Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Unlock the 5 Magic Secrets of Miniature Painting

Brush Sizes

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Unlock the Magic of Miniature Painting

As a miniature painting hobbyist with over 20 years of experience, I want to provide the definitive guide on choosing the best brush sizes for painting miniatures like Warhammer. At our beloved channel Warhammer Universe, we are passionate about helping fellow hobbyists advance their skills. Proper brushes can make all the difference, as the right tools allow your talent to shine through.


Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Understanding Brush Sizing Systems

When buying brushes, the numbering system can be confusing as there is no standardization across manufacturers. The number refers to thickness, length or width of the bristles, but is meant for general size ordering rather than precise measurements. This is why paying attention to actual physical measurements in millimeters or inches is crucial, especially when trying a new brand.


From smallest to largest, the most common brush sizes are:

20/0, 12/0, 10/0, 7/0, 6/0, 5/0, 4/0, 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20.

The sizes 000 to 20 are used most often for miniature painting. Decorators’ brushes use millimeters or inches to specify what is the width:

10mm, 20mm, 40mm, 50mm,

60mm, 70mm, 80mm, 90mm, 100mm

1⁄8 in, 1⁄4 in, 3⁄8 in, 1⁄2 in, 5⁄8 in, 3⁄4 in,

7⁄8 in, 1 in, 11⁄4 in, 11⁄2 in, 2 in, 21⁄2 in,

3 in, 31⁄2 in, 4 in

As you gain experience with specific brands, you’ll get a feel for their sizing. But when trying something new, carefully check the measurements before buying online to ensure you get the size you need.

It’s not always easy to find the best brush sizes for miniatures, often you will need to spend some time experimenting and finding the best brush for yourself.

Brushes Miniature painting

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Brush Shapes and Their Uses

When it comes to miniature painting, the shape of the brush is just as important as the size. Each brush shape serves a specific purpose, allowing you to achieve different techniques and effects. Here are the most common brush shapes and their uses:

Round: The most versatile and widely used shape for miniature painting. Round brushes have a pointed tip and a round belly, making them suitable for a variety of tasks, such as basecoating, layering, and detail work. They come in various sizes, from 000 to 2, and are a must-have in any miniature painter’s arsenal, more variety in brushes means more unique painting./

Flat: Flat brushes have a square or rectangular tip and are useful for applying washes, drybrushing, and creating straight lines or sharp edges. They are also handy for painting large, flat surfaces like vehicle armor or terrain pieces. Flat brushes come in different widths, from 2mm to 10mm or larger.

Filbert: Filbert brushes have a rounded tip and a flat ferrule, combining the characteristics of round and flat brushes. They are useful for blending, highlighting, and creating soft changes between colors. Filbert brushes are less common in miniature painting but can be helpful for specific techniques and are sometimes used in more delicate areas.

Liner: Liner brushes, also known as rigger brushes, have long, thin bristles and a fine tip. They are designed for painting thin lines, such as details on weapons, armor, or text. Liner brushes are essential for adding intricate details and freehand work to your miniatures.

By understanding the different brush shapes and their uses, you can choose the right tool for each task and achieve the desired effects on your miniatures.

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Choosing Between Synthetic and Natural Bristles

Read our full guide here for choosing the Best Brushes for Warhammer Miniature Painting

When it comes to selecting the perfect brush for your miniature painting needs, one of the first choices you’ll face is whether to go for synthetic or natural bristles. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and understanding these differences can help you make a much more informed choice.

Natural hair brushes, typically made from sable or kolinsky hair, are very well known for their superior paint and water retention. These brushes are able to hold more paint on the brush, allowing for longer, smoother strokes without the need for constant reloading. Additionally, natural hair brushes normally maintain their shape and sharp tip much more better over time, making them a much more reliable choice for precise detail work.

On the other hand, synthetic brushes, often made from materials like nylon or polyester, have their own merits. These brushes are generally more resistant to damage caused by acrylic paints, which can be harsh on natural hair. Synthetic brushes are also much easier to clean, as the paint doesn’t tend to get stuck to the bristles as much. Lastly, synthetic brushes are often significantly cheaper than their natural hair counterparts, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.

