Acrylic paint is a great medium for artists and beginners alike. Acrylics can be applied in many ways, including using paintbrushes, and using the right type of brush, and knowing how to use it is important in order to get a great final result.
Using acrylic paints with a paintbrush can lend itself to creating unique textures that cannot be achieved any other way. But when it comes to paintbrushes, there are so many different types, sizes, and techniques that it can be daunting for beginners to select the best paint brushes for themselves.
So, what are the best acrylic paint brushes? The best acrylic paint brushes are made of high quality materials that won’t shed bristles onto your work. If you want a smooth finish, it’s best to go with soft brushes made of nylon, while stiff or natural bristles will create interesting textures.
In this article, let’s learn more about acrylic paint brushes and what types of brushes are right for your next project.
Acrylic Paint Brushes – Buyer’s Guide
Before buying your first set of acrylic paint brushes, there are some things you should know. But first, here are the basic parts of a paintbrush so you’ll know exactly what we’re referring to.
Anatomy of a paintbrush
- Handle – This part of a paintbrush is pretty self-explanatory – it’s where the brush is held. The handle can be made from wood, plastic, or metal. The material and length of the handle will affect how heavy it is and how comfortable it is to hold.
- Bristles – These are the hairs located at the very end of a brush; this is the part that holds the paint. They are usually made of nylon, although you can still find ones that are made of animal hair. The design of the bristles will affect how your brushstrokes will look.
- Ferrule – This is the part that holds the bristles to the handle of the brush. A good ferrule is made from rust-proof metal. The heel of the ferrule holds the bristles in place, while the crimp is the part that connects it to the handle of the paintbrush.
Below, we’ve listed some factors to consider before you buy an acrylic paintbrush and why they matter.
The rule of thumb when it comes to brush size is that big brushes are used for large areas, and small brushes are used for details.
A brush’s size is indicated by a number printed on the handle (such as 0, 1, 2, etc.), which shows the thickness of the brush at the heel. Keep in mind that these sizes are not necessarily standardized across all manufacturers, so it helps to look at the actual measurements of the brush to get the precise sizing.
Measurements you should know:
- Length – The length of the bristles (from the ferrule to the tip of the brush)
- Diameter – The diameter of the heel
- Width – The width of the heel
Keep in mind that the final look of the brush stroke depends on how you hold the paintbrush – holding the paintbrush close to the ferrule will give you more control over the details, and holding the brush near the end of the handle will give you larger and less controlled strokes.
The size of the brushstroke will also depend on the angle of your hand, the amount of pressure used, how flexible the bristles are, etc.
2. Material And Stiffness
There are various types of brushes for acrylic painting; each type will produce a different result. You will have choices of nylon vs. natural bristles and stiff vs. soft bristles.
Nylon bristles can produce a very uniform and seamless effect, while natural bristles, being naturally uneven, can produce very textured effects. Similarly, stiff bristles tend to produce very textured brush marks, while soft bristles are great for blending and smoothing out textures.
Acrylic paint is quite versatile in its application, so you can choose the type of bristle that works best for your liking. Manufacturers also have paintbrushes designed specifically for acrylic paint. These brushes usually have nylon bristles that are very springy, which works great with acrylic paint and is especially friendly to beginners.
3. Shape Of The Bristles
Paintbrushes also come in many different shapes; each shape has its own unique characteristics and can deliver a different effect.
- Fan – Fan-shaped brushes are great for painting uniform details like grasses, blending large backgrounds, or creating abstract shapes and big textures. There are also many techniques you can use with a fan brush to create different results.
- Flat – Flat brushes have long bristles and square ends. They are great for holding a lot of paint and are used for bold strokes, although you can also hold it on the side to create small, fine lines. The flat brush is similar to a wash brush, but instead of a rounded edge, it has a flat edge. You can use it in place of a wash brush if you want a bit more control over your work, especially when working with a small area.
