View Full Version : Varnish brush - which one do you recommend?

09-19-2007, 08:43 PM
Hi guys

Which varnish brush would you recommend for varnishing an acrylic painting (on stretched canvas)?

I'm after something which would not lose hair, or leave brushmarks. After something that would leave a flat finish.

Is it true most people's most expensive brush is the varnish brush?

I will be after a wider brush as I will be varnishing peices that are more than 25" wide and in length.

many thanks

09-19-2007, 09:23 PM
I use one of those big foam "brushes" I got at hobby lobby for 99 cents or something.

I haven't really tried anything else though, so my opinion is not very well informed, but it seems to work well enough for me.

Like this:


I suppose, on thinking about it, certain types of varnish might react with the foam... not sure. I sort of suspect, say paint thinner, might consume the foam.

09-20-2007, 04:09 AM
I like A S Handover brushes, though Omega are good too. A varnish brush doesn't lose bristles (or rarely) and also has varying lengths and ends of bristles to help prevent streaks. Varnish is self-leveling, or least has been in my experience, so that shouldn't really be much of a problem anyway. Just be sure to apply and dry flat! Don't hang it until dry, I've had streaks appear doing that as the varnish 'settled' downwards.

My varnish brush is my most expensive. I think it was about 30.


09-24-2007, 08:30 AM
There are many options. I happen to use several techniques but all involve moving very slowly. I have used foam brushes, sprayers, and high end house painting brushes. All work well and for me the varnish seems to be part of the key. I tend to add a medium (distilled water or mineral spirits depending on the varnish used) at a rate of 1 part medium with 3 to 4 parts varnish. Applied slowly and carefully the formation of bubbles can be greatly reduced.

Just a thought about what works for me.

09-24-2007, 10:24 AM
Very good point Howard. Every time my varnishing has gone wrong it's been because I used too little or too much mineral spirits in the mix (usually stupidly too much or little, so it's not too hard to get it right :)), rather than the brush.