How to Ruin a Paintbrush in One Simple Step

"No More Bad Hair Days"... For a printable pdf visit:­color or tem­pera paint in cake form offers lots of advan­tages for ele­men­tary stu­dents. But this kind of paint can also be hard on brushes! When younger stu­dents are used to paint­ing with liq­uid water­col­ors or liq­uid tem­pera, they often for­get to add water to their paint when they switch to work­ing with cake-style col­ors. Then, they com­pen­sate for this lack of water by press­ing down extra hard on the cake of paint. This bends and dam­ages the brush’s bris­tles, forces paint up into the fer­rule (mak­ing it hard to clean), and gen­er­ally results in what we call a “bad hair day” for the brush. And it’s not so good for the paint set, either! Need­less to say, it short­ens the lifes­pan of your brushes and your paints when this happens.

Do your brushes a favor by teach­ing stu­dents to first dip their brush in clean water and then squeeze a drop or two of water onto each color before get­ting started with their paint­ing. This will start to soften and liquify the paint. Then remind stu­dents to keep adding water as they work. It takes prac­tice to get the ratio of water to paint just right, but kids catch on fast once they develop this habit!

"Take Care of Your Brushes and Your Paints"...  For a printable pdf visit: more tips for water­color suc­cess with kids here. For a print­able down­load of these images, visit my store at Teach­ers Pay Teach­ers!

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3 Responses to How to Ruin a Paintbrush in One Simple Step

  1. sandy daly July 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    Sim­ple solu­tion to the wet­ting your water­col­ors and cake tem­pera problem.….I keep sev­eral spray bot­tles of water on the tables. I gen­er­ally do the first spray but any­time their paints are get­ting dry they may spray their own.

    • Cheryl Trowbridge July 7, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Great idea, Sandy! It seems so obvi­ous… I won­der why I never thought of that?! Not sure about leav­ing the spray bot­tles on the tables, though! ;-)


  1. 6 Tips for Watercolor Success with Kids | TeachKidsArt - May 15, 2014

    […] need to grind their brush into the paint to pick up the color they want. Avoid “bad hair days” for […]

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