Introduction: Making Your Own Paintbrushes

Picture of Making Your Own Paintbrushes

As an art student, buying my own brushes is expensive so I decided to make my own out of objects I had around my house.

Step 1: Preparing the Handle

Picture of Preparing the Handle

Drill a hole into the object you are making your handle.  In this case, I am using an old set of chopsticks.  The hole needs to be big enough to fit the amount of hair/ bristles that you want but not too big that the handle breaks.

Step 2: Preping the Handle Part 2

Picture of Preping the Handle Part 2

Once you have the hole drilled, use an exacto-knife to create a cross pattern in the area you just drilled.  The picture will explain it better then my words. (Sorry).

Step 3: Preparing the Bristles

Picture of Preparing the Bristles

Select the amount of hair you want to use for the bristles. (I didn't want to cut too much off my head so I opted for a smaller finer brush.) Use a rubber band to keep the bristles all together while preparing the glue.

Step 4: Gluing the Bristles

Picture of Gluing the Bristles

Glue the end of the bristles and place in the hole you drilled. Gently remove the rubber band after a few minutes. For my bigger grass brush and pen brush shown I left the rubber band on. It's up to you.

Step 5: Wrapping It Up

Picture of Wrapping It Up

Use string to tighten the opening of the brush and to keep the bristles in.  glue the end of the string to keep it from unraveling.

Step 6: Trim the Bristles

Picture of Trim the Bristles

Trim the bristles of the brush to the desired shape. There you have it.  Your very own brush.

Step 7: Some of the Brushes I Have Made

Picture of Some of the Brushes I Have Made

I have re-modified a pen into a paintbrush using my husbands hair.
Below is the chopstick brush with my hair.
Finally my grass and twig brush.  Have fun making your own.


Elena BeatriceM (author)2016-04-01

I love this diy! it's eco-friendly, cruelty free and very useful if you're in a rush!

peeachediva (author)2015-03-26

Drakekay (author)2011-04-06

Totally great Idea!!! :D Ive been thinking bout picking up painting, Gotta find some old Bob Ross tapes. Loved that guy's presentation!!!! :D But yea, these and homemade paints are the way to go!! :D

missannie (author)Drakekay2011-04-07

Thanks for the feedback! I love those Bob Ross videos, maybe I should start making my own and post them too.

Drakekay (author)missannie2011-04-07

You should definitely do that.

missannie (author)Drakekay2011-04-07

happy little clouds...move out of the way! :-)

Drakekay (author)missannie2011-04-08

are you painting a sky scene?

kiffer360 (author)Drakekay2011-04-12

Remember, whatever you do, make your trees look like happy trees.

acoleman3 (author)kiffer3602011-07-10

ah....a bob ross painter. love it!. he was so bomb....god bless.

porcupinemamma (author)acoleman32012-05-09

What a lovely and creative idea. Thanks for posting! I'm wondering, how deep should a hole be drilled and how did you stabalize the wood while drilling the hole?I have always wanted to make coloured pencils using sticks.

Funksmaname (author)2012-04-04

Thanks for this, I've just been looking for ways to create brushes out of my cocker spaniels fur!

quick idea, bamboo has a natural hole down the center - so a piece of bamboo won't need drilling, just slicing with the blade... going to try it later! thanks for the idea :)

joelDmole (author)2012-01-04

My name is Joel and I'm a GCSE student studying ICT and was wondering if i could use some of the photos off this specific article to use in one of my presentations, I will include the source of the images but I need to have the permit ion from the owner.

Kind Regards

acoleman3 (author)2011-10-24

what size drill should i use for a 00 brush. (author)2011-10-04

Thank you for making this Intruct-to!
You gave me lots of good Ideas.
And your other Insrtuctable, I love too-it, it kind of blows my mind how you think all this stuff up.


Ha HA thanks paul

Ugifer (author)2011-09-26

Kids love this too - especially little girls.

My daughter had several inches off her hair about a year ago and I made her a couple of brushes from it. She was thrilled to be able to paint with her hair and not get told off for it!

