To create beautiful art, you need the right tools. Regardless of the surface you are working on, the correct brushes can make a huge difference to the results you get, especially when using thicker paints such as acrylic leather paints. So will the brushes you already have at home be good enough to get those perfect flowing lines and flawless blocks of color, or do you need to invest in some brand new brushes? Here is our guide to help you choose the right brushes for painting on leather.
Different shapes and sizes
Versatile and easy to use, flat brushes are squared off at the tip and lay down smooth color patches. They can be particularly useful for block coloring and creating distinctive, sharp edges, and come in a range of sizes.
Divided into blunt or pointed tips, pointed brushes can be used to create greater detail, while blunt round brushes are excellent for creating texture such as stippling.
These are flat brushes but with a rounded tip, allowing you to create long, sweeping lines of color without the harder, crisper edges you get with a flat brush. They’re particularly good for laying down color with minimal brush marks and work very well on leather.
These are short-bristle flat brushes that are good for creating short, clearly defined strokes. They won’t take a huge amount of paint load as the bristles are dense and short in comparison to other types.
What brush materials are there?
From feathers to synthetic bristles, sable to a single human hair, almost everything has been used at some stage to apply paint to a surface. Today, artists of all disciplines focus mainly on two types of brushes – synthetic and natural bristles.
If you don’t like the idea of using animal bristles, synthetic brushes are a great alternative. Extremely versatile, they mimic the brush-strokes you’ll get with natural brushes and come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and types. Synthetic brushes are priced at a very wallet-friendly level, and are a perfect choice for novice leather artists who are just starting to build up their collection of brushes. They also tend to respond better to cleaning than finer natural bristle brushes, and can cope extremely well with harsher chemicals such as thinners, finishers, varnishes, and lacquers.
If your budget can stretch to it, sable is undoubtedly the best quality natural hair brushes you can buy, but if you are just starting out, then it may be better to begin with mid-range or budget animal bristle options, which come in two types – soft or stiff.
Stiff bristle brushes don’t have the luxurious feel and flow of sable but they can provide excellent results. If you are covering a larger surface area then they are also a great choice as they are strong enough to cope with extensive use and can hold a good quantity of paint so that you achieve an even and smooth flow.
Soft bristle brushes, on the other hand, may leave more pronounced brush marks if the consistency of the paint is thicker. However, this can actually work in your favor if you’re adding finer details.
What brushes can I use?
Watercolor brushes tend to be a little soft for leather painting, but if you are working in fine detail then they can be used. However, we recommend working with brushes designed for acrylic or oil paints to start with and build up your collection as you progress.
Other ways of applying paint on leather
You can achieve a wide variety of texture effects by using common household items such as sponges, rags, and even aluminum foil.
Caring for your paintbrushes
As with all brushes, the better you look after them, the longer they’ll last. Creative Nation Leather Paints are water-based so clean-up is very easy! Simply rinse out your brushes with water after use. Make sure you clean right down to the base of the brush, otherwise you’ll find any paint that’s worked its way up the bristles may taint your color next time you load up your brush.