Best acrylic paint brushes.
Best acrylic paint brushes for both students and artists.
You can’t have a good painting without the right brush.
Whether you’re just getting started in the world of the acrylic medium or are an old pro, it’s important to choose your acrylic paint brushes wisely, see how these brushes work and also how to keep them clean.
Acrylic paint is a fun medium, but it can be hard to work with if you don’t have the right tools. In this article, I’ve picked out some of my favorite acrylic paint brushes specifically to use with acrylic paint that will make both your painting and your time spent in front of the canvas far more enjoyable!
The paint brush is your most important tool in the acrylic painting process. If it falls apart or has loose fibers, you will have a hard time making your brushes work as they should which in turn will hinder your chances of creating an aesthetically pleasing artwork that looks professional and clean.
The brush should be one of the first things to consider when deciding on what type of art project to try out with acrylics for beginners and professionals alike, whether you are drawing something from scratch or looking at reference pictures as inspiration.
So, what are the best acrylic paint brushes for everyone?
When choosing new brushes be aware – one size does not fit all – it’s always your personal preference that you have to use when choosing which brush types are better than another. But there are some general ideas of what makes an artist feel more confident in their work and others who may not be so adventurous with color or stroke patterns. So if we go back to our original question “what are the best acrylic paint brushes for both students and artists?” it all depends on your needs but I listed my personal favorite, good quality brushes below highlighting criteria to look out for as well as the pros and cons!
The big thing to remember though is, don’t go with natural fibers (aka natural hair bristles) for use with acrylic paint
- Best acrylic paint brushes.
- Best acrylic paint brushes for both students and artists.
- Choosing The Correct Sized Brushes For Acrylic Painting
- The Various Types Of Acrylic Paint Brushes
- The 6 best acrylic paint brushes
- 01) Princeton Artist Brush, Catalyst Polytip Brush Set for Acrylic and Oil Paint- 5 Piece Set
- 02) D’Artisan Professional Acrylic Paint Brush Set. 15pc Acrylic Paint Brushes for Art Canvas with Case.
- 03) KINGART Precision-Golden TAKLON Set of 8 Acrylic Paint Brush Set, Assorted
- 04) Onson Artist Paint Brush Set – 15 Different Sizes Paint Brushes for Acrylic Paint
- 05) Mont Marte Art Acrylic Paint Brushes Set, Great for Acrylic Painting
- 06) ARTIFY Paint Brush Set of 15 for Acrylic Painting. Includes Pop-up Carrying Case with Palette Knife and 2 Sponges
- The maintenance and caring of your acrylic brushes
- How to clean your acrylic brushes
- How to store your acrylic brushes
- TOP TIP; expensive natural bristles are not the best option when using acrylic paint.
- In conclusion; choosing the best brushes for acrylic painting
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Choosing The Correct Sized Brushes For Acrylic Painting
When deciding on the right acrylic paint brush to buy, you will notice that they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors to choose from at any art supply store. Some brush sizes have thinner bristles for detailed work while others are thick and durable.
A typical size sheet for paint brush types from a manufacturer will tend to feature brush size in keeping with this:
#00 / #0 / #1 / #2 / #4 / #5 / #6 / #8 / #10 / #12 / #14 / #16 / #20
however, it’s always best to check out each individual manufacturer’s range as even though two brushes may be listed as both being size #5 for example, the chances are they’ll not be exactly the same.
As a general overview though:
Painting Details will require small brush sizes less than #5
Underpainting and blocking, as well as creating bold strokes in work will require mid-range sizes from #6 -#12
Initial page wash will require a large brush size with thicker bristles, #14 and above
Only by reviewing each individual manufacturers website will you truly know the style and spec allowing you to compare accurately. Most manufacturer’s return policy does allow you to return unused brushes so it’s no real issue ‘getting it wrong’ but always best to check this too before buying.
The Various Types Of Acrylic Paint Brushes
Here are the 4 most common styles of acrylic brush
- Round Brushes
- Flat Brushes
- Filbert Brushes
- Fan Brushes
..and if new to acrylic painting I recommend that you try them in the listed order.
