21 July 2014

Brush up on your brushes

I’m delighted to write that you can now get to grips with my latest additions to the Annie Sloan brush range in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I’m actually really excited about that because I spent a lot of time working on the functionality and feel of the brushes to get them just right. ‘Hold on,’ you say, ‘they’re just paint brushes?’ Uh-uh.

They are personally designed, bespoke tools-of-the-trade that’ll make painting furniture and finishes suddenly a lot easier and even more enjoyable! Here’s how…

Putting our brushes through the paces
It’s all in the detail the saying goes, so Felix Sloan and I started our designs by observing attendees first-hand at workshop after workshop, and we watched video after video of people painting with our brushes. (It really was more exciting than watching paint dry!) 

Our research, combined with my own innate sense of what works and what doesn’t (well, I have been painting furniture for several decades!) led us on a journey to hone the best-suited grips and brush hair for our unique decorative paint, Chalk Paint®, and Soft Wax.

Putting the brushes through their paces I noticed, for instance, how I personally (and others) hold the brushes on the ferrule (the metal ring), rather than the handle when waxing: so we designed the wax brushes specifically with an oversized ferrule. I hope you’ll like these new smooth, ergonomic handles (below). They give good purchase as you get into those hard to reach contours and crevices.

Tailored in Italy

My two new Wax Brushes (above) come with specially shaped tips so you can get the wax into detailed areas and move them around in tight spaces. As with my pure bristle paintbrush, the wax brushes are hand-made in Italy by a family-run business. It’s been running for donkey's years – one member who first worked there as a boy in the 1940s, still drops in every day. This firm makes brushes to the highest standards and bespoke quality doesn’t come cheap. But it does come with more pure bristles per pad than your average brush; and that concentration of pure bristles means you can hold lots of wax in one dip.

The tips have also been shaped rather than cut to keep the bristles' natural, ultra-soft split ends. The short bristles are super smooth allowing you to brush the wax on easily rather than labour with excessive elbow grease.

Quick care tip: As the bristles are real hair, treat them as you would your own hair, i.e. wash them well with warm water and a very little mild soap to wash the wax out.

Natural strokes for natural folks

I’ve designed my round, slightly tapered Pure Bristle Brushes (above) specifically for expressive brush work. These real bristles are naturally split at the ends so they can so they can give soft edges to hold a lot of paint – which you need to do to create my signature textured finishes! The pure bristles are very resilient so that as they slowly wear down, the ends will always naturally split keeping your brush in ideal condition.

Quick care tip: If you're only using them with Chalk Paint®, simply rinse with water. There's no need to use soap. Hang them up to dry so the wood and ferule don't get damaged.

Blue, blue my world is blue…

I’ve also introduced two new Flat Brushes (one small, one large) with super soft blue synthetic fibres, these are the smoothest fibres we can find.  The flat ends and soft fibres help you apply the paint evenly, eliminate brush marks, and give you a smooth soft edge for a silky finish. I think the colour is pretty funky too.

Quick care tipYou can tie through some fabric or shoelaces or string so they can hang out to dry after washing. Or just hang them on a wall hook or nail! (Photo above from Stockist Les Couronnes Sauvages in France)

All in all my latest brushes are totally tactile, versatile, durable and reliable. Ok, enough sales pitch, but I’m really proud of the way these have turned out. I think they are brushstrokes of genius. I hope you agree!

Yours, Annie