The next big question after which paint should I use is usually which brush is do you recommend?  So let’s talk about brushes and questions about them…..

Exactly why do I need a “fancy” brush?

Brushes are tools. These tools are designed to help the user achieve a better, more appealing result while at the same time making the task at hand, easier and more efficient.

There are all kinds of brushes on the market for different applications. Artist brushes for example come in dozens of shapes, sizes, and bristle types to choose according to the medium being used or the style of the artwork being created. Deck brushes, trim brushes, and even make-up brushes are all designed and manufactured with their intended use at the forefront. Better quality brushes will last for years and should not shed their bristles.

Why so many choices?

  All Those Different Sizes, shapes, handles, and bristles!!

 As furniture painters, the brushes we carry in our shop are no different to brushes intended for use with other mediums. They are specifically designed for furniture painting so that we can achieve the best results in the most efficient and pleasurable way for the many different shapes, sizes, and contours of furniture. For instance, a large flat surface of furniture might be best serviced by using a flat brush or roller, whereas the spindles on a chair or the lovely turned legs on a table call out to be painted with a round brush.

There are also different types of bristles available to help you achieve the look you are trying to create. Wanting a very rustic, textured surface? Use a natural bristle brush.

Looking for a flawless finish? Seek out the softest synthetic brush you can find.

Working inside a cabinet or a very tight opening? Try a bent handle brush, sometimes referred to as a “radiator brush”.

 How do I hold my brush? / How do I apply the paint?

Brushes are best held from the ferrule. (The metal bit!) Holding it here will give you more control over the brush. It will also be easier on your hand. By holding it like a pencil from the handle, you will quickly stress your hand- especially on larger pieces of furniture.  Let the brush do the work rather than your wrist.

Here’s a simple tip. Damp bristles work best, so pop your brush in some water and wring out the excess so it isn’t wet… it needs to be just damp. By laying your paint in long, consistent pressure stokes, you will achieve a more uniform surface. The trick is to have enough paint on your brush to “push around”. If you are working with too little paint, your brush will “drag” and feel dry. Avoid starting off with a fully loaded brush on the “edge” of your piece.

How long will my brush last?

A lifetime if you care for it properly! As the saying goes “look after your tools and they will look after you”.  The truth is none of us love to wash brushes, but proper aftercare will ensure the bristles remain soft and keep their shape. Work with a jar of room temperature water next to you and pop that brush into the water if you need a break or are waiting for your coat to dry. Make sure the water level remains below the ferrule or strings so as not to damage the glues that bind the bristles together. It will be safe to leave your brushes like this overnight and will also help pull the colour from deep in the centre of your brush. Wash with cool (not hot) water. It is preferable to hang your brush to dry so the water escapes by the brush tip, or lay it flat, do not leave the brush to stand with its bristles upward as the water will seep into the ferrule and the handle causing your brush to disintegrate over time.

Having the right tools for painting your furniture can make your job much easier and more fun as opposed to frustrating. When it comes to paint brushes there are so many options out there. So I thought I would share with you my favourite paint brushes I use and tips for choosing the best paint brush for the job.

Natural or Synthetic?

One of the first questions you may be asking yourself is whether you need a natural or a synthetic bristle brush. I can tell you from experience that synthetic bristles will give you the smoothest finish. That doesn’t mean a natural bristle brush won’t work. If you don’t mind some texture or if that’s the look you’re going for, then by all means carry on, pick up a natural bristle brush. I prefer synthetic bristles though and I’ll be sharing several options for a good synthetic bristle brush with you.

 The Difference Between Natural VS Synthetic Bristles

It’s not difficult to tell the difference between a synthetic and a natural bristle paint brush once you figure out what you’re looking for. But until you do know what you’re looking for it can be very frustrating. One reason is because I, like many others, have found that the packaging for a paint brush typically won’t use the words “synthetic” or “natural” to describe the type of bristles on the brush. Instead they say things like “general purpose” or “for oil-based paints and stains.”

This is helpful if you know all about the type of product you’re using. But if you’re new to it all and someone tells you to get a synthetic bristle brush – not quite so helpful.

So before I tell you about my favorite synthetic bristle brushes, here are a few tips to hopefully help you know which is which.

A natural bristle paint brush is going to have more coarse bristles. The bristles may appear to be a little thicker and they may resemble a straw broom in colour, almost a camel colour.

