Today I’m sharing the brushes I use, my favorite bristle material and repeated use durability experience. I’ve been painting furniture for over 10 years, fervently for 5. The last couple years I’ve gotten serious about using good brushes and spending extra money for them. Premium brushes really do make a difference. They are more enjoyable to use and they tend to last longer. Take it from a cheapskate. I’m the one who tries to find inexpensive alternatives for everything!
Standard, Shorty’s & Ovals
Thin Shorty’s . . . the Latest Trend
These thinner short handled gems are the latest in furniture painting. First offered by Dixie Belle, they are now available from almost every boutique paint supplier. What’s the buzz? Premium shorty’s are way easier on the hand. They are thinner having fewer bristles reducing even more weight from heavy chalk painting. However, I have noticed using a few more strokes to spread paint evenly.
My favorite brand: Chalk Pro for it’s quality and price ($11.00) unfortunately it’s not always available, in fact it is kind of scarce. So I have had to switch to Zibra brand at $19.00. It is easier to find plus it has synthetic bristles instead of natural. Zibra is still not as expensive as boutique brands: Dixie Belle sells their shorty angled brush for a whopping $30.00! (You can get one at Windy Hill Market downtown Jackson, MI and check out other painting supplies available on the KellaChic Supply Shop.)
Pssst . . . Interested in using a Wooster shorty for only $6 at the hardware store? I’m here to tell ya . . . . these turn nasty quick. Check out my wear comparison with pictures!
Regular Over the Counter . . . Get This One
Wooster Silver Tip is only $8-9 bucks at ACE Hardware. It is a very good alternative for the premium shorty’s as a general purpose furniture painting brush. It’s synthetic and moves the paint very well, even chalk paint.
Its standard thickness and longer handle make it a heavy for chalk painting but it’s a super nice brush for hobbyists.
Ovals, Why So Thick?
Ovals are packed with double the amount of bristles, thick and stiff, ideal for blending. Once its loaded with paint, (after a minute or two of use) its a power brush that lays a thin, consistent and long stroke. However, they are really heavy on the hand. These are recommended for chalk paint but I wouldn’t use with a smooth paint like General Finishes – the application is too thin. This is my year old 2″ Oval.
Most Painters Lean Toward Synthetic and Here’s Why
Natural PRO: hold more paint in them so they need slightly fewer dips into the paint. CON: paint dries and cakes on the outside of the brush risking that some paint make fleck off onto your project. They can become slightly heavier during use but the short handle reduces a lot of that weight already.
Synthetic PRO: it distributes nearly all of the paint from its bristles onto the project. Very little paint loads up in the brush weighing it down, wasting paint. For some reason paint doesn’t dry and cake on the outside, giving a pleasant relief from pesky flecks that fall off. The cool thing about synthetic is cleaning – amazingly quick and easy. CON: it seems to me that because synthetic doesn’t hold and load much paint, it requires a few more dips into the paint well. I also noticed that I took a few more strokes to even out the coat.