The Round Brush
Great brushes for detail, varying your round brush stroke weight from fine lines to thick and fantastic for patterns.
The ideal brush for painting straight shapes. Perfect for painting lines and edges. (The flat brush – sometimes called liner brushes).
The perfect mix between the round brush and the flat. One of the great brushes for acrylic paint and the ideal choice as a shader brush or for blending.
Fan brushes are the best paint brushes for blending and feathering acrylic paint on most surfaces. Ideal for painting grass, branches and trees.
The 6 best acrylic paint brushes
01) Princeton Artist Brush, Catalyst Polytip Brush Set for Acrylic and Oil Paint- 5 Piece Set
- Color – Beige
- Size – Set 6403 5-Pc Set
- Brand – Hyatt’s
- Paint Type – Oil, Acrylic
- Number of Pieces – 5
About this item
- Set is perfect for use with medium to heavy-body paints
- Synthetic bristles are extremely stiff yet extremely responsive
- Holds a higher volume of paint while providing a smoother application
- These synthetic brushes have increased durability to water exposure with time
- Set includes 5 brushes ranges in sizes from 2/0 to 8 (including round brushes)
This set of Catalyst Polytip brushes by Princeton include five brushes – 8 Round, 6 Angle Bright, 4 Filbert, 2 Bright and 2/0 Round. Featuring synthetic stiff bristles that are of course stiff yet still extremely responsive, the Catalyst Polytip has real integrity in water. Each hair tip is split to replicate the finest natural bristle, allowing the Catalyst to hold a higher volume of paint while providing a smoother application. Designed for use with medium to heavy-bodied acrylics and oil paints, Catalyst is able to move heavy gel mediums with confidence.
02) D’Artisan Professional Acrylic Paint Brush Set. 15pc Acrylic Paint Brushes for Art Canvas with Case.
- Color – Grey
- Material – Synthetic, hog
- Size – 3/0,1,2,3,4,6,8,9,10,11,5/4
- Brand – D’Artisan Shoppe
- Paint Type – Gouache, Watercolor, Acrylic and for Oil Painting
About this item
- No loose hairs or paint flaking off of these synthetic bristles.
- This brush set can be used for acrylic paints, water color paints and even as oil paint brushes; these brushes are also very versatile as there a mix of 4 natural hog hair bristle brushes and 11 with synthetic bristles to create the brush strokes you need.
- These professional quality paint brushes are custom designed to last longer with better components, therefore you don’t have to pick out debris from your acrylic painting and your paint brush won’t fall apart.
- This ergonomically designed long-handled, paint brush set includes 15 paint brushes including 4 flat paint brushes, 1 fan brush, 3 round brushes, 4 filbert brushes, 1 angle brush, 1 rigger brush, and 1 wide brush so you can paint in every style you want.
- You will spend less time washing these acrylic paint brushes. They will not peel or shed, and that gives you more time to paint.
03) KINGART Precision-Golden TAKLON Set of 8 Acrylic Paint Brush Set, Assorted
- Color – Black, Silver, Amber
- Material – Wood, Nickel-plated ferrule, Synthetic Brush Hairs
- Size – Assorted
- Brand – KINGART
- Paint Type – Acrylic Paint
About this item
- Finest-Quality Golden & Amber Taklon Mix in hand-chosen shapes and sizes with short handles
- Great for all mediums with brush head holds shape well with ideal “snap”
- Ergonomic handle relieves hand fatigue and provides greater control
- Features a black gloss handle with silver crimped nickel-plated ferrule
- Any KINGART premium brush set comes with each individual brush sewn into a branded brush card and packaged in a luxury gift box
KINGART uses the finest synthetic fibers to create brush heads that are remarkably durable, easy to care for and versatile (they work equally well with watercolor, acrylic, and oil paint). Each brush is expertly crafted to mimic the virtues of natural hair, including exceptional paint-holding capacity at a reduced cost. Unlike natural hair brushes, synthetics are easier to clean, less prone to damage from solvents and caustic acrylics, and are exceptionally durable on a variety of surfaces from linen canvas to wood.
