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Vlad

Humbrol acrylics brush issues

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I recently switched from Enamels to Acrylics and I've stuck with Humbrol as they are readily available and I have a catalog of personal colour matches. Anyway, overall I'm impressed with their coverage and general behavior with a brush (I only brush paint). I also re-discovered the joy in painting without the chore of solvent based cleaning or the nuisance of drying times.

 

However, my brushes are suffering. I try my best to rinse them every couple of minutes while painting but even so they very rapidly become clogged at where the bristles go into the metal bit. I end up with splayed bristles and even after a thorough wash at the end (all using water BTW) the whole brush clumps and feels stiff.

 

I'm close to accepting that the brush will just have to be another project consumable but I thought I would ask for tips first.

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A fellow acrylic brushes, as soon as iI finish painting I wash them, then wipe them off with kitchen roll. And when they inevitably get clogged I stick them in a pot of CIF oven cleaner for a hour or so, then run them under the hot tape and clean them with an old tool brush, most of the time its as good as new, my brushes last a while that way 

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Oven cleaner eh? Not a bad tip that. I find that water is quite bad for this but most stuff with hydrocarbon content or a pH level some way from 7 helps. I find when applying decals (for which I use a brush) that they splay when subjected to water but are retrieved when wetted in Microsol. I bet the CIF oven cleaner is a bit alkaline and that's what's softening the bristles up again :)

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4 minutes ago, SovereignHobbies said:

Oven cleaner eh? Not a bad tip that. I find that water is quite bad for this but most stuff with hydrocarbon content or a pH level some way from 7 helps. I find when applying decals (for which I use a brush) that they splay when subjected to water but are retrieved when wetted in Microsol. I bet the CIF oven cleaner is a bit alkaline and that's what's softening the bristles up again :)

Yep, its alkaline, as it has Sodium Hydroxide as a component 

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Aha, I've used oven cleaner as paint stripper before (Mr. Muscle here but should be equivalent), that seems like a reasonable idea. So do you use water for the immediate post-paint wash? Do you not stop to rinse during painting and how long are your painting sessions?

 

For the alcohol, did you also mean using that as a cleaner only after finishing or also during?

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Normally my paint session are short as normally I'm just painting one or two small models at time one colour, and if its going to be longer Ill rinse it off and select another brush to continue. 

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With some water based paints I used to find that they could end up being a bit like brushing on Maskol in that a rubber coat would build up during the paint job. Most would wipe off with kitchen towel and water but debris would remain in the brush and come out with brush strokes onto the model. Using something more aggressive than water helps clean the brush as and when it's needed. I don't profess to be an expert though, it's not something I've done a huge amount of to be honest.

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Alright, I'll give it a try to "revive" some of my brushes. Seems both your solutions don't involve added hassle during actual painting which is a big plus.

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It might be the flavour of brush you are using.

 

A lot of us use fancy dancy natural sable brushes, forgetting that the hairs are fairly soft and prone to splaying, bending and ‘tip-curl’.  Give some synthetic brushes a try. I find myself reaching for my cheap Humbrol Coloro brushes more than my Winsor&Newton Series 7s.

 

If you are feeling especially artistic, you can don a smock and French beret, then buy little pots of proper ‘The Masters’ artists brush cleaner and preserver off Amazon. :D

 

Mart

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Get yourself a bottle of brush restorer from any diy store. It will clean off all of that stubborn paint, even from deep within the ferrule no problem at all.

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I use Humbrol Evoco which are not really luxury brushes but are claimed to be natural. I also have a set of their Detail brushes (the ones with the fat orange handle). They are synthetic but I've been treating them with extra care because as the name implies I need them fine. However, usually I only dip the tip a little for fine work and they're easier to keep clean than the Evoco that I use for longer periods and bigger surfaces. Next time I need new brushes I'll buy Coloro and/or the flat synthetic ones. Thanks!

 

If the oven cleaner doesn't do it I'll look for some brush cleaner, acrylic doesn't seem too aggressive though so I'm hoping it will clean easily. Will probably try after my current project.

Edited by Vlad

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When finished painting acrylics ( and enamels, after cleaning with thinners ) I wet the brush with water and put a drop of dishwashing liquid on the brush and lather it in with my fingers. I then rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry, hairy end up. I've had brushes last for years. Mind you, I bought some good quality brushes to begin with.

 

 

Chris

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I use toothpaste as it sits on the bathroom wash basin where I wash my brushes. Works well for the final rinse after using white spirit to clean brushes after using enamel too. (The brand doesn't matter 😊)

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It does seem that the synthetic "detail" brushes behave better and are easier to clean of acrylic gunk without destroying the bristles. Yet to try any of the soaking techniques because the brushes I was using when I posted were too far gone and the new ones aren't bad enough yet, but thanks for all the tips! I have a good repertoire at my disposal now when I need it and I feel much more comfortable with my paint choice :)

Edited by Vlad

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Hi Vlad,

 

I couple of things I'd like to chip in here. Like Sapperastro I use synthetic brushes with acrylics my favourite being the Pro-Arte series. I found acrylics ruined the few sable brushes I had. In addition, LotusAreco's tip about The Masters Brush Soap is spot-on: it is the best brush cleaner I have ever used. If you think you have cleaned your brush rub some of this stuff into it and see what crud comes out. It's good for restoring brushes too, and is not too harsh.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Will. 

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Posted (edited)

Says it works on oil paint on the lid, so i guess so? Never tried it myself.

WP_20170101_15_47_49_Pro.jpg

Mart

Edited by LotusArenco
Added picture

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2 hours ago, Panzer Vor!!! said:

Is the brush cleaner any good on enamel??

 

Yes, it does. Got mine years ago when I was using enamels and it worked quite well. Kept it for my shift to acrylics last decade and over half of themcleaner is stil, with me. 

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To wash my brushes after using acrylics i either use water or acetone free nail varish remover from asda (the blue liquid 250ml for about £2.20). Roll the brush round as if you're making a point with the bristles and youll soon see the dried bits of acrylic paint come out. 

 

I also put a bit of spit inbetween my thumb and finger and squeeze out all the nail varnish remover pointing the bristles. The spit sets firm therefore stopping the bristles from fraying.

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One of the important things about brushes is to wet the brush (then dab off excess water) prior to dipping in paint and don't dip the whole of the brush head into the paint, just the first third or less if possible. The moisture from dipping in water prior to paint helps stop paint being drawn up into the hairs and drying at the ferrule end and avoiding dipping too much of the brush in the paint also restricts the amount of paint getting in amongst the hairs at the ferrule.

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