How To Clean Your Face Painting Brushes – By Jane Harding
Hello everyone! Welcome to my weekly blog. If you have read my others, then ‘Thanks, I’m so glad you’re back’…. And if this is your first time, then ‘Welcome, it’s great to have you here’!
Last week I blogged about face paint and my favourite things of all… BRUSHES!
So to keep a little on topic, I wanted to talk about some of my recommended best practice… brush cleaning. Now I don’t want to be teaching people to suck eggs… I imagine the hordes of experienced painters out there, could teach me a thing or two about caring for my brushes and kit, so PLEASE, if you have any additional tips, I would love to hear about them, let me know in the comments below.
However; I have seen the question asked a few times within several face painting groups on FB, especially from newer painters, about how they should clean their brushes. So, I am going to go through a quick Step By Step of what I do.
In my opinion, best practice would be to clean your brushes after every job, as soon as you get home!
Nothing damages your precious tools as much as allowing them to sit damp and then dry with remnants of paint and bacteria on, bacteria which will inevitably be there, no matter how careful we are about avoiding cross contamination. If left to dry without proper care, this is when our brushes can lose their shape and will ultimately shorten their lifespan. So my Top Tip: Clean your brushes after every job and as soon as possible.
Not only will regular cleaning ensure you won’t have to replace them frequently, it has other benefits too:
It looks so much more professional to have a clean kit/brushes
Your brushes will keep their shape and will be easier to use
You avoid spreading germs into your paints and to customers
People will notice how sparkly they are and their comments will give you the warm fuzzies!
Before we start… Top Tip: I keep all my brush cleaning bits and bobs by my kitchen sink. No, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, but as a full time face painter, they are something I use all the time and it makes my life easier to have them ready to go!
These are the main tools I use: Brush soap, Brush Cleaning Egg, Brush Drying Rack.
You can of course clean your brushes without the little cleaning egg, but again, I have it to make my life easier and the process quicker. For less than a couple of pounds, I think they are well worth it.
I also didn’t have the drying wrack for a long time, but I picked it up really cheap on the high street and I have to say, I highly recommend getting one. It stops the water sitting in the ferrule which can damage your brushes.
Also, as you can see I have a tub with a secure lid that I transport my brushes in. This is something I have just invested in; I purely use it to transfer my dirty brushes home. Previously I would roll them in a towel, but found they stayed really damp and the bristles got bent, which is something you really want to avoid. The tub with lid is so far working really well for me.
So here we go…
How I Clean My Brushes – Step By Step
Using hot/warm water make sure the bristles of your brush are thoroughly wet. Then one brush at a time, coat the bristles in brush soap. If your brushes still have a lot of paint on them, you may want to rinse them a couple of times to remove the excess. Once they look similar to how I have my brush in the picture above, set each brush aside on a paper towel whilst you coat each brush in soap.
One at a time take each brush and work the soap into the bristles using the brush cleaning egg. Massage the bristles along the different grooves to really work that soap in and try and agitate them enough to remove as much paint and dirt as possible. Top Tip: Although it’s tempting, try and avoid scrubbing the bristles too hard, this could cause unwanted damage.
At this point I also ensure the handles are nice and clean, if needed I give them a little rub with soap using my fingers.
Rinse! Using warm water thoroughly rinse each brush, ensuring all traces of soap has been removed.
Dry off any excess water using a clean tea towel or paper towel. As you do this, reshape each brush. For round brushes pull and twist them along the towel to recreate a nice point on the end, for flat brushes pull them along the towel on each side to recreate the sharp edge.
Step 5: (optional)
If you notice any brushes that have completely lost their shape, then they may need a little extra help. (I’ve noticed that UV Paint can make my brushes lose shape, especially after a busy UV Party and it’s the only paint I’ve used. I’m not sure why this is; it appears to me that the UV Paint dries faster on the bristles, so I think this could be the reason. If you have any knowledge about this, please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to know if others have experienced the same). Anyway, I use a Brush Shaper (as pictured) but if you are unable to find this, you can alternatively use hot water. You simply dip the bristles in the Brush Shaper liquid or hot water and then reshape them and leave to dry. If you use the Brush Shaper, ensure you wash it off once it’s dried and before you use the brush on a job.
Hang them out to dry! Where at all possible dry you brushes upside down so any excess water can drain out of the Ferrule. If you don’t have one of these funky little brush holders, then alternatively you could lay them on a towel, but make sure it’s a clean and completely dry so your handles won’t absorb the moisture from the damp towel, this can lead to the paint on your handles peeling off.
And that my friend is it… couldn’t be easier and once you get into a routine, it really doesn’t take that long. Plus, when you put them all away, they will look so sparkly and beautiful, you’ll want to put them on your mantelpiece so you can look at them all the time… or is that just me?! :-b
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