Paintbrush Saver





Introduction: Paintbrush Saver

About: I think therefore I ride.

Cleaning up after you have finished every coat of paint is time consuming and really unnecessary. A few years ago I was taught that wrapping your brush in plastic wrap stops the air getting to the paint and therefore it doesn't harden. You only need to clean your brush at the end of the job.
Whilst hunting for some suitable wrap I realised I was already wearing it!

Step 1: Using Gloves.

Since getting hold of a 100 pack of disposable gloves I've been using them to keep my hands clean(ish). They work really well for painting!
So, if you hold the brush in the palm of your hand.
Using the other hand pull the wrist over the brush and your hand out of the glove.
The bristles should be covered by the glove.

Step 2: Wrap It Up

Flatten out the bristles and push put as much air from the business end as you can.
Then twist the wrist and tuck it in to the handle.

Step 3: Enjoy the Rest of the Day.

With your brush well wrapped up it should be fine until you need to pick it up again the next day. So you can relax without the need to scrub your hands or brushes.



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    For longer time on the hammock (great picture, btw) you can also throw it in the freezer.

    I use a condom for roller covers or remove the roller cover from the roller frame and let it "float" in the 5 gallon pail of paint.

    I've wrapped a brush in damp newspaper, but I've usually only been leaving it for a few hours.

    As for putting the brush in water, use a rubbre band to attach a dowel/pencil/stick to the handle so the stick extends past the bristles and keeps them off the bottom of the container.

    Never tried the freezer. Sometimes you just have to clean your brush.

    Good tip and works really well for short periods, like overnight.

    However, if you need to store them longer, try putting them in an old paint tin and fill up with water to the ferrule. Then, when you need it 'spin' the brush between your palms inside another old paint tin to get any water out. Oh, and every pro painter I've worked with (I am a builder/carpenter) does the same. Keep an eye on the water level though if it runs into several weeks....

    5 replies

    Storing the brush in a pail of water does prevent the paint from drying. And you can prevent "warping" the bristles by hanging the brush in the water so that it's not standing on its bristles.

    Thats a good idea! I guess you could drill a hole in the brush a set distance from the ferrule in all your brushes and thread a stiff wire through them, or do you have an easier way?

    I have been using the plastic bag trick for years but if i can get longer with the tin of water trick i would be quick to try it....What i am wondering is, once i keep the tin topped up, how long should i expect the brush to stay wet?

    Well, one old painter we had swears that he has a brush in his tin that he's had since he was an apprentice and never cleaned!

    I certainly leave mine in the tin for weeks at a time on longer jobs at home. As long as you replace the water that evaporates from time to time, in theory the paint can't harden as all air is excluded. Getting the water out is a knack, spit on the old palms and spin the brush (like starting a fire with sticks) for a few seconds followed by a few wipes into an big old rag.

    Give it a try!

    Will do thanks for the info....happy painting.

    I, too, have used this, but resting your bristle brush on its bristles in the water isn't so good for the brush; so I fill a container and then rig a hook to keep the brush off the bottom and suspended. (Face it sometimes it's a couple of days until you get back.) You can also pop it in the freezer to slow the drying. But if you have good brushes you'll want to clean them well when you do clean them. Oh, I also use a nail and put hole in the gutter around the rim. Four or five holes using framing nails... then paint that works itself into that gutter drips back into the can and when you seal the lid the holes are plugged.
    Double wrapped should keep odors out of food (as it is all frozen already), but I also when involved in a large project have a box I put all the painting tools in (wrapped in plastic) and close the box. That does help. I often use oil based paints and I've never had unfortunate issues like bags desintegrating, but it may be that bag... was it a biodegradable bag?

    Good idea Expatty, I have wrapped my brushes (& paint rollers) in clingfilm (aka gladwrap or whatever variant is used in your country) quite successfully for a number of years now.
    Unfortunately long term use of these type of surgical gloves can lead to skin problems & heightened sensitivity. I find them uncomfortable & only use them occasionally when using oil based paints. For others in a similar situation I recommend rubbing Vaseline, or other petroleum jelly, thoroughly into your hands before starting to paint, it won't make your brushes last any longer but it's a damned sight easier to clean your hands afterwards, even with oil based paints.

    Plastic wrap or nitrile gloves used to wrap paint brushes is a great idea. Putting the wrapped brushes in the freezer is a terrible idea. Eventually food goes in the freezer. Who wants paint fumes, petrochemical or otherwise, to pollute their food? The risk, IMHO, is not worth the few dollars saved by not buying new brushes.

    Great idea. I tried it using a plastic grocery bag. Wrapped nice and snug. Placed it in the freezer. A few weeks later when I moved it and found a wonderful mess in the freezer. Not sure if the plastic was dissolved by the paint or just leaked. Now how do I remove paint from that plastic freezer liner?
    Discount store $1.00 brushes??

    1 reply

    Was it oil based paint or latex/water based paint?
    Oil's molecule is very similar to many plastics molecule.
    I haven't had much luck freezing oil based paints myself.

    Plastic shopping bags are also good for paint rollers, shove the open end of the roller (ie still on the handle) into the corner of the bag, pull (the outside) back thru your hand and twist to close the end with the handle sticking out.

    The plastic bags newpapers are delivered in are also a good alternative. As one who paints often on the job they have been very handy. The larger Sunday ones can be doubled up on 18 inch rollers too.

    We wrap ours in plastic, sometimes in plastic veggie bags, and into the freezer. When we painted the outside of the house you'd get high on fumes looking for supper (I can feel the headache now).
    What I learned here is to use rubber gloves while painting .... cool, wish I had done that while painting the house. I am painting a small project I made for a granddaughter, and I have paint on my hands now - even though it is water base.

    Great tip...I've used plastic wrap for years. As kjlpdx says, the freezer allows you to "keep it wet" indefinitely (I double-bag it though, to prevent any paint odor from drifting onto your food).
    I've also had good success with a technique to prevent paint from drying in the ferrule (thanks to thebeave for bringing it up and nightninja for being open to learning something new:-)
    This will help to extend the life of any brush, new or used: squirt dishwashing liquid into the ferrule of the brush--this prevents the paint from drying on the bristles. Anytime you clean the brush completely between uses, re-apply the soap. This technique will allow your brush to "work like new" for a long, long time!
    Happy New Year to everyone!!!

    put it in the freezer for even more extended save period

    This was one of the best ideas I've seen recently.