An unvarnished acrylic painting may lack the aesthetic flair of professionally done pieces. Varnishing your artworks gives it a beautiful homogeneous finish, not to mention the much needed protective seal.
But using the wrong brush for the application could ruin the appearance of what you are trying so hard to improve. A bad brush will leave streaks, bubbles, and hairs on your acrylic painting, which is worse than having no varnish at all!
So, what are the best brushes for varnishing acrylic paintings? The best brushes for varnishing acrylic paintings are broad, flattened, with soft synthetic bristles. Split ended bristles and a long handle are added advantages.
In this post, we discuss all things varnish brushes with a bias towards acrylic paintings. You’ll learn how to pick the right brush for your needs, and at the end are a few expert product recommendations.
Paint Brushes For Varnishing Acrylic Paintings: What To Look For
Not all brushes are well-designed for varnishing. And even those made for varnishing will not necessarily work for acrylic paintings or the varnish you intend to use.
Typically any brush can get the job done if it satisfies certain qualities. Here’s what you should be looking out for:
Look for very soft hair that will glide smoothly over the surface without bubbling or streaking. Artificial fiber filaments are highly recommended over natural hairs. They hold up well to this type of work regardless of the varnish you choose to use.
Nylon is perfect. Taklon and polyester bristles are okay to use too. Avoid stiff brushes that will leave marks or disturb the paint underneath because acrylic paintings don’t dry entirely rock solid.
Shape and Size
Flat, broad brushes are the best for applying varnish to acrylic paintings. Since you want to cover the entire area, they enable you to make broad and long continuous strokes leaving fewer marks and saving you time.
Ideally, a 2” wide brush would be suitable for various sizes of paintings, but you could go wider or narrower. It is really personal preference and comfort. The length of the handle is important as well. A long handle is necessary for dipping into the jar of varnish.
Your painting brush should be separate from your varnish brush to avoid contamination and enhanced longevity. Durability is key to ensure your specific varnish brush lasts long. Check that the bristles are held firmly into the ferrules.
Some artists prefer one-time use brushes, which is alright, especially if you hate cleaning up after brushes. Just be sure the quality is decent enough for that mission, or you’ll have to wipe off the entire varnish.
The 3 Best Brushes For Varnishing Acrylic Paintings
The number or paintbrushes available in the market is scaringly huge. But you don’t have to go through the minefield. Here are our best brush picks for varnishing acrylic paintings:
|1.||Folk Art Gold Taklon Flat Brush||Designed for broad, smooth coverage|
|2.||Wooster Brush Alpha Varnish Paintbrush||Designed for precision control|
|3.||US Art Supply Bristle Paint Brushes||Made for varnish, gesso, glue, etc.|
We’ve also got a full review of each so be sure to read on – and happy painting!
1. (Plaid) FolkArt Gold Taklon Flat Brush
You can trust brushes from Plaid, renowned manufacturers of all things acrylic paint. These are good quality brushes with fine and soft Taklon bristles.
The 1 ½ inch thick and flat top works amazing on large areas of canvas. Every stroke produces a silky smooth finish. And there’ll be no marks or bristles falling off.
The build is so sturdy making these reusable. With proper cleaning, they’ll spring back to being soft, and they take to being reshaped after cleaning, so don’t worry if they seem a little worse for wear after use at first.
Reasonably priced and efficient, you need not look further for a dedicated brush for varnishing acrylic paintings.
2. Wooster Brush 4233-2 Alpha Varnish Paintbrush
Wooster, one of America’s favorite brands, needs no introduction to professional paint artists and is a go-to for a range of quality paintbrushes.
The Alpha varnish is another great with soft microtip nylon filaments that leave no trail behind. Just a smooth flow with minimal drag, and the results are an even fine finish.
The construction is superb, and the hairs are tightly secured into the stainless steel ferrules. They clean up easily and won’t shed.
A beautiful sealed maple wood handle designed ergonomically provides a comfortable and controlled grip. From a brand with decades of experience making paintbrushes, you can only expect durability and excellence.
3. US Art Supply Bristle Paint Chip and Utility Brushes
Who wouldn’t want three brushes for the price of one? This US Art Supply set comes with a good variety of brush sizes for all your varnishing needs.
The 100% synthetic hairs are super soft in tin ferrules with wooden handles. And they come in small, medium, and large (or 1″, 2″ and 3″ wide) flat brushes.
Performance-wise, the brushes do a fantastic job providing an even smooth finish with a variety of varnishes. You’ll occasionally lose a bristle but nothing dramatic like some truly low-quality brushes.
This set is of acceptable quality and the price is a steal. Totally worth checking out for your collection of brushes for varnishing acrylic paintings.
Up Next: The Best Varnish For Oil Painting