How to load a paint brush

Hamilton’s Brushes offers some useful information on how to load a paint brush as well as a guide to understanding paint bristles

How to load a paint brush:

  • Dip the brush no more than halfway into the paint. Do not sink the brush up to the ferrule
  • Let excess paint drip for a moment then lightly tap both sides of the brush against the interior wall of the can/bucket. (Scraping the excess paint on the edge of the can is messy and counter productive, because it removes the paint that has just been loaded into the brush)
  • Keep a wet edge as you paint and continue to paint from that point forward. Use long smooth strokes and reload the brush whenever the paint starts to break up without covering the surface properly

How to load a paint brushNatural Bristle Guide:

  • Natural bristle comes primarily from Chinese Hog and is the “traditional” brush. (Dates back to the Phoenicians)
  • Natural bristle is recommended for solvent based paints, varnish, alkyd enamels and polyurethanes.
  • Natural bristle is not recommended for water based paints (latex, acrylic, PVA) because it tends to absorb water which results in the bristles flaring and becoming too soft to be effective.
  • Rough surfaces tend to break the tips of natural bristle, which negatively impacts the finish. (No longer a smooth finish)

Synthetic Bristle Guide:

  • Synthetic bristles are made with nylon or polyester or a blend of the two.
  • Synthetic bristle is recommended for water based and solvent based coatings. Synthetic bristle performs well on smooth and rough surfaces, and in any weather including heat and humidity.
  • The technology around synthetic bristles continues to change in line with the ongoing change to paint formulations.
  • Synthetic brushes generally last considerably longer than natural bristle and do not absorb water

How to load a paint brush correctly of course depends on the type of brush (or roller) you are using. See our Brushes & Rollers page for more useful information!

Useful Resources:

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