Best Practices: Paint Brush Care and Use…

With the accessibility of great water based, low VOC, products such as FAT Paint, more and more people are rolling up their sleeves and getting painty in their homes with projects to feather their nests… BUT I’ve discovered something that I find a little shocking… paint brushes are not receiving the respect they deserve!

I’m talking about paint brush care and use… paint brush cleaning!… EEK!… paint up under the ferrule, paint all over the place, brushes left sitting bristles down on the bottom of a container of water!… double EEK!…  This shocked me until I realized that not everyone grew up with a paintbrush in hand or with a mother who taught them proper paint brush care and use as a little… I had to show the brushes respect in order to get to use them… my mom went through a tole painting phase which means that she had some incredibly nice brushes… so she ensured that I had a good handle on paint brush care and use… pun intended

So consider me the collective paint brush mother, here to teach you how to properly care for and use your paint brushes to ensure they have a long, wonderful, and creative life… The following best practices are specific to the brushes that I use to paint furniture and home decor items, but much of it will apply to other paint brushes that you may have on hand.

Lets start with the break down of the anatomy of a paint brushPaint Brush Care and Use

There are the bristles – there are options for you to choose from regarding bristles.  There are synthetic bristle brushes and natural bristle brushes.  Natural bristles can hold excess water which can dilute your paint if you don’t give the brush a good blot in a rag, or something absorbent, before dipping into your paint and the coarseness of most natural bristles will create more or heavier brush strokes in your paint. If you want the real brush stroked look work with natural bristles. If you buy a low quality natural bristle “chip brush” like the one pictured below be prepared to pick bristles out of your paint as you go.  If you are going for a more smooth finish work with a smooth synthetic bristle brush. Personally I prefer to work with a synthetic bristle brush as it gives a great smooth finish to the surface.  I also like working with a thin brush as I find I have greater control over the paint on the surface and the brush doesn’t hold a ton of extra paint.

Paint Brush Care and Use

There is the ferrule – the ferrule connects the bristles to the brush and keeps wood handles from splitting at the end that is in the most contact with moisture.  Typically ferrules are made of a non rusting metal but if you don’t give it a dry off some may still rust and stain the bristles where they exit the ferrule.  Dry your ferrule off after washing your brush and hang your brush up to dry completely between uses.

There is the handle – the materials can vary in paint brush handles, but you will find that the higher quality the brush the more likely it is to have a wood handle, or a painted wood handle.  To determine what handle type you prefer pickup the brush and hold it in your hand, hold it as if you are going to paint with it and feel the balance of the bristles to the handle… does it feel comfortable?…  if not try another!

Now how do you handle that bad boy?

To hold your brush for painting grasp the ferrule like you would hold a pencil with your index and middle finger on one side and your thumb applying pressure on the other. Pick up your brush and try this grip out… if it doesn’t feel comfortable try moving your hand back down the handle a little and test out that location. Play with hold positions until you find one that is the most comfortable for you. Pay attention to how the brush feels in your hand when you start to paint and adjust your grip as necessary.

Paint Brush Care and Use Paint Brush Care and Use

When you are ready to get to work dip into your paint… now don’t get all dip happy… I’m talking about dipping just the tip of the brush into your paint.  Ideally you want to not dip in past halfway up the full length of bristles… the general rule of thumb is 1/3-1/2 way up.  You want to keep the paint below the ferrule as getting paint up underneath the metal can make fully cleaning the paint out of the bristles more difficult… if you get paint up under the ferrule and are unable to clean it out  the paint can dry in there and distort the shape of your brush. If you are using a CLING ON brush dip the bristles in water first and give the brush a shake before your first dip into the paint as this will help with the painting process.

Paint Brush Care and Use

A general tip for any paint project where you are not going to use up all of the paint is to pour your paint a little at a time out into a secondary container and work out of your secondary container, adding more paint as you use it up.  Using a secondary container keeps your paint can clean and free of contaminants from the water system.  Introducing water into your paint can could introduce bacteria which will leave you with a stinky can of paint. Using a secondary container to dip into will also keep the edge of your paint can clean and enable you to get it closed nice and tight until your next project.