For beginners just starting out with miniature painting, it’s often recommended to begin with much cheaper and fake brushes. This allows you to experiment with different ways of doing things and develop your skills without the fear of damaging costly natural hair brushes. However, as you gain experience and confidence, buying high-quality natural hair brushes can take your painting to the next steps.

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: 6 Key Brush Features for Miniatures

View our full guide on What brushes are best for painting Miniatures

When shopping for the perfect brush for your miniature painting projects, there are several key things to keep in mind. These characteristics of the brush can greatly impact your painting and the overall quality of your work, so make sure you are looking out for these features when looking at the best brush sizes for miniatures.

Firstly, a good brush should have the ability to maintain a fine tip. This is particularly important for detail work, as a precise tip allows you to paint much finer details with ease. Quality bristles, whether natural or synthetic, should keep their strength over time without fraying or splitting.

Another crucial factor is the brush’s body size. While thin brushes are great for fine details, they require constant reloading, which can be time-consuming and frustrating, similar to losing a League game due to a bad team. Aim for a brush with enough bristles to hold a good load of paint, while still being manageable and not overly bulky.

Good snap and spring are also essential qualities in a miniature painting brush. After each stroke, the bristles should quickly return to their original shape, ensuring great control and nicely kept lines. A brush with poor snap can lead to a loss of control and some.. less accurate painting.

Durability is another important consideration. A Well-maintained natural hair brushes can last for many years, making them a worthwhile investment for serious painters. If you aren’t cleaning your brushes in a more clear way you’ll end up paying the price! Synthetic brushes, while not as long-lasting, offer the benefit of lower maintenance and easier cleaning.

Comfort and feel are always subjective factors, but they can greatly change your painting experience, for better or worse. A brush that feels good in your hand and glides smoothly across the miniature’s surface can make painting a more enjoyable and relaxing process.

Lastly, price is always a consideration when choosing a brush, Don’t ever be fooled by price, you’ll end up buying a lot of brushes. Natural hair brushes tend to be more expensive due to the quality of materials and craftsmanship involved. However, when you consider the hours spent painting and the potential longevity of a well-cared-for brush, investing in quality tools can be well worth it.


Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Essential Brush Sizes

When it comes to selecting the best brush sizes for miniatures, there are a few essential sizes that every painter should have in their toolkit. For the majority of painting tasks, particularly on standard 28mm models, size 0 and size 1 brushes are the most common of the miniature painting world. These very different sizes can handle a wide range of tasks, from basecoating to detail work.

For larger areas, such as vehicles or terrain pieces, a size 2 brush can be handy for quickly laying down basecoats or applying washes. On the other end of the spectrum, a size 00 brush is perfect for adding the best details, such as eyes, teeth, or difficult freehand work.

Some painters also find the use for even smaller brushes, such as 000 or 20/0, for the micro details on the smallest of miniatures. However, a size 3 brush can be useful for very large basecoating jobs or for giving your miniatures washes and glazes over broad areas.

However, when starting out, it’s normally recommended to focus your budget on the main sizes of 0, 1, and 2. As you develop your skills and explore more advanced techniques, you can easily expand your brush collection to include different sizes.

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Top 3 Natural Hair Brush Options

When it comes to natural hair brushes for miniature painting, there are a few brands that consistently stand out for their quality and performance.

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures

Winsor & Newton’s Series 7

Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 brushes are widely known as the gold standard in the miniature painting community. These brushes are known for their great paint retention, reliable snap and very strong spring, and the ability to maintain a sharp tip for precise detail work. While they may be a little bit more expensive than some other options, their longevity and performance make them a reliable investment in your painting future.

Raphael brand brush

Raphael’s 8404 series

Raphael’s 8404 series is another highly respected option, often considered a close rival to the Winsor & Newton Series 7. These brushes offer great performance at a much more aggregable price point, making them a very popular choice among hobbyists. The Raphael 8404 brushes are known for their quite durable points and comfortable handling, providing a pleasant and responsive painting experience.

