How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: The Guide for Long-Lasting Brushes

Brushes Miniature painting

How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: The Guide for Long-Lasting Brushes

As a miniature painter and modeler with over 20 years of experience, I’ve tested my fair share of brushes. Properly preparing new brushes before their first use is absolutely essential for longevity and performance. Priming removes residues, conditions bristles, and readies brushes for stellar results.

In this complete guide, I’ll walk you through best practices for priming all types of brushes. Whether you’re a nail tech prepping gel and acrylic brushes, a makeup artist with a new set of blenders, a canvas painter excited to break into oils, or a tabletop wargamer eager to detail miniatures, you’ll learn techniques to extend the life of your brushes and set yourself up for success.

I’ll also share tips from my decades of expertise for choosing quality brushes built to last. Ready to master brush priming and take your artistic talents to the next level? Let’s dive in!

How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: Choosing the Right Brush

With so many types of brushes on the market, deciding on the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming. Keep these key factors in mind:

Bristle Material

Natural hairs like sable work wonderfully for oil or acrylic painting, while synthetics like nylon and polyester excel when used with solvents. Make sure to select bristles suited for your medium.

Bristle Shape

The shape of the bristle end impacts brush performance. Rounded shapes help maintain a sharp point, while flat shapes create broader strokes. Find a shape aligned with your artistic goals.

Ferrule & Handle

A sturdy, seamless ferrule secures bristles firmly to the handle. Avoid loose-fitting ferrules prone to shedding. The handle shape should also feel comfortable in your hand.

Once you select quality brushes designed for longevity, proper priming is the next critical step for success. Read our Guide here for: The Best Paint Brushes for painting Miniatures

How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: Why Prime New Brushes?

Ever taken a brand new brush out of its packaging, loaded it up with paint, and created a streaky, spider web mess? Frustrating, isn’t it? New brushes have residues that interfere with product adhesion and distribution. Priming removes these residues for even flow.

Additionally, priming conditions bristles for optimal performance. It allows bristles to fully soak up the medium, preventing bubbles, beading, and streakiness down the line. Priming may take a bit of upfront effort, but saves headaches (and heartbreaks over ruined paintjobs) later on.

Let’s explore priming techniques for different brush types.

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How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: Priming Acrylic and Gel Nail Brushes

Acrylic sculpture and gel polish application demand precise control. For flawless enhancements, the condition of your brush is key. Here is how to properly prime new acrylic and gel nail brushes before first use:

  1. Remove Plastic Sleeve & Residues

Carefully slide off the protective plastic sleeve from around the bristles. Avoid touching bristles at all costs – oils from skin contact can shorten brush life.

Use your fingers or a tool like an orangewood stick to gently pry residual gum Arabic from bristles. Tease out this starchy residue until no more dust appears. Rinse under water to remove loosened dust.

  1. Prime Acrylic Brushes in Monomer

Pour a small amount of acrylic monomer into a dappen dish. Dip brush bristles into the monomer, allowing them to fully soak it up.

Gently twist and stroke to evenly distribute monomer without disturbing the shape. Wipe excess monomer on an absorbent wipe.

  1. Prime Gel Brushes in Clear Gel

Work a dollop of clear gel polish into bristles using gentle strokes until saturated. Make sure all hairs are coated, then wipe away excess gel with a lint-free wipe.

Once primed, immediately replace the lid on gel polish to avoid premature curing from light exposure. Properly priming conditions the brush for smooth application and prevents staining over time.

Priming Paint Brushes

My favorite part of the miniature painting process is bringing each tiny detail to life with vibrant acrylics. Prepping my brushes well is key for succeeding with fine detailing work. Here are my top tips:

  1. Remove Residues: As before, gently massage bristles between fingers to loosen any gum or debris without touching actual brush hairs.
  2. Wash With Mild Soap: Swish bristles gently in a mild hand/dish soap and lukewarm water solution. Rinse thoroughly under running water while smoothing back into shape. Allow to fully air dry.
  3. Prime With Brush Conditioner: Apply a brush conditioner like The Masters Brush Cleaner to prime bristles. Work it into the belly with gentle strokes. This helps them hold more paint for longer working time. Rinse/dry.
  4. Optional – Apply Protectant
    For extra conditioning, occasionally treat brushes to a nutritive protectant like General Pencil’s brush and comb resin protector. This seals the wood handle and fortifies bristles.

How to Prime Brushes Before First Use

How to Prime Brushes Before First Use: Caring For Brushes Post-Priming

Now that you know how to effectively prime brushes for first use, a few general words on maintenance:

Clean brushes thoroughly after each use with care to preserve their shape. Avoid touching bristles.

Store upright or horizontally – never bristles down. Protect in cases away from sunlight, heat and humidity.

Avoid overloading brushes with excess product, and never leave product to dry inside the ferrule. This can cause permanent damage over time.

Issues keeping your brushes cared for? Read our guide for How to Clean your paint brushes for miniatures

In Conclusion

Whether you’re prepping sable rounds for oil painting or mop brushes for priming miniatures like I do, following these best practices for priming new brushes sets you up for optimal performance from day one. Removing residues, gentle cleansing, and priming with conditioners ready bristles for years of stellar service.

We also recommend Tangible Day on Youtube for a full video guide!

Pair priming know-how with quality brushes designed for longevity in your medium, care for them well, and you’ll be rewarded with smooth application and exquisite results for countless masterpieces to come.

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