These features increase the longevity of a KINGART brush and allow artist’s the freedom of using any kind of medium rather than a singular brush for watercolor and another specific for acrylic. All the brushes hold their shape well and consist of filaments that are dyed and baked to increase softness and absorption.
These features are important because an artist can easily spread paint across a canvas or create sharp points with the brush for detail and precision painting. KINGART prides itself on the versatility, durability, and ease of use of its premium synthetic brushes.
04) Onson Artist Paint Brush Set – 15 Different Sizes Paint Brushes for Acrylic Paint
- Color – Black
- Material – Nylon
- Brand – ONSON
- Number of Pieces – 15 Piece Acrylic Paint Brush Set
- Bristle Type – Synthetic For Acrylic Painting
About this item
- No loose hairs or paint flaking off of these brushes. The acrylic paint brushes are handmade with care, using the finest material.
- This paint brush set includes 15 paint brushes. They are liner, flat, angular, filbert, round, fan, and comb. Comfortable handles for any temperament, speed, skill or style. With easy transport nylon brushes case.
- This brush set can be used for acrylic paints, watercolors, and gouaches and can even be used as oil brushes. They also keep their spring after cleaning.
- Each of these 15 piece acrylic paint brushes sets includes a pop-up carrying case and a watercolour brush pen, allowing you to take it with you wherever go. The case protects your brush set + you can use the brush stand / brush holder to house your brushes up for easy use.
05) Mont Marte Art Acrylic Paint Brushes Set, Great for Acrylic Painting
- Color – Black
- Material – Taklon Hair / Synthetic Fibers
- Size – 15 Piece Acrylic Paint Brush Set
- Brand – Mont Marte
- Number of Pieces – 15
About this item
- Extremely Versatile: 15 different sizes from 3/0 to 12 ¨C perfect for every level of artists from kids, beginners to professionals. If you are looking for elegantly made paint brushes for personal use or as a gift, our long-handled paint brushes set will be ideal for you.
- Superior Quality: This art paint brush set is a great introduction to professional quality. The paint brushes are handmade with care, using the finest material to ensure that no bristles are left behind to spoil your work. The taklon hair is thick and smooth, and sealed in aluminum ferrule firmly that won’t come out easily. The shafts are wooden, and will not be bent or broken even with long-term use.
- Wide Application: These paint brushes are suitable for various kinds of painting. A great brush set, capable of acrylics, watercolors, gouaches, and oil paintings.
- Strong Portbility: This acrylic paint brushes set comes with a gorgeous zippered holder, which potentially could be a wonderful Christmas gift for family and friends. With the handy case, it is also perfect for carrying outside but still keeping art paint brushes organized and in tip-top condition.
- Storing Tips: Clean your acrylic paint brushes set in warm soapy water and rinse well immediately after use. Reshape bristles gently and wait till dry before storage.
06) ARTIFY Paint Brush Set of 15 for Acrylic Painting. Includes Pop-up Carrying Case with Palette Knife and 2 Sponges
- Color – White
- Material – Nylon brushes Synthetic brush
- Size – 15 Piece Acrylic Paint Brush Sets, including palette knife
- Brand – ARTIFY art supplies
- Number of Pieces – 15
About this item
- An Artify paint brush uses heavier glue on where wood and the synthetic bristles meet, so the ferrules don’t come off easily.
- They use a selection of high-quality, nylon, synthetic bristles to minimize the possibility of hair loss.
- The 3 layers of coating and the heavy glue on the head of wood make it perfect for soaking in water for more than 48 hours to ensure the removal of the acrylic paint.
- Artify has selected 15 different shapes and sizes of paint brushes as a set each including an additional painting knife. They are liner, flat, angular, filbert, round, fan, and comb. The acrylic paint brushes set could satisfy you with whatever detailed painting or largest coat applications.
