Inside: what to do with an old dry paint brush and how to easily recycle it to a beautiful art project
The one thing I'm very bad at in regards to crafting is cleaning! I never clean my stencils and I usually forget to clean my brushes. That means I have a lot of old dry paint brushes in my craft room. Even though they are dry and most probably beyond salvage I still can't throw them away so I come up with ways to recycle them!
HOW TO CLEAN OLD DRY PAINT BRUSH
I you are like me and have old dry paintbrushes there might still be a way to save them:
- For oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers - follow the manufacturer's instructions to select the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.). Pour the solvent into a container and dip the paint brush into the solvent. Work thinner through the brush bristles, dipping up and down in container several times. Spin the paint brush into a waste area to remove excess thinner and then repeat process with a clean container and clean thinner.
- For water-based paints - A mixture of warm water and mild soap suds is the best cleaning solution for water-based paints. Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the paint brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary. Always use a clean container with clean soapy water and follow with a clear water rinse. For stubborn water-based paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clear water rinse.
WHAT IF IT'S TOO LATE TO CLEAN
If your brush is beyond regular cleaning you can still revive it with viniger!
- Soak the brush in white vinager for about an hour.
- Put the vinager and brush in a pot and simmer on the stove.
- Rinse the vinegar with warm water and soap.
WHAT TO DO WITH OLD PAINT BRUSH
- Even if you your paint brushes back to perfect softness needed for a nice, smooth paint job, once clean, they can be used for cleaning hard-to-reach areas around the house or on a car’s dashboard – in fact a little stiffness might help them getting into tiny nooks and crannies easier.
- Some charities accept old paint brushes so you can find out where you can donate them.
- If your brushes are completely ruined and can;t be cleaned or donated you can still use them for mixed media art and altered art projects!
HOW TO RECYCLE OLD DRY PAINT BRUSHES
You can recycle any size of brush:
- Use small brushes for smaller projects or attach them together to create a larger surface to work on. Check out this idea HERE
- Use a large brush like you would use a canvas to make your art.
STEPS TO A MIXED MEDIA ALTERED PAINT BRUSH
- Cover the paint brush with gesso. Make sure to cover the bristles as well.
- Stencil the brush with a pattern.
- Color it with spray paints or acrylic paints creating a multi colors textured background.
- Add embellishments according to the theme of your project.
Here's the full step by step video tutorial to make this project:
Need more ideas for altered art projects or recycling ideas? Here are some ideas:
- Altered CDs mini album part 1 and part 2
- How to make a tree stump fairy house from a plastic pot
- What to do with old toys
- Recycle milk carton to photo display
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Have fun creating!