- Wash Brush – The wash brush is a large paintbrush. If you buy a set of paintbrushes and notice that one of the brushes is larger than the others, it is most likely a wash brush. Wash brushes are best to cover a large area very quickly. A wash brush is often used in combination with water in order to create a “wash” effect on a large area. Wash brushes are also thicker than others, which allows them to pick up a lot of water and paint at a time. When you need to clean up an area on the canvas or surface you’re working on; they are great for picking up excess paint.
- Angled/Slanted – An angled brush has an angled tip. This feature allows you to create various shapes and sizes with one brush just by adjusting the angle of the brush. These brushes are also more comfortable for painting while standing upright since the angle of the brush can prevent wrist pain after painting at this angle for a long time.
- Round – Round brushes are typically smaller than standard brushes and have a soft rounded edge, although you can find them in bigger sizes as well. They give you the most control over the details and finishing touches in your artwork. They can also be used with or without water for experimenting with different effects.
- Filbert – The filbert brush is a combination of flat and round brushes, with an oval-shaped tip that is designed to create thick and thin strokes. Some artists prefer the rounded brushstrokes created by filbert over flat and round brushes.
- Liner – A liner brush is a thin brush with long, stiff bristles. It’s commonly used for very fine details in art since the tip is very small, and it can pick up a tiny amount of paint at a time. A liner brush is a great way to add text and small brushstrokes to your artwork. They can be used dry, though they work best when wet since water can help with spreading and making the paint flow better.
- Household Brushes – These brushes are ideal for covering large areas and painting backgrounds. Household brushes are not designed to last, and after a few uses, the bristles will start to fall out.
- Palette Knives – A palette knife is a type of tool used to pick up and mix paint, and most sets of paintbrushes also come with a palette knife. It is commonly used by artists to create various effects and textures in artwork, especially when painting on canvas. Palette knives can be made of plastic or metal. If you’re a beginner, a plastic knife is sufficient, but a metal knife will last longer and will be easier to clean up.
Taking Care Of Your Paint Brushes
Not taking good care of your brushes can have detrimental effects on their efficiency – your brushes will simply last longer and be more effective when they are well-maintained. Many things can ruin your brushes – damaged, and loose bristles or dry paint are the main culprits.
It is important to keep your brushes clean and organized so that they can serve you for a long time, especially since some paintbrushes can be quite an investment.
How to clean your brushes after painting with acrylic:
- Acrylic paint is water-based, so water is enough to clean up the paint from the brushes. However, this only works when the paint is still wet since acrylic paint can dry hard and is semi-waterproof. This is why it’s always best to let your used brushes sit in a cup of water until you’re done painting and you’re ready to clean them.
- After using, you should use a damp cloth to wipe the excess paint from the brush. You can also rinse out the brush under warm water to remove the excess paint.
- Use mild soap to wash the brushes. You can use a circular motion to knead the brush on a flat surface (even your palm) to work the soap in the bristles. Be gentle and do not pull at the bristles.
- Rinse with warm water, then use a dry cloth to pat dry. Brush out the bristles to make sure they are straight with a fine-toothed comb.
- Lay the brushes flat to dry. Do not place them vertically with the bristles up because water may get into the ferrule and loosen the glue, causing the bristles to become loose. You also don’t want to store them bristles-down, as this can cause the bristles to dry bent.
- After the brushes are dry, you can store them flat in a dry and cool area before the next use.
If your acrylic paint has already dried on your brushes, we have another article that will teach you the best ways to clean dried acrylic paint brushes.
The Best Acrylic Brushes
If you’re interested in purchasing a set of acrylic paint brushes, then below are some of our recommendations for any project you’re planning!