I’ve recently begun to work with the great line of paint brushes known as CLING ON… to learn more about CLING ON check out their page in my shop. These brushes are special and have a particularly great advantage over other brushes in that the bristles have a special coating which makes cleaning a breeze… if you’re respecting them during use that is 😉 And those strings that you see just below the metal ferrule!? those help the bristles maintain their shape over time. Taken care of these brushes should last you for years!

Paint Brush Care and Use

Once you have paint on your bristles try to resist the urge to scrape the paint off off the bristles on the side of the paint container!… if the urge is too strong then at the most give the brush a light tap on two opposite sides, inside the paint container, to help push the paint into the centre of the bristles.

Now holding your brush like a pencil and at a 45 degree angle, to the surface that you will be painting, press down while moving over the surface that you are painting, making the longest strokes possible back and forth.  When you arrive at the end of your stroke gently lift the brush up off of the surface… don’t go too fast causing paint to flick from your project and the brush.  Once the paint becomes less movable across the surface pickup more paint dipping only 1/3-1/2 of the bristles, and then applying the paint from the wet edge of the paint that was just applied out to the dry/unpainted surface.

Paint Brush Care and Use Paint Brush Care and Use

Between coats of paint you do no have to wash you CLING ON brush! The magic of the CLING ON is that you can suspend it in a jar of water with paint on bristles… but be sure to suspend it… I use a chip clip and a mason jar. The special coating on the CLING ON bristles helps the paint to slide right off… especially when suspended in clear water.  When you are ready to go onto the second coat give the bristles a shake and a pounce on some paper towels to remove excess water and get back into your paint. Resist the urge to wrap painty bristles in plastic until you are ready to apply additional coats of paint – this can distort the shape of the bristles and will cause unnecessary and premature wear. If you are using another type of brush be sure to give it a wash in between coats of paint so that the paint does not dry into the bristles.

Paint Brush Care and Use

Paint Brush Cleaning

When you are done painting rinse the bristles out under warm running water… you can apply little drop of dish soap to your hand and gently swish the bristles around your palm under the running water while pressing down gently. Don’t fret if you get watered down paint under the ferrule, it will rinse out. Swish and rinse until the water runs clear. Hang your brush to dry or lay it flat ensuring the bristles are not being pressed on.  Even after cleaning you can suspend your CLING ON brush in a jar of fresh water and you may find that additional paint will work itself out.  Hear my plea – please resist the urge to sit your paint brushes bristles down into your container of water… resting your paint brushes bristles down on the bottom of the water container can distort the shape of your bristles, and again lead to premature wear.

Here is my fave CLING ON suspended in a jar of water… the paint literally falls down off of the bristles… eaaasy peasy!

Paint Brush Care and Use

My Favourite Brushes:

So I’ve used my faves to shoot the photos for this post… The flat synthetics and the CLING ON brushes are really the only ones I have around the house now for furniture projects!… I’ve come to love these very flat, very smooth synthetic bristle brushes for large flat surfaces when I’m am chalk painting.  They’re made by Royal & Langnickle.  I do prefer less brush strokes… a more smooth finish, with very little to no distressing, for my finished pieces so these brushes have been great for helping me achieve that look.

Paint Brush Care and Use

When painting smaller pieces, and especially detailed items and spindles the CLING ON round brushes are a dream! I have and do use them for larger surfaces too, they hold the perfect amount of paint and the slick bristles make moving the paint around on the piece a dream.

Thoughts? Questions? What are your favourite brushes for painting furniture? Leave me a comment below!



Calgary Home and Design Show Week…

Woah! Good Morning! What a way to kick off the Calgary Home and Design Show week!… its not even 10:30 this morning and I’ve found myself on the front page of the Metro Newspaper and I was also on CTV morning Live at 8:15 am chatting with Aisling about the workshops taking place this coming weekend in the Feathering My Nest Workshop Feature Booth at the Calgary Home and Design Show. I even shared a little DIY trick to help you create pro looking hand painted signs for your home!

