Paint brush being dipped into orange paint

Knowing how to use a paint brush is a fundamental part of how to paint and therefore should be one of the first things you learn how to do before you start your DIY painting project.

Before you start:

  • It is essential to remove any dirt or bristles that may be loose so ensure you work the paint brush through with your hands
  • Check the directions on the back of your can first. To allow the paint to be applied smoothly, depending on what type of paint you are using, you will need to dampen the brush with water or turps

Using the brush:

  • Dip a third of the brush into the paint can to ensure it is loaded with paint
  • To ensure the paint is loaded further into the brush lightly tap the tip and sides on the can. It is important not to scrape the brush along the edge of the can or bucket as it removes the paint and will therefore make it ineffective
  • Press the brush against the wall whilst holding it at a 45 degree angle to the surface. It should be just enough to flex the bristles. Using long and gentle vertical strokes distribute the paint on the surface always starting from the top and stroking down. To ensure the painted surface is even paint in long vertical strokes

Cleaning a brush after using oil based paints:

  1. Check the label on the paint tin to see what the best cleaning solvent is keeping in mind Mineral turps is best for most oil based paints.
  2. Rinse the brushes well in the cleaning solvent
  3. Repeat this process until the solvent is clean and no more paint is coming out. It can also help to leave the brush soak in the solvent overnight
  4. Shake the brush once you have done the final rinse
  5. Wash the bristles in hot soapy (detergent) water and rinse in fresh hot water
  6. Keeping the bristles straight allow the brush to dry throughout

Cleaning a brush after using water based paints:

  1. With a scraper get rid of any excess paint
  2. Wash the brush in fresh warm water several times whilst working the bristles under the water until no more paint comes out
  3. If there is any dried paint you will need to comb the brush from the base of the bristles to the tip with a wire brush
  4. Allow it to dry with the bristles straight once you have shaken any excess water from the brush