Gesso and varnish brushes are typically big and have relatively short bristles that can spread large amounts of material over your canvas with strength and efficiency. It’s important to find a good-quality gesso brush that won’t leave behind bristles or texture the canvas surface too much. We’ve picked our favorite gesso brushes to help you make a good choice; peruse our reviews below.
1. U.S. Art Supply Synthetic Bristle Brushes
These brushes are made of synthetic fibers, which ensures a smooth stroke and an even finish. While they’re ideal for priming or applying gesso, you can also use them with acrylic or oil paints. They have sanded wooden handles and come in a pack of three, which includes 1-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch-wide brush heads.
2. Langnickel Soft Wash Paint Brushes
These brushes measure 1, 2, and 3 inches across, making them ideal for gesso or priming projects. The bristles are short enough for these brushes to also be used for blending or softening pigments and glazes. They are crafted from goat hair and have wooden handles. While the natural fiber bristles are ideal for heavy media like gesso, they do require a good wash before use to ensure that none of the bristles shed during painting.
3. Linzer Chip Brush Multi-Pack
This six-pack of gesso brushes is an educators’ favorite, due to the variety of brush sizes as well as the affordable price. You get two each of 1.5-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch brushes. The handles are made of wood and the brush heads are easy to use and clean when you’re through. While a great gesso option, they are also suitable for epoxy, glue, paint, and more. They are, however, on the softer side for a gesso brush, so use with care when dealing with particularly heavy materials.
4. Princeton Art & Brush Co. Gesso Bristle Brush
This strong and durable brush is perfect for priming your canvas, able to gracefully and evenly distribute even the heaviest mixtures over your painting surface. The bristles are 2 inches wide. It is recommended that you wash this brush before use so you don’t wind up with any loose bristles on your primed canvas.
5. Jack Richeson Flat Bristle Wood Handle Paint Brush
If you’re looking for a no-frills gesso brush that will get the job done, consider this unfinished wood-handled product. The 2-inch-wide brush is made of natural bristles that are strong enough to handle even the heaviest of gesso mixtures. Though it’s certainly not the top of the line, it’s reliable and affordable, great for both the artist on a budget and the painter who likes to buy brushes in quantity.