Lacey Haskell Metro News

If you’ve found this blog from one of these events this morning… Welcome! It’s great to have you here! I hope you stick around awhile and get inspired to get creative! If you would like to catch the CTV morning live segment or checkout the Metro article you can find it over in the press section of the site!

Lacey Haskell CTV Morning Live

Before I get back to finishing my preparations for the Feathering My Nest booth at the Calgary Home and Design Show this weekend I wanted to share with you the information about the event, and to give you the links to checkout, and signup for, the various workshops next weekend! Get ready to learn and get creative… you’ll have a ton of fun AND of course we’ve got some special treats for the workshop attendees 😉

For the link to the full workshop lineup you can checkout the Calgary Home and Design Show Page about the event here:\


For the FAT Paint workshop details check out the Caddy page or the Crate page. There you will find out all the details for each of the sessions and how to signup!

Calgary Home and Design Show FAT Paint Workshop Crate Calgary Home and Design Show FAT Paint Workshop Caddy

…and you can catch me giving a presentation on the Calgary Home and Design Show Main Stage on Friday at 6:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm – giving you my tips and tricks to make your house your home!

I can’t wait to get painty with you and to chat with you about your DIY projects! Come and find me in booth #619 from September 22 – 25 at the Show being held in the BMO Centre, Stampede Park.




Five Minute Journal…

Hey babes!… I’m taking a moment to interrupt the regular DIY posts to share something interesting with you… the Five Minute Journal… and to give one away to one lucky reader!  If you follow Feathering My Nest on Instagram you’ve likely seen past posts about my daily practices, I started up late last year, that help me to start my day happy and to end it with reflection and gratitude… Over the past number of years, through reading and spending time as a part of a great achievement group, I picked up a few concepts that began to quite negative self talk after I had put them into practice for just a few weeks… my confidence and positive outlook began to build up, and my feelings of happiness and gratitude grew the more I continued the practices. I get it… it can be so easy when you’re “busy” to get caught up in the fast pace of life, to get bogged down, and to even think to stop and look at what you already have in your life as you strive for more and chase your goals… to take time every single day to reflect… but I promise that you only need five minutes a day to start to make positive changes.

This post contains an affiliate link to The Five Minute Journal website for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Five Minute Journal

After seeing, and feeling, what the daily practices such as writing out my “I AM” list and my “I’m Grateful For” list did for me I began to share little snippets on instagram whenever I would share a positive quote post… I love to share these practices with others and to encourage others to try it out by leaving a comment sharing an I AM statement or an I AM GRATEFUL for statement, and challenging people to pickup the practice for a couple weeks to see what they find… what’s the worst that could happen? nothing? what’s the best? an improved positive outlook and feelings of happiness?… this is so worth taking for a spin!

Five Minute Journal

I found that instagram captions can be restricting for sharing the how behind the concepts that I was quickly mentioning… and there is so much to say about them, so much to say to explain how doing these simple practices can be so beneficial… How could I distill all of that down to share eloqently!?… well I recently discovered that I didn’t have to distill that all down because Intelligent Change has done it in an incredible little package… They created the Five Minute Journal… so I’m sharing the Five Minute Journal with you!

After months of writing my I AMs and my I AM GRATEFUL FORs out every night in a little notebook, that lives on my bedside table, I happened upon the Five Minute Journal… I ripped through the opening the journal and they’d done it!.. they clearly and efficiently explained the concepts that I’ve put into practice myself and was seeing the benefits of!… Now let me say… you don’t have to be into journalling to use this journal… AND you don’t need a lot of time… just five minutes a day… this five minutes a day practice can improve your life – but like the image says below the journal is not a magic pill – you still have to do the work in the real world…  this book and practice will set you up for positive outcomes.

Five Minute Journal

In the opening 45 pages, “the book,” Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas have distilled down how shifting your focus to the positive can drastically improve your happiness…  they breakdown how the journal works, its basic principles, how the morning and night routines work with examples to get your engine primed to get to develop your own I ams… your daily affirmation, and how to look back on your day with gratitude…. and they explain what picking up these practices are going to do for you and why.  In 45 pages they’ve picked out the key research to share with you that will teach you the concepts quickly and that will get you revved up to take on this practice.

