Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Your Miniature Painting Brushes

Miniatures painting brushes

Take care of your brushes and use the same ones for years

If you’re an avid miniature painter, whether for board games or war games, you know the importance of a good brush. But even the best brushes can falter without proper care. I learned this the hard way – my first brushes didn’t last a week, and one was ruined on its first outing. Determined not to repeat my mistakes, I’ve honed my brush care technique to an art. Here’s how you can too.

Essential Supplies for Brush Care

Proper brush maintenance doesn’t require fancy equipment, just a handful of items and a dose of creativity:

  • Acrylic paint remover: Nail polish remover works as well.
  • Wax or hair conditioner: Keeps the bristles soft and pliable.
  • Brush holder: Or any cup-like container for storage.
  • Consistency: Regular maintenance is key.

What to Avoid at All Costs

Before diving into the care routine, here are some absolute don’ts:

  • Never let paint dry on your brush: This is the fastest way to ruin it.
  • Avoid full synthetic bristles: They’re more prone to breaking (except for specific techniques like dry brushing).
  • Don’t dip the entire bristle in paint: Half the length is more than enough.
  • Don’t soak brushes in water: It damages the bristles and handle.

Cleaning During and After Painting

A clean brush is a happy brush. Here’s my routine:

  1. Regular rinsing: Swirl the brush in water when it gets overloaded with paint.
  2. Handy swirls: Gently make circles with the brush on your palm to remove excess paint.
  3. The tongue trick: Shape the bristle by pulling the brush through your lips. Quick and effective.
  4. Post-painting care: Apply wax or hair conditioner to keep the bristles in top shape.

Dealing with Neglected Brushes

If your brush has been left dirty:

  1. Acrylic paint remover: It’s your savior for stubborn paint.
  2. Dip and drag: Submerge the bristles in remover and wipe on a paper towel.
  3. Repeat: Continue until no more paint comes off on the towel.
  4. Final rinse: Always clean with water afterward to remove any residual remover.

Storing Your Brushes Like a Pro

Storage is just as critical as cleaning. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Vertical is vital: Store brushes bristle down or horizontal, but never bristle up.
  • Use protectors: The plastic caps that come with new brushes are there for a reason.
  • DIY solutions: No protectors? Get creative with a homemade brush hanger.


By integrating these methods into your routine, your brushes can last for years. Remember, investing time in brush care means investing in your art. And with each stroke of a well-maintained brush, your miniatures will come to life with vivid detail and precision.

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