Decorative Painting: base coating

Decorative Painting brushes and paints

Written by marika

February 2, 2022

One of the first things we need to do when starting a Decorative Painting project is base coating. A good base coating is very important to achieve a good final result. This is why having the right tools is for sure something to consider.

In this article, I want to tell you what are the most suitable brushes for base coating!
When it comes to Decorative Painting, we need to have a nice, smooth but still well covering base coating before going on with shades and highlights.

We need to keep in mind 3 things when choosing the brushes: the material we are going to paint on, the shape of the element and the size of the area.

The material we are going to paint on affects the choice of the brush hair

For example, if we paint on fabric, we need to choose brushes that don’t hold too much water, because water thins the paint. Using a brush that is holding too much water could only make our job more difficult. The paint could go underneath the fabric (causing quite of a mess…) and could also skip outside the edges of our element.

Personally, when I paint on tin or metal, I prefer using brushes with hair that’s a little bit harder, or brushes that I have been using for a while so they’re not brand new. I noticed that, when painting on tin, brush hair tends to get ruined a bit faster. Base coating is a little “stressful” for our brushes, probably because we need to use less water than floating, so I suggest to use a brush that has already “walked” with you for a while 😉

When I base coat on wood, I prefer using brushes with a bit softer hair (not too much though!) and that are holding more water. As I mentioned in the article about how to prep the surfaces, since wood is a porous material, I suggest you keep your brush a little moist. Well, it doesn’t need to be dripping wet, but it needs to be moist so that your brush can walk easily on the surface.

I have been testing many and many brushes over the years and these are the best, in my opinion:

The shape of our element affacts the type of brush we choose

According to the shape of our element, we can change the brush for base coating: flat, round, filbert and so on. If we are about to paint the stem of a flower, choose a round, whether if our element is flat, choose a… flat brush 😉

When I was a beginner, I used to change the brush more frequently according to what I needed to base coat. Now, maybe because I got a bit lazy or maybe because I am more confident, I mainly use filbert brushes. I use them every time I am base coating, because I can use them flat or not if I need to be more precise. However, if I can’t reach the smallest corners, I can always use a round brush.

The size of the area we are base coating affects the size of the brushes

Dynasty brushes

Among the same brush company and the same type of brush, there are many different sizes. A filbert brush by Dynasty can go from the smallest nr 2 to one of the largest nr. 12 (or 14… I don’t remember 😊)
Well, there are so many to choose from!

Here again, at the beginning I used to change the size more frequently than now, especially when I had to base coat very small areas. If you’re a beginner, I suggest you to change the size if you’re not sure.
As I often say during my classes, what you can do with a small brush, you can do with a big brush… but not always! 😊 So, if you’re a beginner, my suggestion is to have at least these sizes: 4, 8 and 10.

As I always say, brushes must be tried! I am more than happy to share my knowledge and give you suggestions, but what is good for me may not be good for you.

However, I hope this article was helpful and that you have now a better idea about the brushes to use when base coating your Decorative Painting projects.

Have fun!

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