Reported by Heather Strenzwilk
Stippling was one of the first techniques I learned as a newbie stamper back in the 1990’s. I was mesmerized when I watched the owner of the local stamp store create a beautiful sunset with a brush and a few shades of dye ink.
Natural (boar’s) hair stipple brushes are available from several companies under various names and in various sizes. As an avid stippler I own several brands (Toybox, Stampin Up and Dove) of brushes in assorted sizes. The brushes are all very similar in appearance and the bristles are similar as well. For this review, I am highlighting Dove All-Purpose Brushes because they are currently available in 4 sizes.
There are 4 standard sizes of Dove All-Purpose Brushes:
- #2- 1/2 inch diameter
- #4- 3/4 inch diameter
- #6- 1 inch diameter
- #8- 1 1/4 inch diameter
The brushes feature a smooth natural wood handle, boar’s hair bristles and an orange plastic ferrule. The wooden handle has a drilled hole to increase the owner’s storage options. Proper care will prolong the life of natural hair stipple brushes. I store mine bristle side up in a holder on my art desk. I have stipple brushes that are 10+ years old that work as well now as they did when I bought them. I own at least one of each size but #6 size is my favorite, followed by #4. They allow me a fair amount of coverage but also the ability to apply color to a certain area. If I stipple Twinkling H2O’s, I use the smallest #2 brush because it fits the smaller pots better.
Many stipplers (including me) prefer to designate 1 brush for each color family. Natural hair bristles will stain but as long as they tapped off between colors, the staining should not muddy the new color. Many seasoned stipplers recommend working from light colors to dark colors to minimize any chance of transferring color from the artwork back to the ink pad.
There are several ways to clean natural hair stipple brushes. The first is to simply tap (or pounce) the brush on clean paper or a dry paper towel. Another way is to lightly tap it on a baby wipe and then remove the dampness with a dry paper towel. Others swear by swirling the brush in the palm of your hand along with a drop of dishwasher detergent and some water, rinsing the bristles under water until all the soap is gone. I prefer the “tap- off” method, but once in a while I do wet the tip of the bristles with water- being careful not to wet the full length of the bristles. Professional artists recommend allowing brushes to dry on a flat surface so the dampness doesn’t travel to the collar area and loosen the bristles prematurely. Lastly, never use the brush until it is completely dry.
- A single brush can create various looks ranging from a light dusting to intense shading
- Brushes are very easy to care for and are very portable
- Economically priced and if properly cared for will last many years
- If the brush is stored improperly the bristles may get bent or damaged
- The bristles stain (they work just as well though)
- Techniques can be time-consuming and require considerable effort to create a very smooth, solid background
Dove All-Purpose Brushes are durable and dependable natural hair stipple brushes and they can be used to create a variety of looks. These brushes are easy to take care of and are portable and lightweight. Dove All-Purpose Brushes are available directly from Dove and range in price from $1.95- $3.75. They are also available from Creative Images Rubber Stamps ranging from $2.50- $4.50.
Do you have a preferred brand of stipple brush? Share your thoughts with our readers!