A synthetic bristle paint brush will have bristles that are much softer, smoother, and almost have a slick feel to them. The bristles may vary in colour, but will often have either white bristles or a white tip on the bristles. The bristles will be very fine compared to the coarseness of natural bristles.

Now that you know the difference between a natural bristle paint brush and a synthetic bristle paint brush, I’ll talk about my favorite synthetic bristle paint brushes that I use on a daily basis. There is only one brand I mostly stick to for my paint brush tool kit. That is Cling On.

Cling On Paint Brushes

Cling On Paint Brushes

These paint brushes are in high demand amongst furniture painters and can be difficult to find because they sell out so quickly. For that reason the first style of Cling On paint brush I tried was the O style – O stands for Oval and reflects the shape of the bristles portion of the brush. I have since used many of the others.

Other styles within Cling On paint brushes are denoted by the letters R, F, P, and there is one brush labeled S which stands for Shorty and it is a short handle version of the Oval brush. R = Round, F = Flat, P = Angled.

Within each of the styles of Cling On paint brushes there are different sizes. The larger the number, the larger the paint brush. So for example, I have used both the O40 and O45. Both are oval paint brushes, but one is a tad larger than the other.

What I love about the Cling On paint brushes is they cover a large area in short time because of the density of the bristles. They hold a lot of paint. I can get a great smooth finish with my Cling On oval paint brush.

Also, the bristles do not shed. I have not once had a bristle come off in my paint job since I started using the oval Cling On paint brush a number of years ago. And I can tell you that my previous paint brush of a similar style would lose multiple bristles in one paint job and I would find myself picking them out of my paint constantly.


Another really great thing about the Cling On paint brushes is they are self cleaning. Not in the sense that you don’t have to do anything to clean them, but they do make it a lot easier.

I wash my Cling On with water just like every other brush when using water based paints. The difference is I don’t have to fret over making sure I remove every last particle of paint to keep my brush from getting stiff. I just gently wash most of the paint from the brush, then I hang the brush from a nail on the wall and suspend it in water. Just the tips of the brush have to be touching the water and all the remaining paint will be pulled out of your Cling On paint brush until it’s totally clean and ready for the next job. So amazing!!

Cling On! The Range.

Hand made in Holland, CLING ON! brushes offer superior application, are resistant to shedding, and provide a smooth flawless finish, making these brushes a favourite among furniture painters. Premium synthetic bristles fully locked in epoxy cement to eliminate shedding, a stainless steel ferrule, and beech wood painted handles.

Bent Brushes (P Series): Bent brushes are perfect for painting in hard to reach corners and cabinets, inside drawers, and awkward spots.

Angled brushes from Cling On!


Oval Brushes (O Series): Oval brushes are a go-to for most pieces. The size of the brush depends on what you are working on.

Oval Brushes from Cling On!

Round Brushes (R Series): Round brushes are ideal for narrow and small clean lines. Great for working on edges and trim.

Round Brushes from Cling On!

Flat brushes (F Series): Flat brushes are great for large flat surfaces, doors, and furniture pieces like armoires and desks. Everyone seems to like the comfort of a flat brush.

Flat Brushes from Cling On!

Shorty Brush (S Series): Shorty brushes are a best seller for sure! The short handle makes it easy to hold and paint.

Shorty brush by Cling On!

Cling on brushes are the furniture painters dream!! They are also perfect for all your other painting jobs in the house – walls, doors, door frames, and even plant/flower pots and all your other creative projects!!


Cling On brushes last forever (I am still using my first ones – after 5 years!). They are strong and very clean. They provide a smooth brush-stroke free finish and don’t lose hair!! You can brush quickly in a swaying motion from side to side and they give a full and smooth coverage. Perfect for use with all Fusion Mineral Paint and Milk paint.

They are made from high quality synthetic fibers, so durable that you can use them again and again.


Why we love CLING ON! Brushes:


No hair loss

Strong yet soft

Quick and easy to work with

Better coverage with a smooth finish

Easy to clean. A little water or even better – use the Fusion Mineral Brush Cleaner soap.

Hold their shape after each use and wash

The CLING ON! Brushes come in different shapes and sizes, and there is a suitable brush for every project!


Cling On! Guide part 1

Cling On! Guide Part 2








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