Whether varnishing your oil painting, woodworking project, or something else entirely, you are—perhaps—seeking different characteristics in your varnish brush of choice. Some prefer long, while others short; wide is best for certain projects, while narrower brushes work expertly for others. No matter what you choose, however, the strength and smoothness of the bristles themselves are paramount. As such, ARTnews recommends the five best varnish brushes, below.
1. Silver Brush Grand Prix Ultimate Varnish Brush
This brush is particularly small and soft when it comes to varnish brushes, which makes it ideal for high-quality finishing on everything from canvases to wood furniture pieces. With the smaller size, nooks and crannies can be covered with ease, and the smooth nature of the natural bristles facilitate more even coverage, without any texture to speak of.
2. Hiltex Brush Set
This brush set comes with five different sizes, making it ideal for the varnish seeker who is working with small and large surfaces alike. What’s more, it’s affordable, offering a variety of uses at less than $7 for the set. Included in the set are the five most-popular sizes of varnish brushes, which includes 1-inch, 1.5-inch, 2-inch, 2.5-inch, and 3-inch styles. The bristles are crafted of polyester, which allows for a more even stoke with a large paint-holding capacity. What’s more, these brushes boast a feathered end that aids in the aforementioned qualities.
3. eHomeA2Z Foam Paint Brush Pack
These brushes are ideal for arts-and-crafts projects or small-format jobs. The fact that they’re made of foam and not individual bristles, however, means they allow you to effortlessly create an even glaze. Their short handles are made of wood, which makes them easy to transport, maneuver, and store. They require a pretty thorough cleaning to ensure that all of the paint or varnish has been removed from the foam, but, at that point, they are perfectly fine to continue to use again and again.
4. Liquitex Professional Freestyle Large-Scale Brush
This brush measures a whopping eight inches in width, which makes it ideal for larger varnishing projects. Consider that large-scale oil or acrylic canvas that you’re looking to finish … or the handmade wood dining room table that you labored over for weeks. This brush is the choice that you should be making. It boasts a short handle, which provides the utmost control, and the bristles are fairly short and flat, especially considering its overall size. Though this particular brush is a larger size, it is also available in smaller widths, if you so choose.
5. Princeton Artist Brush
This brush is crafted of synthetic bristles, which cuts down on shedding and improves strength, while remaining quite even and soft to the touch. Each brush has been handcrafted in Germany, so they certainly retail slightly higher than many brushes, but the quality is immediately apparent upon use. The synthetic fibers hold more paint than natural alternatives, enabling each painting job to be done with efficiency.