Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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12/07/2004: "Rescuing Paint Brushes"

I can't believe it, I had 7 new paint brushes, (and 1 of them was big and expensive). I had dipped them all in oil the last time I used them (Friday) to keep them good until I used them again and even though it was only a couple of days, they're totally hard now. This pisses me off so much because it happens to me constantly and every time I swear it will never happen again. I haven't thrown away the majority of the brushes I've destroyed yet, because I'm hoping I'll discover some great product that will restore them to their former glory for me. Suggestions anyone?

What I really need is to buy one of those huge classroom barrels of brushes they sell to teachers, 300 or so. Maybe I'll slip a hint to Santa.

Replies: 4 Comments

on Tuesday, December 7th, Anna L. Conti said

First, try Master's Brush Cleaner. Mush it up with a knife and spread it thickly on the brush (so thick you can't even see the brush.) Let it sit over night, wash off, work the hairs a little, repeat one or two more times, if necessary.

If that doesn't work, and the only thing left is throwing them out, try oven cleaner. Spray it on, let it sit about 10 minutes, and wash off.

BTW - Congratulations on your show - it was great work.

on Tuesday, December 7th, Elise said

Thanks Anna!
I'll add the Master's Brush Cleaner to my big order I'm placing this week...I just hope it isn't considered hazardous material, as they tack on an additional 25 bucks for shipping.

Also, I never would have thought of oven cleaner! What a great idea if all else fails. I'm sure it will not damage the natural fiber brushes but I use some synthetic ones too, it might melt them...but again, I'd be tossing them out anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions and for the comment about the show. I'll be posting updated photos in a new gallery for it soon. I'm finally going to get a camera of my own.

on Tuesday, December 7th,">Chele said

I second the Master's recommendation. I actually got brushes that were sitting in an old paint box for about fifteen years clean with that stuff. Took a bit of work, but you would never know they were in that condition. There are tubs of it on both my sinks. I doubt it would be considered hazardous. Congrats on the new show!

on Wednesday, December 8th, Elise said

Hi Chele! Thanks for seconding Anna's comments about the Masters stuff. Now I know I have to get some, can't wait to try it out, I probably have close to 100 brushes that are in need of saving.