How to Buy Paint Brushes for Kids

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How to Buy Paint Brushes for Kids

Children love to paint. They love the colours and shapes, the way something changes under their very eyes. Kids love every form of painting: from painting pictures, to toys, to walls, and even each other. Not only are children happy to paint anything, they are happy to paint with anything from the tip of a finger to the finest brush. For most of them, it is as much about the doing as either the tools or the results. Now, while fingers do not have to be bought separately, they come with the children, brushes are a different story. Parents have to buy brushes, and anyone who has ever seen a craft supply catalogue knows just how many different kinds of paint brushes there are on the market. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and colours. There are brushes for different uses, even for different kinds of paint. Not all of them are suitable for kids. Fortunately, with just a little research, it is easy to find just the right paint brushes to put a smile on any child's face.

Paint Brush Basics

At its most basic, a paint brush is a transport mechanism for putting paint onto a surface. The user dips the brush into the paint, collecting it on the bristles, and then lays the paint down as the brush glides across the surface. The shape and kinds of bristles control how the paint is laid down, and provide the user with differing degrees of control and paint capacity. Still, when it comes down to it, brushes work in essentially the same fashion today as they have done for centuries, the materials may have changed, but the functions have not. Paint brushes have four basic components, as summarised in the table below:




Carries and lays down the paint


Holds the bristle


Connects the ferrule to the handle


Used to control the brush

While each of the above components is important, the way the brushes are put together matters just as much as the components themselves. Most modern brushes use glue to connect the various parts. Buyers should remember that children can be hard on anything they use, so they should always look for brushes that are well-constructed.

The Importance of Bristles

Bristles are the most important part of the paint brush, all the other components exist primarily to support the bristle. Not only do they do the heavy lifting of transferring the paint, but they are the only part where neither the material nor design can be changed without affecting the results. If a wooden handle is replaced with a slightly longer plastic one, it does not change the results on the canvas. This is not the case for a similar change to the bristles.

Natural Bristles

The only true bristles come from boars, pigs, and hogs; everything else is just hair. Bristles combine just the right amount of stiffness with a rough surface that makes them well-suited to transporting paint. This can be easily seen at the ends, where there are small splits, or flags, which help carry more paint and spread it more easily. There are other natural hairs, and even some plant materials in use in natural-fibre paint brushes; especially for artistic uses where different hairs produce different results. The one drawback to natural fibres is that they can be expensive.

Synthetic Bristles

While not true bristles, synthetic substitutes have come a long way over the years. Early synthetics suffered from being too smooth and not absorbing paint well, resulting in poor transport qualities. More recent synthetics are much better, and while not always up to the standards of the best natural fibres, they are still very functional.

The Importance of Paint Brush Care

Anybody who has ever painted is familiar with the horror stories of what happens when paint is left to dry on a brush. At best, it leads to a cleaning job that takes several times as long as it would if the brush had been cleaned immediately after use; at worst it leads to having to discard the brush. Good brushes can last much longer than less expensive ones, but they also require more care. They need to be cleaned after every use, and stored so that they can dry properly.

Children and Paint Brush Care

One thing that should be considered is that not all children have the temperament for taking good care of their possessions. Some lack the desire to clean up after every painting session, while others may lack the skills to clean a paint brush thoroughly. Other children are of course both willing and able to clean their paint brushes every time they are used.

Paint Brush Cleaning

Regardless of whether kids clean their own paint brushes, or someone else in the household does it, it is very important that they get cleaned thoroughly after every use. This means rinsing out all of the paint and also taking the time to reshape the brush properly after cleaning. Then, once the brush is clean, it is important to put it somewhere to dry where it gets plenty of airflow to carry the moisture away. One of the best ways to clean the brush is to dip it in a jar of water and twist it against the side, not the bottom, of the jar. This keeps the brush out of the sediment and prevents the cleaner from damaging it by pressing down too hard on it. The thing to remember here, though, is that water only works with water-based paints. That being said, it is pretty rare for kids to use non water-based paints.

Consider the Kids

Before buying a single paint brush, and most kids need more than one, it is highly important to consider both the kids who are using them and the kind of painting they are likely to be doing. This means knowing how well they take care of their things like paint brushes. There is no use buying expensive all-natural brushes for kids who do not take care of them. They would be better off with inexpensive, plastic-handled, synthetic ones that can be readily replaced. However, a budding fine artist who takes great care of her brushes may warrant a more expensive set than a younger sibling who slaps paint on anything and everything.

Consider the Usage

Young kids who are primarily painting watercolours to hang on the fridge can make do with almost any paint brush, while ones who are painting fine details on models or miniature figures likely have more specific requirements, including different brushes for different kinds of coverage. Wide, flat brushes cover more area, while smaller brushes that come to fine points are better for painting finer, detailed work. It all comes down to the fact that there is no one brush, or set of brushes, that is suited for every child or every use. Knowing the intended use of the paint brush, or brushes, helps make it easier to make an informed decision, and making an informed decision is the first step toward making a good decision.

Buying Paint Brushes for Kids on eBay

One of the best places to buy paint brushes for kids is on eBay. The site has paint brushes of every possible size, shape, and material to fit every conceivable need. All you need to do to find the right ones for your kids is to put the terms into the search box, there is one on every page, and watch the results come up. Once you have the results you want on your screen, you can use the filters in the sidebar to narrow them down to the ones that best meet your needs. You can filter by everything from price range to bristle material, as well as seller location. Then, you can take those results and sort them so that the ones you want most are at the top of your screen, making the right purchase that much easier.

After you have found the right paint brushes, the next step is to figure out which of eBay's many reputable sellers is your best fit. The place to do that is on their seller profile page, where you can see everything from their feedback to their location. You can also see if they allow local buyers to pick up their purchases in person, or if they can bundle other art and craft supplies with the paint brushes.


Painting is a great way for kids to spend time, and paint brushes are an important part of that pastime. Parents can find a huge variety, ranging from the most expensive all-natural paint brushes to inexpensive packages aimed specifically at the children's market. The key to buying the right paint brushes for kids is the same as almost any other purchase. It all depends on knowledge. The more buyers know, the better equipped they are to make a good decision. Higher quality brushes cost more, and often last longer, but only if they are properly cleaned and cared for. Knowing whether any given child is the kind of person who takes care of his or her belongings is an important part of choosing the right paint brush.

The other thing to consider is what the child intends to do with the paint brushes; a watercolourist has different requirements from a child painting the next great miniature army. The person who knows both the intended use and the expected treatment for the paint brushes is in an excellent position to buy paint brushes for kids.

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