Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brush Cleaning

At the end of a painting session it is sometimes difficult to bring yourself to clean your tools of torture.  Ignore them, let them harden to rakes, and they will torture you.

I find that my cleaning container on my tabouret gets pretty grungy after a short period.  The surface I use to rub off the pigment on my brushes gets a grey scum on it and I end up with dirty brushes after I clean them.  Not much fun to paint that way.  So, how to fix this condition?

First, I retired my expensive stainless steel insert in my nice expensive stainless steel pot.  Next I retired the pot itself into garage duty.  I upsized my pot to a Tim Horton's coffee tin - large.

Measuring the mesh for the Timmy tin.

Then I layed out the tin on top of 1/4" zinc coated wire mesh.  I now have a lifetime supply.  A couple of bricks held everything in place.

Base Mesh

I left about 2 1/2 " extra on the inside diameter of the tin on each side.  Then I notched each corner down past the inside diameter.

Mesh in Place

And voila, ready to add cleaner.  I filled the odourless mineral spirits to at least 2 " over the mesh.  Rub the brushes softly over the mesh.  The pigment falls to the bottom.  Since the wire mesh is round and of little surface area almost no pigment stays there to foul your brushes.  I've been using this for a couple of weeks now.  The pigment on the bottom of the tin is close to 1/2" thick now.  I have saved a lot of time with this and tend to clean my rushes because I know it will be effortless and without frustration.

If you want to go luxe on this, buy a stainless steel pot with lid from the Canadian Tire.  To make it worth while, make sure it is upsized from the Tim's Tin.  You will of course be buying your OMS by the gallon.


  1. To carry this even one step further, have another container that you pour your solution into at the end of everyday. The sludge will settle to the bottom of that container. The next day pour that clean sludge into your new container and the brushes will be even cleaner because no sludge will get stirred back into the clean solution!

  2. Good one. I'll see if there is room for Timmy 2.

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