Artist Tip How clean artist brushes

Artist Tip by Ron Gribble.

There are a lot of commercial brush cleaners available, but I will tell you about a cleaner you can make at home, out of two empty tins.

Before I give the details, I need to explain why a specific cleaner is needed. Why not just a jar of turpentine for oils?

You need to be aware that turpentine only suspends the paint, which then settles down into the bottom on your container. All you are doing after the first clean or two, is stirring up sediment and forcing it up into the brush ferules.
cleaning artist brushes with tin cans

So take a standard food preserving tin; make sure that the lid has been removed without sharp edges. Now take a smaller size tin, Like a baby food tin and place it bottom up onto a desk.

Now, take screwdriver, with a medium width end, and with a hammer, gently force slots into the base of the tin. Don’t hit too hard, we only want slots and not holes. Not too close together or you will lose structural strength, but enough to cover as much of the bottom of the tin as you can. The shape edges should be inside the tin, and the smooth slots on the outside.

Now place the small tin bottom up inside the bigger tin the smaller tin should fill about a half of the height of the larger tin.

Fill the larger tin with turpentine, until the smaller is only just covered. You will now be able to clean your brushes on the bottom of the small tin, and paint will drop through the slots and gather in the bottom of the larger tin. If you let it settle, you can pour off the turpentine and clean out the big tin every now and again.

Next post we will look at caring for you brushes. I trust this is a help to you.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble
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