowing off the brush (one of the more important technical skills).

 

It only takes a couple seconds to rinse, blot and reload the brush. Good habits.

 

I don't always wash the brush after every session, usually every two or three sessions or as needed when I've been abusive (I know I got some paint in the ferrule) or I've been using thicker paint and I know some has dried on the fibers.

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I am in the Ub3r school of brush management.  I am constantly rinsing it between fresh pick ups of paint and most assuredly between colors.   I do give them a cleaning when they start to split and cannot maintain a point or once a month (whichever comes first) using brush soap.   I have brush cleaner/restorer but I have never let them sit in it for more than a few seconds... I might have to try that as the W&N splits way to easily now.

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Looks like everyone has their own cleaning habits.

 

Thinking of my own habit, normally a quick rinse in the cup is enough. Sometimes I just dip in the water to reform the tip. If I do a significant change of colors, I will clean it with my Master's soap puck. If I think I've overloaded my brush, reaching the ferrule, I will do a thorough cleaning and swirl it the soap puck, rinse it, and swirl it again until the soap coming out of it looks clear of paint residue. Obviously I try to be careful when I use metallic paints. And since I only use a single transparent glass rinse cup, I change the water on a regular basis. On occasion, mostly when I 'm done for the day, I give the brushes a swirl in the soap puck, reform the tip and let it dry as is.

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I rinse with water between colors, or even during painting the color if the paint is drying out.  I give it an extra long shake in the rinse water when I'm done painting.

 

I use a brush soap maybe four times a year on the good brushes.  If I've painted a large area and there's dried paint, I try to get that off relatively quickly so I break out the brush soap then.  But my base-coating brushes are synthetic.  I save the good brushes for the details, so I don't use them often.

 

As I've stated often, my first W/N series 7 brush lasted 5 years with moderate painting and infrequent cleaning (but regular rinsing).

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