Did you know hand sanitizer gel is great for the decorative artist, for things beyond cleaning and sanitizing your hands? I buy the big pump bottle of Member’s Mark brand hand sanitizer at Sam’s Club and keep it on my studio table… but any brand will do. I buy the little samples sizes at Wally World and they are great for traveling or classes.
Cleaning Dirty Brushes… It works great to clean your brushes, even dried in acrylic paints.
Squirt a little in your hand and stroke your brush back and forth… even dried acrylics dissolve in a flash. Wipe your brush with a paper towel (I like to fold the towel around the bristles, pulling from ferrule to end of bristles, pinching them flat between my fingers to remove dirty gel), repeat until the gel stays clean.
For brushes that are excessively dirty, use one of the little heart scrubby pads. Hold the brush almost horizontal to the pad, and be sure to pull the brush from ferrule to tip of bristles to minimize damage to your bristles. Never scrub back and forth. This little pad will “comb” the dried paint out of your brush.
When you have finished, reshape the bristles with your fingers (you can even pull the bristles over a bar of soap to use as sizing), then lay the brush flat to dry.
Drybrush Techniques… Hand sanitizer also works great when you are doing a drybrush technique and don’t want to get water in your brush between colors. Just clean your brush as above, the sanitizer will evaporate quickly leaving you with a fresh dry brush to continue. Caution, you want to make sure the sanitizer has evaporated before brushing on your painted surface because it could soften the paint you have already applied. I can tell when the sanitizer has evaporated by stroking the brush back and forth over the back of my hand… when the bristles no longer feel cool, you know the sanitizer has evaporated out of the brush.