- The set includes a carry case with a pop up stand. So it’s more than just a convenient storage solution, the carry case can be used as a pop-up stand as well which lets you easily swap out brushes while you work. The carry case can also be folded shut and put safely in your backpack or carry bag along with your other art materials. It also has two sponges and a palette knife as free accessories for better painting work.
The maintenance and caring of your acrylic brushes
Acrylic paint can easily destroy a brush if it doesn’t get cared for and maintained properly. But don’t worry, I have some tips that will help you keep your brushes in pristine condition so they’ll look beautiful forever! Remember, clean brushes are happy brushes
Acrylic paints are great because they give paintings that sleek glossy finish everyone loves, but the downside is how quickly acrylics dry out once their pigments come into contact with air. This makes them extra sensitive to contamination from oils or other liquids like turpentine which could potentially break down the binder of the oil-based pigment and cause cracking along lines where two layers meet (think about what happens when an old vinyl record develops cracks). Now here’s my advice:
How to clean your acrylic brushes
Always clean your brushes immediately after use. It’ll only take a minute and you’ll be amazed how much cleaner they’re able to look if treated at the first opportunity rather than being left to sit for days or weeks on end.
Unfortunately, some brushes are more porous than others and will end up harboring paint at their ends that can’t be removed.
For this reason, I recommend using the double bath method when cleaning them: first, soak in water to get the brushes wet, then use soap before soaking again in clear water.
I love using two jars of water to clean my brushes! The first jar is used for the initial wash which takes off most of the pigment and acrylic polymer emulsion. After that, I use a second jar as a deeper rinse when needed.
In general, it is imperative to make sure that your brush isn’t a mess. Using this technique will ensure the bristles on your brushes don’t stick together and will also help you keep acrylic paint from congealing in the ferrule which would ultimately result in a poorer performance in your painting style.
How to store your acrylic brushes
It is important to maintain your brush collection so they live a long and healthy life.
As mentioned, you should clean them after every painting session, but storage is equally as important.
The best practice when it comes to this is to store the brushes in their original container for protection from dust or other debris that can build up on surfaces in an art studio environment.
…Oh and one more thing, try never to drop water into the ferrule of any paintbrush because it will damage both the bristle head as well as cause swelling of metal parts which could lead to breakage over time; especially if you are using expensive synthetic nylon bristles.
And the last tip on storage, don’t forget to store your beautiful brush sets upside down in your brush holders! This will keep the bristles from getting damaged and make it a lot easier for you when it’s time to use them once again.
You don’t want any bent bristles the next time you go to paint.
TOP TIP; expensive natural bristles are not the best option when using acrylic paint.
If you have never done anything with acrylics before, here are a few pointers.
-Don’t use natural fibers, commonly known as animal hair fibers! Always go for a synthetic fiber for three reasons:
01) The hairs on a natural fiber brush will just clog up when using arcylic and make them unusable. The tiniest piece of dried acrylic will cause the bristles to snap or split, ruining your brush. This can be avoided by opting for a brush with nylon bristles.
02) No one wants to paint their work with a tinge of brown or black because of the colors that it’ll turn into when soaked by water. Any synthetic fiber will prevent this issue
03) Cleaning acrylic brushes with water while you use them will reduce their springiness so always choose a synthetic fiber, such as nylon bristles.
In conclusion; choosing the best brushes for acrylic painting
I’ve been painting for years, and am always looking to improve my art. It was hard researching the best acrylic paint brush out there because it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack! But over the years and with some focused, dedicated research – I have managed to come up with this list.
As I say though, one size does not suit all but hopefully, after reading you’ll be just that little better informed and will make good choices from here on.
Blick master bristle brushes tend not to be a good choice, nor anything that highlights unnecessary features such as black coated brass, household brushes or machine made brushes. Palette knives can often be an upsell but this is fine from my point of view – every artist should have a section of palette knives over time.
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Written By Adam Rushton
Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.
His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.