Paintbrush bristles are made from either synthetic fibers or natural hairs. Natural hair brushes are usually Chinese Hog or badger’s hair and are recommended for use with oil-based paints as they flow more smoothly and actually paint on the surface rather than simply “spread” the paint about.
Synthetic brushes, e.g. Nylon or Polyester can be used with all paints but their use with water-based, emulsion paints, is more usual. Chinese hog bristles absorb water which makes using them with water-based paints very difficult and getting a good finish is almost impossible.
What you need to know about natural paintbrush bristles
The best thing about paintbrushes made from natural bristles is that they can provide a much smoother finish compared to synthetic or man-made bristles. Even though synthetic bristles have come a long way since they were first introduced, they are simply no match for brushes made with natural bristles.
Brushes that have been made using natural brush bristles are prone to breakage and damage so you must take the utmost care of them.
Painting with oil-based, latex of acrylic paint.
Tip: Don’t use natural bristles with water-based paint as they are capable of absorbing water in the paint. When this happens, your natural bristles won’t hold their shape, which will cause issues when painting.
Examples of natural brush bristles:
Black China bristles
This is a natural paintbrush bristle that’s made from the hairs of a hog. They can be used with alcohol, solvent as well as stains. Because of their rough nature, black China brush bristles are a great choice for painting on rough or semi-rough surfaces.
White China bristles
The white China bristles are still taken from hog hair but they tend to be softer compared to the hairs used in black China bristles. White china bristles are used commonly when working with solvent and oil-based paint. They are perfect for a smooth finish.
Ox hair bristles
Brush bristles are made using hair that has been removed from oxen ears. Oxen ear hair is incredibly smooth and each of the bristles all come to a fine point rather than having flagged edges like hog hair bristles do.
Blended natural bristles.
Sometimes natural paintbrush manufacturers mix ox and hog hair to create the perfect balance of coarse and smooth. Brushes that come with blended natural bristles tend to cost more than most types of natural brushes.
What you need to know about Synthetic paintbrush bristles
Synthetic bristles are man-made. Synthetic bristles, unlike their natural counterparts, are non-absorbent, making them perfect for water-based paints. What’s so great about synthetic bristles is that they can also be used with all other paint types including acrylic, latex, and oil-based. Synthetic bristles are also more affordable, which is why they are so widely available.
Painting with water-based paint such as Tawi vinyl matt Emulsion.
Examples of synthetic bristles include:
Nylon is the most common type of synthetic material used for synthetic paintbrushes. Nylon brushes are widely used for an array of surfaces because of their durability. However, it’s best to avoid using them on rough surfaces because they do not boast the same stiffness in the filaments as other synthetic materials do.
As such, synthetic brushes made with nylon are used best for indoor applications which tend to have smooth and semi-smooth surfaces. Synthetic nylon bristle brushes are easy to care for. Never store nylon synthetic paintbrushes in hot or humid areas as it will cause the filaments to damage and the brush to lose shape.
Engineered nylon bristles
Some brush manufacturers opt to produce synthetic brushes using engineered nylon. Engineered nylon has all the same qualities as original nylon, but stiffer. This means that they can be used on harder surfaces without damaging easily.
Polyester brush bristles
Polyester brush bristles are highly resistant to water absorption, making them perfect for use alongside water-based paint products like Tawi vinyl silk emulsion. Since polyester filaments don’t absorb water, they are going to maintain their stiffness which will enable the user to maintain greater control over their strokes.
One thing to know about synthetic polyester brushes though is that they don’t stand up too well to rough or overly textured surfaces. It’s best to avoid using a polyester brush on a very rough or highly textured surface if you want it to give you great service.
Nylon and polyester blend bristles
When you choose a synthetic paintbrush that’s been made using a nylon and polyester blend, you will get the best of both synthetic bristle materials. Nylon will offer its softness while polyester will add some stiffness to the mix. Nylon and polyester blends are great for all types of paint, whether water-based paint or oil-based. These types of brushes are also great for all types of surfaces, whether rough or smooth.
The right paint will make all the difference
If you are just starting as a professional painter, you may not have access to various types of bristles. That’s why it is so important that you invest in high-quality paint.
Here at Tawi, our paint is all water-based, making it easier to clean your brushes after you are done using them. To clean our paint off, all you need is some soap and water. Give your paintbrush a dip, shake off the excess paint, and voila! Good as new.
Need to buy high-quality water-based paint? We have a huge selection of products that you can choose from here. Buy Tawi Paints here.