Hey all – This homemade paint brush cleaner is exactly what you need if you’re looking for a solution to getting oil-based paint sediment off your brushes so it will be easier to give them a “real” cleaning later on. If you work with oil paints a great deal you will love this.
There are several ways to create a good screen for brushes, so let’s take a look now. Two ways that will depend on how big a jar you have on hand, and another that might take a little time, but will be a good fit. And look good, too, as well as clean those bristles.
🎨 Oh and don’t forget to pin this to your favorite DIY/craft/art board to read and apply later! 🎨
Small Can Brush Scrubber
One idea I really like is the use of an empty tuna fish can with small holes drilled into one side. I got this from a prior art class so I know it’s a great way to make a good diy brush scrubber – only problem as I see it, you’ll need a jar with a wide enough mouth to accommodate this. I make tuna salad quite often so cans of tuna are always on the shopping list.
I measured one out of curiosity and the diameter is a little bit under 3.5″. I’ve only got one jar (out of many) that it will fit through. Another jar which looked to be almost the same size, but surprise, surprise, it didn’t fit through the neck. So its not always how big or wide the jar is, it’s how wide the mouth of it is.
But if you do have one wide enough, the way to go is to wash the empty can real well, carefully remove the lid so you don’t get scratched, turn upside down and using a small bit, drill about 20-25 little holes. It’ll work great to catch paint sediment off brushes.
Use a Screen Drain
A mesh screen drain is another good homemade paint brush cleaner idea! Now these bad boys are carried at home improvement stores – they are made with a protruding screen and a metal base; and normally used to catch all the “yuckies” in the sink or bathtub.
Easy – all you have to do is drop one in your jar. The hard part is getting a good fit! Although these do come in different sizes, the metal rim on the outside might make it trickier to tell if it will fit or not. Especially since I have no idea if you could trim something like this. So it might be a crapshoot – which leads me to….
DIY A Wire Screen To Fit Your Jar
Now this approach in my opinion, is the best way to go! You’ll need three things-your jar (and lid), some flexible aluminum wire in 18-20 gauge, and a pair of needle nosed pliers.
Start by wrapping a long strand of wire around the mouth of the jar to form the base – this will give you an idea of how wide to start it off. Since this wire will flex a little , it’s ok if it isn’t a perfect fit. Use the pliers to cut it off and wrap around the ends.
Try to turn them under so there are no sharp ends sticking out.
Now you’ll want to begin cutting off some additional strands of wire – about 10-12″ will work fine. We’ll be using these to form the grid pattern.
It’s going to be similar to what I did for the toothbrush holder tutorial – but using a little different approach. We want a tighter pattern than that, since we’re not holding toothbrushes. Cutting short strands ten or twenty times is not something I wanted to do.
I used a wrap-around method instead. It’s a lot quicker, and you can still get that nice mesh pattern. See how I’m doing it, below:
Then I went on the other side and alternated with a different color. I was kind of thinking about the Georgia Bulldogs team colors here. Get creative!
It doesn’t have to be all gold or silver- just be sure you create a tight weave to make it easier to loosen paint off brush bristles which you can’t do with a loose design.
When you finally have a good pattern finished, now we need to find a way to support it so it will sit near the bottom of the jar but not on it, so the paint sediment will have a place to drop.
Take another length of wire, about 9-10″, this time it can be a thicker gauge.
Wrap it into a coil and fasten on end onto your woven piece you just finished. If carried out right, it should raise the mesh screen off the bottom by at least an inch.
Now you can fill it with turp or whatever odorless paint thinner you use. Next time you are working, take your oil painting brushes and wipe the excess paint off on a paper towel, and then gently dip into the new cleaner you made just run the bristles over the screen like so….Great idea, right?
Now you have the perfect homemade paint brush cleaner jar screen! Don’t forget to pop the lid back on and keep it in a safe place. Ideally, this screen will keep you from ever mistaking the jar for water.