Over the last few years, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at doing home improvement projects with as minimal effort as possible. Part of it has been because I simply had to; it’s not easy doing a renovation on my own, and being only 5’2″, things tend to literally be out of reach when I need them. So I develop methods for moving heavy furniture or using ladders that are low-center-of-gravity friendly. But far more often, I’m just plain lazy. Most of my habits and shortcuts are made with the idea of getting the job done without having to do a massive cleanup afterward. So I’ll skip the taping step and get better at painting straight lines without it – or I’ll find a way to keep a paint brush wet for a long time.
Laziness. I find that dreading the cleanup will make me procrastinate starting a project. If I know something will take a few days, I think of the mess afterward – and it will sometimes cause me to see what’s on Netflix rather than looking around for a paint key. For a busy girl like me, this kind of avoidance is what turns a Before and After project into a Before and Maybe Next Week. It’s pure evil, and I need to stay motivated. Keeping a wet paint brush gives me a little sense of urgency (so that I don’t wait too long and come back to a ruined brush) and a sense of now-ness – I can pick it back up as soon as I walk in the door and move that much closer to the finish line.
Savings. I’m not much of a green blogger, but I am a cheapskate. So technically, not having to clean brushes nightly is both a good thing for water conservation and for my water bill. Double whammy.
Time. When I’m finished for the night, I can simply wrap the brushes and go rather than drag everything to the sink and spend precious sleeping/TV watching minutes on cleanup. Charlie doesn’t realize the connection, but an earlier bedtime equals a more cheerful me in the morning, which equals more treats when I get back home.
See? This practically saves the world, you guys.
What you need
- high quality sandwich bags (I find that the regular molded plastic closure works better than the slider/zipper kind for keeping brushes from drying out)
- plastic wrap
- tape (optional – I sometimes use it, sometimes skip it)
Store the wet brush using the sandwich bag. For cutting in, I use a short-handled brush (Wooster brand with a rubber grip is my absolute favorite – I must own 4 or 5 by now), so it’s really easy to just pop it in the bag and squeeze out the air before snapping the bag closed. I then do the ol’ bread bag wrap trick (you know the one, when you lose the twist tie) and wrap the excess plastic around the brush. I sometimes then tape the end of the bag to the rest of the plastic to keep it from unwrapping, but most of the time I just make sure that the end is on the bottom when I lay the brush down, which basically uses gravity to keep the wrap in place.
For long-handled brushes, snip one corner of the bag and stick the handle through, and squeeze out the air. Tape the hole around the handle to prevent air from getting inside the bag once closed.
Again, this isn’t rocket science – wrap the roller in plastic wrap. I usually don’t take the roller off of the handle; some do. Use tape if you want, but plastic wrap sticks to itself, so to me this is overkill.
Fridge? Freezer? Nope.
You can find tutorials all over the place for variations on how to keep a paint brush wet (I think this one is great). Some involve wrapping the roller in a wet towel before wrapping in plastic. Some involve using wax paper or sticking the brush/roller in the fridge or freezer. But I suppose it’s about personal preference. I have had plenty of success with a wet roller and a wet brush for a week without sticking them into the fridge or freezer, and if I put the brush anywhere other than in the middle of the project I’m working on, it’s out of sight, out of mind – which means that this method only serves to help me forget.
There you have it. It’s not a new method for keeping brushes wet, but sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Got any of your own tips to share?