Five Minute Journal

Okay… don’t worry if positive affirmation statements don’t come easy for you… if the negative self talk is a bit of a blabber mouth inside of your head… The Five Minute Journal will take you through a quick exercise that gets you thinking about your challenges and helps you along in figuring out your I AM statements.  The practice will likely feel awkward at first because your negative self talk has likely been running its mouth off for a large chunk of your life… mine was quite the talker until I settled into the practices of writing out my “I AMs” and “I AM GRATEFUL FOR” lists every night before bed.  Then after months of my nightly list making a day came when I looked at myself in the mirror one morning after getting out of bed and the first thought in my head was “well don’t you look cute this morning…” WOAH!? WHAT!? then the second thought was “yes you, you heard yourself right!” …I looked at myself in astonishment… like a lot of people my first look in the mirror in the morning thoughts were usually less positive… more like oh my skin is a wreck, or oh my eyes are so baggy I look so tired… but seriously what was that negativity doing for me!? It makes sense to think positive statements but sometimes it takes practice for such positive thoughts to come so naturally…

Five Minute Journal

So I’ve got a challenge for you… take five minutes for yourself before bed each night and jot down a few positive I AM’s… do this for a couple weeks and see what it does for you!… If you’re interested in learning more about the concepts and putting them to practice I highly recommend the Five Minute Journal
Five Minute Journal

If you would like to win one of these for yourself head on over to the Feathering My Nest Instagram account and find the image of the Five Minute Journal of the details!  I’m quite excited about having one of these to gift and even more grateful to Intelligent Change to providing me with one for that very purpose! What are you waiting for! Head on over to Instagram now and enter to win!



IKEA Lack Hack to Built in Look Shelf…

I mentioned this IKEA LACK Hack DIY awhile back… now that the half bath reno has been completed I now have finished shots of our IKEA Lack Hack to complete this DIY and to share with you!  I think that anyone who lives in a city with an IKEA has at least one LACK floating shelf in their home!… we had F O U R of them sitting in the basement that had been in use in the first couple years of owning our home but we had taken them down a couple years back and they just sat in the basement waiting for their time to come once again.

IKEA Lack Hack - 1

Once again came along this past winter when I was looking at the main level half bath one day… it is a ittle bittle space of a half bath… and until the new vanity was installed just this past summer there was zero storage in there… zip… zilch… nada… and the only wall where a shelf could fit had an odd angle on one side…

IKEA Lack Hack - 13

I proposed the idea to the Pickle of cutting the LACK shelf to fit the space… an IKEA Lack Hack!… we held up the shelf as best we could in the odd space to get a rough look… worst case scenario was that we didn’t like it when it went up so we’d have to take it down and patch a few holes… no. big. deal. So out came the tools and we got right to it!

The tools that were used for this project are:

Angle Finder – you can find these are hardware stores… you can even get ones that give the angle readout like these

Compound Mitre Saw

Hack saw with a metal cutting blade

Small metal file


Screws and corresponding drywall anchors and screwdriver

IKEA Lack Hack - 2

We started by measuring the width of the back wall from the 90 degree corner over to the corner of the angle of the awkward wall… this would be the length that the back edge of the shelf would need to be… then using the angle finder, pictured above, we determined the angle of the awkward wall and transferred the markings to the shelf starting at the point that we’d previously transferred to the shelf for the length of the back edge.

IKEA Lack Hack - 3

Using a compound mitre saw at the angle that the shelf needed to be cut we chopped the end off of the shelf… putting the angle markings on the shelf do help ensure that you’re on the right track as you’re moving along… AND I recommend cutting a practice piece first using a scrap piece of wood and test fitting with that test if you are going to try out this IKEA LACK Hack to fit an awkward angle wall.  This will ensure that you’ve measured correctly and setup your saw angle before you cut your shelf.

IKEA Lack Hack - 4

Depending on the size of the space that you are looking to fit your shelf into you may have to cut from both sides of the shelf to accommodate the bracket… we opted to cut from only one end and to then reduce the length of the metal bracket by cutting the end of the bracket, that brought up in the angled wall, off wth a hack saw… once the bracket was cut a metal file was used to remove any sharp edges or burrs from freshly cut end of the bracket… be mindful of the bracket end and the piece that was cut off… it can get quite hot from all of the sawing action.

