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  • Writer's pictureAzie

The Tutorialist: Choosing & Caring for your Brush

We love Annie Sloan brushes – our favorites are Made in Italy with natural bristles and the difference in the ease of use, the final finish, and the amount of product you save is priceless! Visit us in person so we can show you the difference in our brushes and even try one out with Chalk Paint® at our Paint Bar.

How to Care for Your Brush

When buying any new paintbrush (regardless of the type of painting) giving your brush a first time conditioning session will help you have a happier painting experience. Quality brushes are an investment and conditioning helps a buyer stay confident in their purchase.

What is Conditioning?

When you condition your brush, you’re essentially releasing any stray bristles that were never submerged into the ferrule when the adhesive set. Take your brush in hand and give the bristles a couple of firm taps on a hard surface. Think of it as giving the stray bristles a nudge upwards; not a lot of force is required though. Then take the brush and fan through the brush a few times to surface those loose bristles. Take them out and give your brush a rinse through with water. 

Always let your brushes dry on a flat surface on a paper towel or clean rag so they retain their bristle shape and so that water doesn’t continuously drip down to the handle. You may also drip dry them by hanging them upside down from a hook. Avoid blow drying them, they’ll air dry on their own overnight. If you want to start a project right away, just take a cloth and squeeze out the excess water!

Stray bristles are not indicative of the quality of a brush. How a brush holds paint and the over all finish it can achieve are the only true testaments to brushes. 

Is it worth it to use Annie Sloan’s brushes?

Short answer: Yes. A lot of thought went into the Annie Sloan brushes and it becomes instantly evident when one uses them with Chalk Paint®. The brushes (from the bristles to the adhesives used) were designed to the highest standard and made to hold the unique consistency of Annie’s paint and her waxes. They also have an oversized ferrule and a rounded form that hold thicker paints with more versatility. You have the option of painting rustically or painting modernly with one brush. In the long run, a DIYer saves product & time. That is also true of the wax brush since waxing is the final aesthetic touch to your furniture. **Just like an fine artist uses high-quality paint brushes or a make-up artist uses high quality facial brushes – investing in your brush will provide you with the most successful Chalk Paint® experience.

Cleaning Your Brush (after projects)

All of the Annie Sloan natural brushes are entirely natural boar bristle and made in Italy. *She also offers Italian-made Synthetic Brushes for those of you who like the smoother finish and are accustomed to Synthetic with a lower price point.* They can hold up to a lot, however, the best point that can be made about them was stated by Felix Sloan, Annie’s son, “Just think of how well you treat the hair on your head.” Using harsh cleaners (Felix specifically says to avoid bleach. You don’t need anything that harsh!) are not necessary to clean your brush nor is using a lot of force or product to wax. For cleaning, a mild grease-cutting dish soap works effectively with a coarse sponge on both brushes. Though if you rinse your brush immediately after painting, just warm water is often enough. But if you wouldn’t use harsh solvents on your hair, don’t use them on a natural hair brush. You’ll get more breakage and shedding over time. The brushes are made with split-ends intentionally – they continue to split and fan out for the best paint coverage. It softens your strokes and allows the paint to move freely through the bristles. Let it do the work for you!

To conclude the brushes are an investment. But treat them well and they’ll paint beautifully for many projects to come. 

For a visual: No need to soak or use harsh solvents even for your wax brush. Make life easy

Tips on When to Use Your Brushes:

Paint Brushes: These are the brushes with the longer, thinner handles, and the slightly rounded tops.

Large Paint brush (n.16): walls, long flat surfaces, doors, floors. Think anything with a lot of surface area.

Medium Paint Brush (n.12): All the in-between sizes. Think anything that has a lot of changing levels or carved in interiors. Anything average sized, kitchen cabinets, interiors.

Small Paint Brush (n. 8): Chair spindles, ladder-back designs, petite furniture, trim, drawer fronts, carved or ornate wood, stencils.

The smaller you go, the less weighted the brush, and the more control you often have. We like to hold the brush by the ferrule for the most control and least hand fatigue. 

Wax Brushes:

Large Wax Brush (n.26 – Long, solid, tapered handle): If you used a Large Paint Brush, you may want to consider waxing with something with an equivalent coverage. The larger waxing brush works well on surfaces that have a lot of area because it covers a bigger diameter. *Also men love this big brush! So if hubby is helping with cabinets, buy him this new toy to make it quick & easy.*

Small Wax Brush (n.22 – Short, ergonomic handle): I personally find this to be the easier of the two brushes as the design is more ergonomic. This is our go-to size for typical projects & is more cost effective if budget is a factor.


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