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How to Use a Paintbrush

Using a paintbrush may look easy, but ask any DIYer and they will tell you that looks can be deceiving.

It takes time to become accurate, good, and fast with a paintbrush. Patience is the key. Focus on quality, not speed. This will save you from learning bad habits and having to redo sloppy work.

The most popular brush sizes are 50-63mm. Pop into your nearest paint retailer and try a few out. Ask for help if you need it, as there are some important things to consider when selecting your paintbrushes. Think about the size of the project, the type of brush you need, your experience and strength, the surfaces you are painting and the type of paint or stain you are using. A smaller brush is recommended for those with smaller hands or who are new to painting as larger brushes can be heavy.

When you are ready to start, and while your brush is still clean, work the bristles back and forth across your fingers to remove any dirt, dust, or loose bristles. If you are using waterborne paints, you can lightly moisten a natural bristle brush with water first to help you apply the paint more evenly.

Hold the brush with your first two fingers and thumb, not too tight or too loose. Dip one-third to one-half of the bristles into the paint container. Do not dip the entire length of the bristles into the paint as this will push paint into the ferrule (where the bristles meet the metal), which may cause it to clog up. Plus, you will get paint drips making it so much harder to get a smooth finish.

Paint with the tip of the brush, not the sides. Hold the paintbrush at about a 45-degree angle to the surface and work mostly with your wrist rather than your arms and shoulders. For the best results, get a good flowing motion with long brushstrokes.

A smaller brush is more suited for detailed areas and finer cutting in – painting areas where rollers can’t reach, such as where the wall meets the ceiling. When cutting in, use the vertical edge of the brush. When painting larger areas, use your brush horizontally. If your brushstrokes become stiff, sticky, or non-flowing, you may need to thin the paint. Use the thinner recommended on the paint container.


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