Choosing the Right Brush for the Job
How many times have you heard that it’s important to use the right tools for the job? As a novice stenciler, I just grabbed up a variety of brushes at the local crafts store and went at it. It wasn’t until much later — once I had actually used a quality stencil brush — that I realized how much difference the proper brush can truly make. Since those early days, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with a variety of brands, shapes, and sizes of stencil brushes. Here are the results of that research…
- Choose good quality brushes with NATURAL bristles. Many stencil companies carry stencil brushes. If you prefer to shop locally, I also like the blue-handled Plaid Stencil Decor brushes.
- When possible, feel the brush. Grab it around the bristles to see that they are densely packed. Swirl and pounce it on your hand and the store shelf to get a feel for the way it handles and how flexible the bristles are. Even within a brush line, there can be slight variations.
Stencil Brushes – Top Picks
For general use, here are my favorite brush lines:
These are all good quality private label brushes. There are probably many more brands of similar quality available from other stencil designers. These happen to be the brushes I’ve used the most and have had good results with.
Whimsical Walls Stencil Brushes: The split bristles on these brushes are specially designed to hold a LOT of paint, and the domed shaped helps get in between the fibers of your fabric when you need solid, even, coverage. They are perfect for painting those canvas tote bags, aprons, etc. — I used them to stencil a multitude of black checks on a canvas room screen for a project in Debbie Mumm’s Creative Stenciling.
Shading & Shadowing
Delta Stencil Magic® Super Shader Brush: This brush has curved edges and wide flat shape that make it ideal for adding shading and creating shadows.
Once you have the tools you need, try to take better care of them than I do mine, and clean them after use! When I do remember to clean my brushes, I use Murphy’s Oil Soap and a brush scrubber. This combination can even remove dried paint.
Brush scrubbers are usually available from the same Stencil Companies who offer quality brushes. Or you can just borrow one of your kids’ fuse bead pegboards, which are, as near as I can tell, simply more colorful versions of what the stencil companies sell as brush scrubbers.