Quick Brush Tip

Have you ever forgotten to wash out a glue-soaked brush? Here’s a tip you may or may not know: soak it in rubbing alcohol. I just saved another “ruined” brush and thought I’d pass along this most useful tip.

Do you have a helpful studio suggestion you’d like to share? Please do!

As for the alcohol bottle’s label design… hmmm… What’s next? Papyrus on tubes of hemorrhoid cream? (Forgive me.)

6 thoughts on “Quick Brush Tip”

    • Thanks Anna! I’m so happy this will help you. I once left my best glue brush out all night. Horror! I soaked it overnight in alcohol, then washed as usual. I swear, the bristles seemed better than before. Sometimes you have to kind of pull the PVA off the bristles as it loosens, but it will come off.

      I should give credit to the folks in my local book arts guild, NORBAG. They’ve been a great source for little tips like this.

  1. I did NOT know that about glue! I will try it…I have used glues on brushes when I was card-making, of course. Love the paper-crafts. I also found that soaking a brush, where I let the acrylic paint dry on it, in nail-polish remover, helped. Didn’t fix the problem, but helped loosen the paint, I still had to roll it between my fingers and pull the loosened paint off. Then some sort of conditioner. It’s easier to just throw the brush out.

    • Depends on the brush maybe. If it’s a really cheap one, tossing is definitely an option. When it’s a fancy bookbinding-type brush I bought online… I’ll soak and, if necessary, knead glue snot. What we artists will do, eh? I love to make cards too–so satisfying.

    • Hi Tiffany– If the glue is quite dried and hard, I might let it sit for an hour or more… or even overnight. It varies. If the glue is still not completely dried up and hardened, it won’t take as long as that. There really isn’t a set amount of time to let it soak. You want to do it long enough so that the glue loosens up and becomes soft, then you can pull it off the bristles and wash with soap and as you normally would. It sometimes does take a little effort to work the glue off, but if it’s a nice glue brush you like, it’s definitely worth it.

      One thing to consider is that you might only want to soak the bristles, if possible, and not, if you can get away with it, all the way up to the ferrule where the bristles connect to the brush handle (unless the glue actually does cover that area too). Theoretically, there’s a possibility you could also loosen any glue that holds the bristles themselves in. But if the whole thing is glued up and ruined anyway, you have nothing to lose by trying. (I’ve actually never ruined a brush from getting alcohol up inside the ferrule area, but for completeness thought I should mention that.)

      At any rate, I hope that helps!


Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.