IKEA Lack Hack - 5

Next we test fit the shelf in the space and it fit!… then we held the shelf up to the wall with the bracket slightly sticking out of the back to determine the final height at which we wanted to install the shelf… We used a level to make sure it was level and made markings on the back wall as to where the bracket should go…

IKEA Lack Hack - 6

Next,  up went the bracket with drywall anchors and screws… we double checked that the bracket was being installed level and then triple checked that it was in fact level after it was screwed into place!…

IKEA Lack Hack - 7

Here is the IKEA LACK hacked bracket installed up to the corner of the awkward angle wall… it lined up to the awkward wall corner and the shelf installed over it perfectly…

IKEA Lack Hack - 8

Once the bracket was in place we installed the shelf onto the bracket and screwed it into place on the bracket from underneath. In these shots the bathroom was painted white… but the white was too stark and made our cream trims look like dirty trims …lesson learned… so we opted to paint the half bath Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter when we tackled the half bath reno project!…

IKEA Lack Hack - 9

This basement banished LACK shelf came in quite handy adding some much needed storage space to our tiny half bath…

IKEA Lack Hack - 11

I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner!?…

IKEA Lack Hack - 12

We are quite pleased that we were able to reuse an shelf that we already had on hand, and how quickly and smoothly this little IKEA LACK hack went!… as the old saying goes: Measure twice, cut once!

IKEA Lack Hack - 13

What do you think? do you have any little nooks in your home that could benefit from a little IKEA LACK hack action?  Leave me a comment below!



12 Hour Half Bath Reno…

Okay here it is… our 12 hour half bath reno!  As mentioned in the Half Bath Inspiration post we fell into a bit of luck… we found the vanity that we’d been eyeballing previously on clearance!… and the store had just one left… we took that as a sign and scooped it up and headed home with the intention to swap out the sink and mirror… We had only headed to the store to pickup some screws I believe… and we left with a project!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

12 Hour Half Bath Reno Before

Here is the half bath before… When we moved into the house the bathroom was a mossy green, then we painted it a light sky blue, and most recently I tried it in white… but because our trims are off white I just didn’t like the look of the space with white walls and off white trims… the baseboards just looked like dirty white baseboards… so we decided that we would also paint the bathroom… as you can see its a teeny tiny space and it would only take me an hour to cut it in and give it a good coat of paint.

Removing the Mirror

We got to work and pried the mirror off of the wall… it had two bottom bracket pieces but we suspected it was also glued which meant drywall damage but we were up for the challenge… nothing bit of filler couldn’t fix.  Using a small nail bar we worked gently around the mirror prying it away from the wall a little at a time all the way around.

Drywall Damage from Mirror

It came off without too much fuss though we were prepared for it potentially breaking.  After that photo above we stopped and put on safety glasses and gloves in case the mirror decided to break… it came off in one piece… and as you can see left quite a bit of wall damage behind… 7 big blobs of construction adhesive… you can also see the oringinal builder paint colour of the mossy green.

Sink Removed

Then it was the sinks turn… the water was shut off to the sink and things disconnected.  The sink itself was screwed and bracketed to the wall but it came away easily.

And that was our full intention for the half bath… new paint, once we fix the old sink and mirror damage… but once the sink and mirror were off we kept going…

Towel Bar and TP Holder

The towel bar and tp holder for the half bath were attached to planks of painted wood that were then attached to the wall… I wasn’t a fan… so we removed the metal hardware and then pried those planks off of the wall..

Towel Bar and TP Holder Removed

Again the builders were sure to use lots of construction adhesive…

Removing Excess Filler and Paint

And as the pieces were painted after being attached to the walls there was a lot of paint buildup at the edges… we scraped the extra paint and filler flat and filled over the damage with a good drywall filler.