Nice instructable.

lucila (author)2011-09-17

Thank you very much. It was what I was looking for to start painting glass!

jtobako (author)2011-07-13

Depends on who, when and what effect they were looking for : )

mole1 (author)2011-04-08

What kind of glue are you using?

missannie (author)mole12011-04-09

I used PVA glue (the glue i use for bookbinding). White glue (like Elmers) would work too.

acoleman3 (author)missannie2011-07-10

why not just use a cyanocrilate to secure them and then pva to add flexability so the acrilate dont crack and break. although there shouldnt be any stress with a paintbrush *any*way.

jtobako (author)acoleman32011-07-10

Natural bristles will absorb water and swell (as will white glue), then shrink-as will the handle.

acoleman3 (author)jtobako2011-07-10

they wouldnt if they were sealed by the cyanoacrylate....or more commonly known as super glue.

jtobako (author)acoleman32011-07-11

Kind of ruins the bristles if you coat them with cyanoacrylate-ever try to use a brush that wasn't cleaned last time it was used?

acoleman3 (author)2011-07-10

oh! to put a different spin on a previous comment, you might be able to use thatch for the core and hair around it for stiffer bristles and finer lines. in theory it should work but as they say.....everything looks good on paper.

dulciquilt (author)2011-04-10

I saw a show years ago on making brushes. They would put the hairs into a small cone root end up so the fine end of the hair was in the cone. Then they trimmed and glued the ends and let them dry before inserting into the handle. This allowed for a finer tapered point. They said may of the super fine tiny brushes were made with mouse hair.

branfrog (author)dulciquilt2011-04-10

What is a cone root? I think i got the idea, but not exactly sure what it is, the corn snack 'Bugles' keeps coming to mind.

dulciquilt (author)branfrog2011-04-10

I left out a comma.. cone, root end up, most hair is finer at the tip than at the root. When you cut it, you get a blunt end rather than tapered. All tapered ends placed at different levels (the cone does this) makes for a smoother tapering brush.

acoleman3 (author)dulciquilt2011-07-10

and if you wanted a brush for fine lines, you can follow the example of the ancient japanese and use stiffer hair for the core and finer hair for the outside and cut them short. almost to the core hairs.

dulciquilt (author)branfrog2011-04-10

do a search for hair stackers

branfrog (author)dulciquilt2011-04-10

Awesome! Confusion alliviated! Thanks!

acoleman3 (author)2011-07-10

id check out the local barber or hair salon. im sure you could get a buttload of hair for this.

applefanatic (author)2011-05-21

i like the pen!

chicopluma (author)2011-04-29

and i just needed a hair cut

d56ryan (author)2011-04-20

How about a visit to your nearest beauty shop and collect some of the remnents they dispose of (sweep up, or maybe there would be some way to catch it before it hits the floor..) ? Then your head and your pets coats don't get all scraggly......

urbanwoodswalker (author)2011-04-15

LOVE the recycled pen one. Thats just plain CLEVER~~~!! ;-)

urbanwoodswalker (author)2011-04-15

Exactly what I was thinking...a waterproof glue is more permanent.

Overall though...I like this instructable very much! You could even glue in a toothpick for a dip "pen"

auntylulu (author)2011-04-11

Awesome! You got my gears where do I left my camel?
there are lots of fibers I want to try this with. Right now 'Im eyeing a duster. Also PVA glue is water soluble. Wouldn't it be better to use super glue (something more plastic)?

Icalasari (author)2011-04-10

Trying to get accepted into art school

This will come in handy as I'll be moving out and living without a job for the period between moving out and finding a job

cousin229 (author)2011-04-10

We used to make several for the children in the school but we boiled for a few minutes the hair in soapy water to take off the human oils.

carnright (author)2011-04-10

Great idea for making brushes! I had one possible idea concerning it. Using the constrictor knot (Ashley Book of Knots #1249) instead of wrapping, might be easier and hold stronger.

This is a very easy knot to tie and is nigh on impossible to undo, it usually has to be cut off, so in this case the knot could be tied and then just a little glue to lock it even further.

qewt (author)2011-04-08

That's such a great idea! I'm afraid my Yorkies will be going quite bald soon :p

tellner (author)2011-04-08

Nice to see some of an artist's old skills being revived.

frenzy (author)2011-04-07

Very cool! if i get into painting soon i'll have to try this!

missannie (author)frenzy2011-04-07

you should totally get into painting! It's so fun. I am excited to look up all of your many instructables!

JesusFreke (author)2011-04-06

Talk about a truly personal brush - made from your own hair! :)

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