Brushes used for chalk painting are cared for similarly to other brushes. If you invest in high quality brushes, your chalk painting brushes can last a very long time. Usually, all you will need for chalk painting is a round natural or high-quality synthetic brush, plus a wax brush. On occasion, you may need artistry brushes or foam brushes, depending on the job. Let’s cover the most common brushes used while chalk painting.
Chalk Painting Brush
These brushes are either synthetic (made from nylon or polyester) or natural (made from animal hair).
The best school of thought for using brushes is:
- Natural brushes are best used for oil based paints and stains.
- Synthetic brushes (nylon or polyester) are best used for water based paints and stains.
Most chalk paints are water based paint. Therefore, the best paint brush to use would be a synthetic paint brush.
How to care for them:
Chalk paint is usually non-toxic and fairly easy to clean, especially when wet. When cleaning your chalk painting brush, be sure to wring most of the paint out of the brush before cleaning. I clean with warm water in the sink, and basically rinse the brush until the water runs clear and brush looks clean. If there is a lot of paint on the brush, feel free to use a mild soap to clean the brush. When drying, do your best to hang the bristles facing down so all the water drains from the bristles.
Natural wax, dark wax, antiqueing wax, are all different types of wax used to seal chalk painted pieces. Although there are different ways to seal chalk paint, waxing is one of the most common.
Wax is oil based, the brushes are very round with blunt ends to fit into nooks and crannies. If not washed properly, wax buildup can occur in the brushes and the bristles become stiff and very difficult to work with (ask me how I know!)
How to care for them:
There are different kinds of wax brush cleaners out there. Although they work, I find that using murphy’s soap tends to offer the best level of “clean” on my wax brushes. Just as is done with the wax brushes, make sure to wash the bristles out completely. You will know the wax is not longer in the bristles when the bristles are soft, and no longer stiff or tacky. Let the brush dry while the bristles are facing downward.
Wood Staining Brushes
Many times, chalk painting and furniture restoration requires sanding and staining wood. It’s not always the case when chalk painting a new piece, but it is fairly common. Wood stains come in both water-based and oil-based form.
How to care for them:
If your stain is water based, as was discussed above, you’ll want to used a synthetic brush. It is recommended to use a 100% polyester brush, although I have used nylon/polyester blends and have had no problem.
Cleaning a water based stain is easy. In a bowl, pour warm water with mild soap, place bristles in the soapy water and allow to sit for a few minutes. Shake the brush back and forth to allow the water to penetrate through the bristles. Used a wire brush to comb through the bristles, making sure all the stain has been removed. Repeat this step until the bristles are soft and clean. Allow the brush to dry, bristles down.
If your stain is oil based, you’ll want to use a natural bristle brush. There are plenty on the mark, but I know Purdy makes high quality brushes that can be used for wood stains.
Cleaning an oil based stain is a bit more complicated. In a bowl, pour turpentine or mineral spirits and submerge the bristles of the brush. Allow the brush to sit in the sit in the solvent for a few minutes. Shake the brush back and forth. As done with the water-based stain, use a wire brush to loosen and remove all stain from the bristles. Continue this step until all bristles appear clean.
Dry the bristles with a rag. Then take your brush over to the sink and wash the bristles under running hot water, using soap to thoroughly clean the bristles. Feel free to use the wire brush again to get the soap through all the bristles. Rinse the soap from the brush and dry the bristles with a rag. Allow the brush to dry with the bristles down.
Investing in and caring for your chalk painting brushes will give them a long life. Immediately cleaning your brushes after use is the best way to maintain them. Take care of them properly, and you can enjoy them for years to come! If you feel prepared to get started on your first chalk painting piece, check out my tips on How to Find the Best Furniture to Chalk Paint!