|1.||FolkArt Plaid Nylon Brush Set||3 wash brushes, flat, nylon, stable ferrule|
|2.||Benicci Professional Artist Brushes||12 pcs, several shapes/sizes, nylon|
|3.||Benicci Paint Brushes||16 pcs, case + palette knife + sponge included|
|4.||Soucolor Acrylic Paint Brushes Set||20 pcs, 10 sizes, 5 styles, nylon|
|5.||Golden Maple Detail Brushes Set||10 pcs, thin tip for precision, nylon|
|6.||ZenART Paint Filbert-Brushes||6 pcs, badger hair + synthetic fibers|
|7.||LorDac Arts Paint Brush Set||7 pcs, nylon, several shapes + sizes|
|8.||Inprexion Artist Paint Brushes||15 pcs, nylon, includes storage case|
|9.||Rosmax Artist Paint Brush Set||15 pcs, mixed nylon, storage case included|
|10.||Artify Paint Brush Set||24 pcs, several sizes + shapes, cloth case|
|11.||Falling in Art Natural Bristle Set||15 brushes, hog bristle, several sizes + shapes|
1. FolkArt Plaid Nylon Brush Set (3 Pcs)
An essential addition to any artist’s paintbrush collection, this paintbrush set includes 3 brushes: 1/2-inch wash, 3/4-inch wash, and 1-inch wash.
These brushes are not only great for covering large areas, but you can also play around with the angle to create finer details. The bristles are made of nylon with some degree of flexibility, which will make highly even and uniform strokes.
The nylon bristles are very easy to keep clean and maintain, so you can be sure that these brushes will stay in your collection for a long time. The ferrule is highly dependable, keeping the bristles secure and stable.
These brushes are great for painting with acrylics on various surfaces, including canvas, wood, or rocks. The sizes are just perfect for various projects, and you can totally experiment with them to find the best application for you.
2. Benicci Professional Artist Brushes (12 Pcs)
This set comes with 12 brushes in all the styles that you will need: including fan, flat, and fine brushes. The bristles are made of high-quality nylon fibers for a soft yet durable application that is easy to work with and even easier to clean when you’re done working.
This set gives you a wide range of tools to experiment with a variety of different techniques to create many different effects with your artworks. The ferrules are made of aluminum and attach to uniformly weighted wooden handles, which makes every brush very lightweight and comfortable to use.
These high-quality brushes are a great starter set for beginners who are just starting to work with acrylic, as well as a great addition to any artists’ paintbrush collection.
3. Benicci Paint Brushes (16 Pcs)
This set of 16 paint brushes is ideal for artists and beginners, as well as those already familiar with acrylics.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which allow you to create any kind of effect, from fine details to wide brushstrokes. The set includes a liner, round, angular, filbert, fan, and comb brush, and a flat and glaze brush, as well as a palette knife and sponge.
This is quite a comprehensive set, enough to enrich any paintbrush collection. For those who love working with acrylic, this set can help you learn various different techniques and work with many different surfaces.
These paintbrushes have rust-proof aluminum ferrules and wooden handles, which are designed to be long-lasting and very lightweight. In addition to the 16 brushes, you will also get a carrying case to keep your brushes like new for a long time.
4. Soucolor Acrylic Paint Brushes Set (20 Pcs)
The Soucolor acrylic paint brushes are ideal for working on various craft projects and on various surfaces.
This set comes with 20 paintbrushes in 10 different sizes and 5 different styles, perfect for just about any project you have in mind.
The nickel-metal ferrule keeps bristles tight and secure, while the blue wooden handle provides a comfortable grip so you can get lost in your art for hours at a time.
The nylon bristles are very friendly to beginners. They are easy to work with, and after use, you can wash them with soap and water to keep them as good as new since the bristles will retain their shape after drying.
This is a great set to have in your collection if you want a reliable quality in your brushstroke, whether painting on canvas, wood, glass, or rock.
5. Golden Maple Detail Brushes Set (10 Pcs)
This detail paint brushes set is perfect for creating fine-detail art projects that need a more precise touch. Featuring 10 different brushes, these quality paintbrushes are perfect for working with acrylics to paint miniatures or to create small details on your artwork.
This set stands out from other paintbrushes sets thanks to the easy-grip handles, with comfortable thumb rest, which makes them both comfortable and secure to hold. This design also ensures that you have the proper control over the fine details of your artwork.
The nylon bristles make painting even smoother, and this set also comes with protective tubes so that you can maintain the shapes of the brushes when you are not using them. All in all, this is a great set for those who have a bit more experience painting with acrylics and want to experiment with details and miniatures.
6. ZenART Paint Filbert-Brushes (6 Pcs)
If you love the stroke quality and versatility of filbert brushes, then this set of 6 filbert brushes in various sizes are perfect for you!
