Saturday, June 16, 2012

Any Advice from You Paint People?

Have you ever been just about to fall asleep, and suddenly had that "uh oh" feeling when you realized you forgot something?  It happened to me last night--and it made me jump out of bed and run down to the garage at midnight!

You see, I haven't painted anything since I was getting ready for Lucketts, and I planned to get started on a project this weekend.  I found a great oak coffee table on Craigslist that I'm going to paint for my living room redo.  But just as I was dozing off I remembered my paint brushes:  I had left them wrapped in plastic the night before we set up for Lucketts, meaning to clean them the next day.  And you guessed it--I totally forgot, and they've been sitting there ever since.  It's been two months!  Six brushes (I was working on multiple projects at the same time), four of them my good Purdy brushes.  Most of them hard as rocks.

As embarrassing as it is to admit what a ditz I am, I'm even more ashamed to tell you that it's not the first time I've forgotten about a brush! When it's happened to me before I've thrown the brush away.  But I'd hate to toss all of these--for one thing, they're not exactly cheap! 

So I'm wondering if any of you have a suggestion.  Is there anything I can do? Can they be saved, or am I going to have to take the walk of shame down the paint brush aisle at Home Depot? I was using chalk paint if that makes any difference.

Any ideas?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!


  1. If it was chalk paint, then your brushes should be fine. Soak them in water, then gently bend the bristles and work the paint out of them. Once the bristles are pliable again, wash the brush with soap, gently scrape any remaining paint out of the brush with your fingers, and rinse. You should have clean brushes, ready to use. Be gentle, so you don't mess up the bristles while you work.

    If it's not chalk paint, you may be sunk.

  2. I have saved brushes that were dried with murphy's oil soap. Mix some up with water in a cup (I used a disposable solo cup) and dunk the brush for at least 24 hours. Sometimes I have to leave them in longer to soften. After the paint softens wash with soap and water. If you google or search Pinterest you should be able to find a "recipe" for this method. Good luck!

  3. Most paints ruin our good brushes, and I was told by my painting teacher, don't bother trying BUT I always do, and most times i'm able to do it unless it's a high gloss paint. I've not use chalk paint, only because I haven't been serious enough to start my projects. I've soaked mine in a soapy solution for at least 12 to 24 hours, and I NEVER bend them until I get much of the yucky paint out. I buy fingernail brushes at Walmart for $2, good and stiff yet soft, in the section with the brooms and mops, not with the nail polishes. Rub downwards, getting more of the paint off with each stroke. Nice thing about these brushes is they are stiff, yet gentle, and go all the way through the brush (that's why I buy the ones in the cleaning section and not in the nail section!

    Please let us know how this all works out for you. That's a long time for them to sit, we've all done it - probably with mixed results! I'd appreciate knowing how you make out!

    Good luck - blessings,

  4. Soak them in a solution of warm water and vinegar for at least half an hour and then rinse in warm water. Has saved many a brush for me. Good luck!

  5. If all else fails, try brush cleaner sold in the same area as other painting solvents.

  6. Overnight in vinegar or Murphy's and then a good scrubbing. Either has saved me many a time! good luck :)

  7. I hope I am remembering this correctly. I read on another blog last month, if you soak in white vinegar they should be good.

  8. To those of you whom I haven't been able to thank directly because your email isn't listed -- THANK-YOU! So far I'm doing a combination of everyone's suggestions: I've saved four of them with the soaking, soap & water treatment, and the two that didn't work on are currently soaking in vinegar. Murphy's Oil is next if the vinegar doesn't work!

  9. Agree -diluted Murphy's works well. I'm an oil painter (as well as a newbie chalk painter) and I always have a large yogurt cup filled with Murphy's to throw my brushes in when done painting in any medium. They wash out easily and it conditions them. You can also use Ivory Soap. Put 1/2 bar on bottom of jar, add water. Did brushes in the sludge. Gets kinda gucky so I prefer Murph's. You may have to soak yours a few days.


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