Thursday, February 26, 2009

Watercolor Brush Care/Repair

QUESTION: My watercolor brush is loose. The metal ring holding the brush "hairs" wiggles and is no longer tight on the handle. It was expensive. What can I do?

SUSIE'S REPLY: Ouch! Loosing a favorite watercolor brush, expensive or not, is almost like loosing a good friend isn't it?
The most common cause for a loose ferrule (the metal ring that connects the brush hairs to the handle) is leaving the brush submerged in water too long. If the handle is made of wood, the wood swells in the water and when it expands it loosens the ferrule and cracks the protective paint on the handle. Using a pair of pliers you can gently crimp the ferrule close to the handle to stop most of the wiggle.
If that doesn't work, use an awe or nail to puncture the ferrule making a hole in the metal to grip into the wooden handle. I sometime use fingernail polish to fill in the cracks in the paint to keep the handle for absorbing some of the water.
I've also seen some old loose brushes with a wire tightly securing the ferrule to the handle. Not to be confused with the mop brushes that are made this way to begin with. Hey, if it works why not?

If the handle is plastic, you can try to get some "super glue" under the ferrule to reseal and reattach it to the handle. Use a glue that's not water soluble.

As a preventative measure, above all don't leave a brush standing in a water container for an extended period of time.

I hope you can save your brush!

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