For any painting project, you will need paint brushes. Properly cleaning and care for your brushes is key.
Whether you are planing to paint your home, or you are working on a simple wood working project, investing in good quality brushes is important. With proper care and use, your brushes will last you a good long time and help stretch your painting dollar.
There are two characteristics of a good brush that you should be on the look out for. They include the following:
Bristle length will help determine the brush's elasticity. A test for elasticity is to hold the bristles slightly bent. They should hang together, not flair out. Compress the brush. It should feel full of bristles.
A good brush will also have split ends. The more ends that are split, the better the brush performs.
Be sure to precondition your brushes before use. Conditoning them helps them to accept paint and will insure a longer more useful life. To precondition, rub the ends of the bristles vigorously on a rough surface and then spin in your hands. Soften the brushes in linseed oil for 24 hours before first use.
If there are stray bristles, remove them with a knife or scraper.
When painting, use the dip-and-slab method. Slowly submerge the brush into the paint about a third of the length of the bristles, then slab off the excess on the side of the paint container. If you dip deeply into the bristles, paint will accumulate in the heel of the brush and shorten the life of the brush.
When finished with your brush, proper cleaning is a must. Start with turpentine, thinner or other commercial cleaner to clean away excess paint. Then use cleansing powder until the water runs clear. Wrap the brush in foil and store.
If you have a paint brush that has been neglected, there are ways to restore that brush. For paint buildup, soak in a paint remover for 10 minutes. Use a comb to remove jellied paint and then rinse with turpentine. Repeat until all the paint is out. After your brush is free of paint, clean with soap and water, straighten the bristles, wrap in foil, and store. For a brush that may have warped bristles, try a soaking in linseed oil, reshape, and store.
Using the above methods for use and cleaning of your paint brushes will greatly improve their lifespan.
A Style Guide to Wearing a Belt Accessory Belts are the perfect way to introduce a chic pop of color, texture or bling to any outfit; this waist-wringing item is one of few accessories that can take any outfit up a notch, from fine to fantastic.
Where to Wear the Belt Traditionally worn for their aptitude for pulling in waists to create the most feminine of figures, belts are now migrating all over the torso, from just below the bust line, to the natural waist, and even slung low around the hips.
Cinching a wide belt around the smallest part of your torso - your natural waist - emphasizes and slims this very feminine zone while accentuating sexy curves.
Thick belts create the most dramatic, waist-narrowing looks since they brace your body in a corset-like fashion. Look for sturdy or stretchy materials such as solid and woven leathers, reinforced layers of satin, and thick, wide elastic bands that can comfortably resist all the bending and sitting you're likely to do over the course of a day.
If you want to stand out, get creative and fashion yourself a belt out of unconventional materials. Belts can be made out of a variety of innovative fabrics and closures. Mix it up by swapping buckles for bows, hooks and snaps, and trade the usual leather wrap-around for stretchy elastics, menswear-inspired cummerbunds, kimono-inspired silky obi sashes, and bands of fabric.
Skinny belts are a lovely complement to dainty dresses and separates; extra long slender belts look super stylish when wound many times around the waist or hips.
Skinny belts are often fabricated out of barely-there strips of leather, chain links and rope. And because skinny belts are so slim, you can go for a bright splash of color or a shimmering metallic finish without dominating the outfit.
Remember to keep in mind your body's proportions when choosing a belt; an ultra slinky skinny belt might visually add weight to a plus sized woman, whereas a slightly thicker medium width belt will produce a more balanced skinny-belt look.
Belt at the Waist Tightly fastened, bellybutton grazing belts are the by far the most popular way to rock the belt this season:
Wear a thick or thin waist-level belt with a pair of high-waisted trousers, belted over a naughty secretary pencil skirt, or cinched over a simple shift dress.
Tie together separates - tops, sweaters, skirts, trousers or jeans - by wearing a waist-hugging thick or thin belt over light layers for a more refined look.
Give definition to day dresses by nipping them in with textured, woven, cut-out or plaited medium and thick belts.
Amp up the allure of a curve-flattering sheath dress with a patent leather belt or a decorative belt studded with crystals, rhinestones, gemstones, sequins, and metallic finishes.
Accentuate your curves and add sharp focus to tailored jackets and structured shirts by looping your waist with a belt.
Empire Waist Belt (Below the Bust) Belts worn just below the bust line enhance the bosom and should be slight, skinny and simple. Look for thin belts in contrasting colors made from patent leather, alligator, suede, or a daintily bow-tied ribbon. Unless your garment already has empire height belt loops - and since gravity will want to bring your belt down past your thinner natural waist - you'll need discretely stitch loose loops into its outer seams.
Belt at the Hips Low-slung belts draw the eye to more womanly curves: the hips. The most relaxed and casual mode of wearing a belt, hip-hugging belts do wonders for tunics, casual shift dresses, trendy low-rise jeans and boho skirts, adding a ring of color and a finishing touch of flair and personality to the outfit.
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