These brushes are excellent for working with acrylic paint, thanks to the unique bristle composition of badger hair and synthetic fibers, which have the perfect stiffness and springiness for creating free-flowing brushstrokes.
The wooden handles are UV-coated to ensure wear resistance, while the rust-proof nickel-plated ferrules keep the bristles in place even after painting and washing, which makes them a great investment for your brush collection.
7. LorDac Arts Paint Brush Set (7 Pcs)
Professional quality artist paint brushes are essential, but finding the right set to fit your style can be difficult.
This set makes it easy to find professional-level brushes that are stylish, simple, and easy to use. This is a versatile collection of high-quality paint brushes, perfect for using acrylics on canvas or other surfaces.
Composed of nylon bristles that are less prone to damage or breakage from solvents and paints, the brushes can maintain their shape for a long time and are quite easy to keep clean.
The durable glue and quality aluminum ferrules ensure bristles don’t remain on paintings and have a longer brush life.
With this set, you will get 7 quality brushes, including a round, a fluid-edge flat, a flat wash, and an angular shader, which are the perfect starter set to let you experiment with various techniques and work on various materials.
8. Inprexion Artist Paint Brushes (15 Pcs)
These premium artist paint brushes are designed to make painting smooth and easy. The lightweight nylon bristles provide an exceptional amount of spring, making each stroke smoother than the last.
With 15 different brushes, including 2 sizes each of round, angled, flat, fan, filbert, and liner, you have everything you need to get started painting anything you want. The set also comes with a lovely case to help you store your brushes in between uses.
The brushes have an easy grip that lets artists focus more on their masterpiece and less on struggling to use their paintbrushes. The bristles are kept together thanks to the reinforced chrome-plated ferrules so that the bristles won’t shed after washing.
The handles are crafted with genuine birch wood handles that promote comfort and ease while painting. The mid-length handle length is just right to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, while classic black and white paint are crack resistant, so the brushes will always look polished and new.
9. Rosmax Artist Paint Brush Set (15 Pcs)
The Rosmax Artist Paint Brush Set is a beautiful and functional way to get started painting with acrylics. A great addition to any art collection, the paintbrush set comes with 15 different brushes in various shapes and sizes.
The brushes themselves are made of excellent mixed nylon hair and reinforced with metal ferrules.
The outer layer of the handles is electroplated with blue paint, which acts as a protective layer as well as decoration for these beautiful paintbrushes.
This set is designed for artists and beginners who love painting on the go since it comes with a pop-up carrying case that makes them so convenient to store. In addition, you will also get a palette knife and a sponge to help professionalize your artwork.
10. Artify Paint Brush Set (24 Pcs)
This is the most comprehensive paintbrush set, designed to let your creativity fly. This 24 piece paint brush set offers a diverse selection of quality brushes, including flat, angular, filbert, round, fan & comb brushes of various sizes.
The springy nylon bristles are very friendly to both artists and beginners alike, but what sets these paintbrushes apart is the rust-proof ferrules and the heavy glue that keeps the bristles in place, making the brushes protected from water damage.
Reinforced bristles also mean you don’t lose any hair while washing or painting, so the brushes can stay useful in your collection for a long time.
This set comes with a cloth roller case, which makes it so easy to keep this extensive collection of paintbrushes organized and clean. This is a great comprehensive set of brushes to start a painting hobby, and it can enrich any professional artist’s collection.
11. Falling in Art Natural Bristle Set (15 Pcs)
If you love the textured look created by natural bristles, then check out this paintbrush set.
This is a wonderful starter pack for any aspiring artist or simply those who wish to experiment with different applications of acrylic paint. This set comes with 15 brushes in various sizes and shapes.
These brushes are made from high-quality natural hog bristles, ideal for all types of mediums, especially canvas, wood, and rough surfaces. Each bristle has a split-tip, which is designed to capture more paint in the brush without affecting the stroke quality.
The birch wood handles are double-riveted to the nickel-plated brass ferrule to prevent any hair loss down the road. These paintbrushes are going to help you craft some excellent artworks while maintaining their quality over time.