Da Vinci’s Maestro 35 series

Da Vinci’s Maestro 35 series brushes are also known for their quality(As most brush brands mentioned here), but some painters find that their slender design doesn’t hold as much paint as they would like. Compared to the previous options, the Da Vinci brushes just lack the ability to slop paint on. The snap and flow of these brushes may not be quite on par with the Winsor & Newton or Raphael options, but the more affordable price can make them a better choice for those on a budget.

Ultimately, the best brush sizes for miniatures comes down to choice. Between these top-tier natural hair brush options often comes down to personal preference and individual painting style. However, the Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes continue to be the most widely recommended and highly acclaimed option, used by professional painters across a wide range of artistic disciplines.

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Care and Cleaning for Longevity

Caring for natural fiber properly preserves the years-long lifespan that justifies the investment. Clean thoroughly after every session with Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver. This tried-and-true soap formulation pulls out paint deeply embedded near the ferule.

Work the bristles gently in circular motions against palm to massage away pigment without damaging delicate hairs. Rinse under lukewarm water until running clear. Use brush suspender to air dry tip-down overnight. Then store upright resting on caps in air-tight containers.

Time this meticulous care, and your cherished brushes will last until you pass them as heirlooms onto the next generation of hobbyists. Reward these implements of your craft, and they shall reward you in return.

Read our article here for: How to clean paint brushes for Miniatures

Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How many brushes do I need for a basic set?

A: For a basic miniature painting set, we recommend having at least three brushes: a size 0 or 1 for basecoating and general work, a size 00 or 000 for detail work, and a size 2 or larger for washes and drybrushing. As you progress, you can expand your collection with more specialized brushes.

Q: What brush size should I use for painting eyes on 28mm miniatures?

A: For painting eyes on 28mm miniatures, a size 000 or 0000 brush is usually the best choice. These ultra-fine brushes allow you to create small, precise dots for the eyes without overshadowing other facial details.

Q: Can I use a larger brush for painting smaller miniatures?

A: While you can use a larger brush for painting smaller miniatures, it may be more challenging to achieve precise details and avoid overpainting. It’s generally better to use a brush size that is appropriate for the scale of the miniature you are working on.

Q: How do I know if a brush size is suitable for a particular miniature scale?

A: As a general rule, smaller miniatures require smaller brush sizes, while larger miniatures can be painted with larger brushes. For example, 15mm miniatures typically require brushes sized 000 to 1, while 54mm miniatures can be painted with brushes sized 1 to 3. However, the best way to determine the suitable brush size is through experimentation and practice.

Q: Can I use cheap craft store brushes for miniature painting?

A: While you can use cheap craft store brushes for miniature painting, they may not provide the same level of precision, control, and durability as dedicated miniature painting brushes. Investing in quality brushes will make your painting experience more enjoyable and help you achieve better results in the long run.


Best Brush Sizes for Miniatures: Conclusion

Choosing the best brush sizes for miniature painting is a crucial aspect of the hobby that can greatly impact your painting experience and the final results. By understanding the brush sizing systems, shapes, and their specific uses, you can make better decisions when selecting brushes for your miniature painting projects.

Remember that investing in quality brushes, whether natural or synthetic, will pay off in the long run by providing better control, precision, and durability, Don’t skimp on the cheap brushes or you will pay the iron price. The essential brush sizes for most miniature painting tasks are 000, 0, 1, and 2, with a focus on round brushes for versatility.

When considering natural hair brushes, the top options are Winsor & Newton Series 7, Raphael 8404, and Da Vinci Maestro 35. However, personal preference and budget also play a role in finding the perfect brushes for your needs, Brands aren’t always the best method for a new painter, What is the point in buying a lambo if you can’t drive?

Proper care and cleaning of your brushes are just as important as choosing the right sizes and shapes. By maintaining your brushes regularly and storing them correctly, you can extend their lifespan and ensure that they perform at their best for years to come.

As you continue your miniature painting journey, don’t be afraid to experiment with different brush sizes and shapes to find what works best for you. With practice, patience, and the right tools, you’ll be able to unlock the magic of miniature painting and create stunning works of art.

Remember, the key to success is not just having the best brushes, but also developing your skills and techniques through consistent practice. Keep painting, learning, and growing as a miniature painter, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Related Article