While there are many types of tools and brushes on the market, surprisingly, professional tools have changed very little over the years. If you have to invest in just one special brush, it would have to be a badger-hair softening brush. Even if you’ve never painted before, the effects you’ll get from using this are just incredible.

If you can, it’s definitely preferable to invest in professional tools. They’ll always make each job easier. If you store them properly, they are sure to last a lifetime. However, for every specialty tool, there is an inexpensive alternative that may be available in your local paint or hardware store. Often you can make some of the tools yourself. For example, sponge sticks, also called sponge brushes, are cheap alternatives to paint brushes and are especially good for varnishing. You can throw them away after using.

If you’re going to invest in some of the marvelous brushes that are used for specialty furnishes, or even ordinary paint brushes, it’s important that they are looked after so they will have a long life. When a brush is used with oil or alkyd paint, it should be cleaned with mineral spirits (paint thinner). And when the paint is thoroughly removed, it should be washed with warm water and soap. A brush that is used with water-based or latex paint may be cleaned with soap and warm water. A professional brush used for softening finishes such as flaux marble gets hard very quickly when you’re working with a water-based paint or glazing liquid. If you feel the tips of the brush get hard after about twenty minutes, rinse the brush under running water, shake it out, and carry on.

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