Have you ever been to the donut shop and you just can’t decide which donut to buy?  They all look so good!  That’s how it can feel when trying to choose a paint brush.  How do I choose a brush for my next paint project? So many options.  So many shapes and sizes.  How do you know which one to get??

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How to Choose a Brush

I carry three kinds of brushes that I call Good, Better, and Best.  Let’s start with the Good brush.  This may look like the cheap chip brushes that you can find at your local store.  But there’s a big difference!  The cheap chip brushes are made with natural bristles that not only cause brush strokes, but they tend to fall out.  The Fusion  basic brush contains synthetic bristles and gives a wonderful finish.  It comes in two sizes, 1 1/2″ and 2″.  We use these in our workshops and I frequently use them around the house on small projects.  These are a good choice for small, simple designs.

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We have several brushes that I would consider a Better brush.  The angled brush is one of them.  It also has synthetic bristles and leaves a beautiful finish.  The quality of the bristles, the larger size, and the angle of the tip all make this a better brush.  It’s great for kitchen cabinets and pieces that have a combination of flat and inset or raised panels.

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We also carry Zibra brushes, which are another Better brush.  Zibras are a quality brush and give a nice finish.  They make six different shapes  for a variety of projects and purposes.  I love their Round and Fan shapes but the Palm Pro and Triangle brushes are popular as well.

Zibra paint brushes


Our BEST brushes are the premium quality, professional level Staalmeester brushes.  These are not your average hardware store brushes.  These are the Cadillac of brushes, designed to last a lifetime!  The bristles are a unique blend of synthetic and natural bristles.  The natural china bristles help the brush absorb and hold paint while the longer, silky synthetic bristles provide a smooth, even application for little to no brush strokes. Each Staalmeester brush has a beautiful beechwood handle and striking copper ferrule.  The bright orange string surrounds the base of the bristles and keeps them tight and in shape.  You should leave the string in place.  The most frequent question I get is, “Which brush should I use?”  Let’s look at each one.

how to choose a brush


The large Staalmeester oval sash brush is the most versatile.  If you only buy one brush, this would be a good one!  The large diameter flattens out some when you brush, providing a wide, flat surface that is great for flat surfaces.  The round shape also helps to access groves and cover spindles.

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One of our best selling brushes are the Staalmeester pointed sash brushes!  This pointed brush is perfect for getting into corners, edge work, and cutting in.  It, too has great flexibility and comes in two sizes.

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When I mention paint brushes, most customers picture a flat brush.  Staalmeester has created a wonderful flat brush that comes in three sizes, 1″, 1 1/2″, and 2″.  The Staalmeester flat brush is great for a flat surface.  This would be my choice for a flat surface like a small table or dresser without much detail.


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Fusion just released a new brush that has become my favorite!  This one is the Staalmeester round synthetic brush.  What sets this Pro Hybrid apart is that it contains only synthetic bristles – no natural bristles here.  How is that different?  It is soft and makes painting a dream!  It is so easy to apply paint with this brush.  And clean up is super easy too!  This one has a green string around the bristles to set it apart from the other brushes with an orange string.  It is absolutely one of my favorites.

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The last brush in my lineup is a funny looking brush.  It’s called a Bent brush.  It, too, is an all synthetic bristle brush.  But why the bend?  It’s a speciality brush that helps you reach those hard to reach spots.  I don’t use mine often, but when I do, this one is indispensable.

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Staalmeester bent brush








   Photo courtesy of When Shabby Meets Chic

Finally, let’s talk about the Rolls Royce of brushes, Staalmeester’s Ultimate One brushes.  These are the. most. amazing brushes.  Seriously.  The all synthetic bristles are so fine you feel like you could use them to apply make-up!  My very most absolute favorite brush is the Ultimate One Round.  It comes in two sizes.  I have both and luv them! They’re my go-to, every day brush.  Expensive but absolutely worth the investment.  My grandpa used to always tell me that the quality of the finish depends on the quality of the tools.  He was right.

Staalmeester Ultimate One Round

Staalmeester also makes a flat brush with Ultimate One bristles.  It also comes in two sizes plus the ever popular Spalter brush.  The large flat brushes are great for blending.  Read how Loree Pringle used the large flat Ultmiate One to blend the colors on a dresser here.  The Spalter #7 is fantastic to paint spindles!

download 17 How to Choose a BrushSTAALMEESTER SPALTER FLAT BRUSH

When you purchase a brush, the best way to keep it clean and conditioned is with the Fusion Brush Soap.  I’ve found the easiest way to clean the Staalmeester brushes is four simple steps.

  • Rinse most of the paint out of the brush under running water.
  • Suspend in water with the water level below the string or ferrel and let the rest of the paint weep out of the brush
  • Wash any residue of paint out of the bristles with brush soap
  • Hang to dry.

Here’s a video showing how easy it is to clean.

One of the secrets to achieving a flawless finish is to use a quality brush.  Once you’ve selected your brush and paint color, it’s time to prep.  You can see the steps to prepping for a quality finish here  and download a free copy of the prep card!

I have a large bucket full of brushes that I’ve accumulated over the years.  It’s important to have the right tool for the job.  That’s why I’ve put together this starter kit.  It includes my favorite Staalmeester round synthetic brush, the large pointed sash brush, and the medium flat brush plus a tube of brush soap to help you take care of your new brushes.  You can purchase a starter kit here.

starter paint brushes

Staalmeester has put together a great gift set of brushes, too.  It includes two Pro Hybrid, green string brushes and one Bent brush.  These make great additions to your paint brush lineup and are a bargain for three great brushes!

Staalmeester Brush Gift Box

And for the best combo of all, Fusion’s new Staalmeester Painter’s Essential set is packed full of five fantastic brushes, including a wax or stencil brush that’s not available anywhere else!

Painter's essential paint brush set


I’m always happy to help with any questions you have!  Let me know where you are in your painting journey!