Patching Drywall Damage

In the same afternoon that we purchased the Vanity on we went home and pulled out mirror, sink, and towel and tp bars… then the patchwork began… I gave everything a hearty filling and then let it dry…

Sanding Drywall Filler

I was able to get the wall damage patched and sanded that same day… its so dry in Calgary that the wall filler dries pretty quickly… I was able to apply and sand a second layer of filler that evening…


Here’s my more serious I’m sanding face after that squish face up above…

More Filler Required

Once the filler was sanded the second time I cut in and painted the half bath in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter – I love this colour… our whole house is currently this beautiful grey… as you can see once I had the first coat of paint on the walls I found some damage that was hard to see when everything was bright white… so the next morning I gave anything that needed filling a quick fill, and sanding, and applied the second coat of paint to the half bath.

Benjamine Moore Revere Pewter


Trim Paint

Using semi gloss paint that was matched to our existing baseboard colour I taped the floor and gave the baseboards a fresh coat of paint… the half bath is tiny so this took me under 30 minutes to tape and paint… the match was perfect in sheen and colour.

Home Depot Vanity

Now with the room itself ready it was vanity time… Pickle and a plumber friend took over here as they had to lower the hot and cold water connections… sounds difficult but it only took them an hour and they’d lowered the two connections and had the sink attached!

Old Fixture vs New Fixture

Old fixture meet new light fixture! This new fixture was an Amazon find! It was less expensive online than at any shop locally and it arrived in two days!… it didn’t go in on the Sunday after the vanity went in… we ordered it Sunday evening and it arrived on Tuesday and was installed so quickly that it can be easily counted in the 12 hour half bath reno time!

12 Hour Half Bath Reno After

TADA!… In the original sneak peek photo that was share on Instagram I had real peonies from the garden on the sink… but by the time the turkish towels and whale tail hook had arrived a week or so later the peonies were done… I was never a fan of faux flowers but I did a little hunting and found these great faux peonies at Michaels!

The wicker basket I had picked up years ago not knowing where I was going to use it but knowing that I would use it somewhere!… it finally came in handy in our half bath… it fits perfectly in the new vanity and holds the extra Turkish Towels

Turkish Towel Detail

I enjoy the combined patterns and tassel ends on turkish towels… they’re just a little more fun and luxurious feeling than your regular terry towel… These towels come in a variety of patterns and colours but I kept with the muted greys and cream for this room…

Whale Tail Hook

Something about turkish towels also feels very nautical to me.  Being from Newfoundland our home is full of little nautical touches… nothing incredibly overt… well I guess the whale tail hook is a little in your face nautical… but not obnoxiously so 😉

Basket for Spare Towels 2

The wicker basket even has a weathered washed look which fits nicely in with the greyed space…

Half Bath After From Outside 1

This space is a bear to photograph… being that it is so tiny… here’s an after shot from the same angle as the before shot… Its not a giant overhaul… just a quick 12 hour half bath reno. We are so happy with the results – the space feels so much more personal now…

Half Bath After From Outside 2

Looking into the other side we’ve added an IKEA hacked shelf!… stay tuned for that IKEA hack coming to the blog! Due to the size of the half bath the shelf needed to be cut down and so that it would fit in the awkwardly angled space…

New TP Holder

Regarding the TP… I opted for a stand rather than a wall mounted holder… there was an awkward space on one side of the toilet… this holder sits there and fills that space like that is where it has always belonged…

White Wire Basket

Then extra TP… though it could go in the vanity some extra is sitting on top of the shelf in a white wire basket… I think about looking for TP when you’re at someones house… I don’t like to rummage through vanities so with a couple rolls stored on the shelf and no one has to worry about running out…

IKEA Hacked Shelf

The other items on the shelf are a few more nautical bits… a cork float from Newfoundland and and old glass doorknob that I found on a beach back home!… the little cream coral I crocheted years ago from a pattern that I purchased from Etsy. The barnacles I picked up at a local home decor shop a couple years back, and the roped bell jar I had picked up at Ross in the US this past Spring…. you can pretty much find bell jars in one form or another at any Winners/Homesense or even over old clocks at second hand stores! Keep those peepers open!

So there you have it!… there she be!… Our quickie 12 hour half bath reno! What do you think!? Leave a comment below!




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