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How to Protect Your Craft Supplies to Make Them Last Longer

Regardless of your craft, supplies are expensive. It makes sense to care for them properly so they’re ready for use when you next need them, and so that you don’t have to replace damaged supplies. Here are a few quick tips on caring for the most common art supplies:

how to protect your craft supplies to make them last longer


Oil and acrylic paint is one the artist’s most treasured possessions, after his or her brushes. Even small tubes of good quality oil paint are expensive, and acrylic colours run a close second. The first precaution in caring for them is to make sure the tops are firmly screwed on otherwise they’ll eventually dry out. Oils dry slowly, but give them enough time exposed to the air and they’ll be ruined.


Watercolours come in two varieties, tubes or pans. With tubes, make sure the tops are on securely and that the threads are clean if you’re not going to use them for a while. The tops can become glued closed by dry paint. Pans are favoured by many artists because of their easy care and long life. As long as you keep them dry and out of extreme temperatures, they’ll last virtually forever.

Pens and Markers

Replace the caps immediately after using them and for ordinary marker pens, store them in a horizontal position when you’re not using them. Some markers, such as Copic, don’t mind being stored vertically as long as their caps are on properly. Even if they appear a little dry to start with, using them will make the ink flow again. Copic glitter pens are the exception, and for these, flat storage is recommended.

Artists Brushes

To care for oil brushes:

* Use a clean cloth to remove excess paint from the bristles
* Rinse them well in white spirit then give them another clean using household soap. Avoid detergent as this is too harsh. When you’ve worked up a good lather, rinse the bristles under warm running water.
* Repeat this process until all the colour is removed, always giving a final rinse to get rid of all the soap.
* Dry off the bristles by blotting them with a dry rag or kitchen towel, and dry the handle. Gently push them into shape with your fingers, then store them in a jar or other container with the bristles pointing upward. Never let brushes rest on their bristles because they’ll become permanently misshapen and useless.

Caring for Water Colour Brushes

* Rinse under running water, then use ordinary soap, working it gently into the bristles and paying particular attention to the base of the bristles where old paint can gather. Neglecting the base of bristles is one of the major causes of older brushes no longer forming a point at their tip.
* When the water runs clear, which may take a while, carefully squeeze the excess water out and reshape the bristles with your fingers. Allow them to dry in the air by standing them, bristles up, in a jar.

Clean your acrylic brushes using the same method as that for water colour brushes. Store all brushes, regardless of what paint medium they’re used with, in a flat, airtight box to prevent them resting on their bristles. Always make sure the brushes are totally dry before storing them for long periods of time.

Taking care of and protecting your artists supplies takes very little effort, but it must be part of your cleanup routine. Developing a routine and always following it ensures your art supplies give good service for years to come.

This post is an advertorial brought to you by Drew who writes for Cheap Art Supplies. For more information about paint brushes, pastels, paints and other art materials, see their website.

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