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All About Paintbrushes

Round or flat? Jagged or foam? Wide or thin? Your choice of brush makes a big difference in your artwork.

Brushes come in many sizes and materials. Their bristles can be made of synthetic fibers, plant fibers or animal hairs. Learning to use the right brush for your project will help make creating your artwork easier. Always clean your brushes well after each use and store them bristle end up. Most brushes will last a very long time if you take good care of them. Happy painting! 

ROUND WATERCOLOR brushes are similar to the round oil brushes but work best with watercolors.

SPONGE brushes are best used on smooth surfaces. This brush leaves no stroke marks and is good for applying water-based paints and stains. This brush is affordable and disposable.

STENCIL brushes have a flat top bristle head which works well for pushing paint through stencil cut-outs.

FILBERT brushes have a flattened oval head and are used with oil and acrylic paint. It can be made from natural bristles, sable or cruelty-free synthetic fibers.

ALL PURPOSE brushes are affordable and used for many purposes. They are not meant to last a long time and finding a few stray bristles that have fallen out is normal.

MOP brushes are able to hold a large amount of fluid paint. It is soft and mop like, best used with watercolors or gouache.

ROUND OIL brushes come in many sizes. The round shape allows them to hold a great deal of paint. You may paint thin lines by painting with light pressure or paint thicker ones by pressing down firmly.

TOOTHBRUSHES can create a speckle and spray effect. Fill the toothbrush bristles with water-based paint and use your thumb to pull back the bristles and flick the paint onto paper.

FAN brushes have a thin layer of bristles that spread out like a fan. It is a super tool to blend colors or for creating feathery textures.

FLAT brushes are thin and wide and are available in many sizes. The bristles can be short for precise painting or longer for looser strokes that hold more paint. Works well with oil or water-based paint.

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Ready to experiment? Our Brush Library has 24 brushes to get you started, with helpful information on how to use each one engraved on their handles.