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The Best Detail Paint Brushes

Last updated on March 15, 2024

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Our Picks For The Top Detail Paint Brushes

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Amazon Basics Easy Clean Birch Handle Detail Paint Brushes, 7-Piece

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Amazon Basics

Easy Clean Birch Handle Detail Paint Brushes, 7-Piece

Since each of these detail paint brushes are a different shape and size, artists are able to create the most intricate designs. The set includes a total of seven brushes, each of which has a triangular handle made of birch wood. The brushes are easy to hold, allowing for better control as you paint.

Overall Take

An Artist's DelightThese detail paint brushes can be used for everything from painting a canvas to adding a design to a set of acrylic nails.

 Runner Up

Rosmax Ergonomic Handcrafted Detail Paint Brushes, 15-Piece


Ergonomic Handcrafted Detail Paint Brushes, 15-Piece

You'll get a total of 15 detail paint brushes when you opt for this high-quality set. All of the brushes are neatly stored inside a tall cylinder for your convenience. The brushes offer ergonomic handles for comfort and control and soft synthetic hairs that won't fall out or break when you're using them.

Overall Take

Large SetYou'll find these detail paint brushes come with either black or blue handles.

 We Also Like

Bosobo Professional Detail Paint Brushes, 20-Piece


Professional Detail Paint Brushes, 20-Piece

Whether you're creating a watercolor masterpiece or adding a design over your painted nails, these detail paint brushes get the job done. The set includes a total of 20 brushes, half of which are professional round-pointed paintbrushes. Each of the brushes sports a wooden handle that is durable and easy to hold.

Overall Take

Very VersatileAll you need is a little warm soapy water to clean these detail paint brushes.

 Strong Contender

Heartybay Classroom Detail Paint Brushes, 10-Piece


Classroom Detail Paint Brushes, 10-Piece

This set of nylon brushes is perfect for beginner artists. It includes liners, rounds, Filbert rakes and flat shaders. They're easy to clean and hold up well with watercolors, oils and acrylics. During our testing, we found these to be very easy to paint with and comfortable to hold.

Overall Take

Variety PackThese detail paint brushes are an economical pick with a wide variety of nylon tip shapes.

Buying Guide

The devil is in the details, particularly for painters. Whisper-thin borders, gentle lines and graduated shading make your finished pieces stand out from the pack. You’ve got to have the right tools to pull off those tiny add-ons. A premiere set of detail paint brushes will deliver the results you see in your mind. 

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Nail artists, paint-by-numbers hobbyists, face painters and professional artists of all stripes can benefit from the right detail brushes. A good set will come with a range of tip shapes, a sturdy ferrule (the metal connector between the brush itself and the handle) and a comfortable grip. 

Some tip shapes you should look for when you shop for brushes are rounds, liners, spotters and shaders. Round brushes have a rounded tip and deliver versatile thick or thin lines to your paintings. Liners have long-length hairs that come to a thin point; they’re designed to create outlines or borders. 

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Spotters are itty-bitty brushes for tiny details like eyelashes. Shaders have square-shaped bristles for precision control when you’re painting edges or creating blocks of color. 

You can pick up inexpensive brushes at hobby stores, but you might pay for it later. “Cheap versions tend to splinter and lose bristles easily, which can result in stray marks,” says our resident art expert Amy Markham. She’s an art teacher and the creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop creative depth. “Invest in quality detail brushes and care for them.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Detail brushes will be much smaller than standard paint brushes. Artists’ brushes are labeled with numbered sizes. The smallest size is 30/0; the largest size is 30. Most detail brushes are in the 4/0 to 1 range, although you can go much smaller if you’re painting models or intricate nail art.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Now that you’ve got a base coat on detail brushes, put on the finishing touches with the hints in our Tips & Advice section.

Our Expert Consultant

Amy Markham  
Artist and art educator

Artist and educator Amy Markham is the creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop depth in their creative practice. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Amy has been an art educator since 2001. Today, she teaches middle school art at a school outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Her personal artwork explores myth-making and symbolic understandings. Through her brand, Starling Creative Living, she leads others to explore art production as a method for enriching their life experience.

What to Look For

  • Paint brushes come with either synthetic or natural bristles. Natural bristles are made from animal hair, like hogs or boars. Synthetic bristles are made from polyester or nylon. “I prefer synthetic bristles because they are less likely to frizz or splinter,” says Markham, our resident art educator. “However, if you’re mainly a watercolor painter, natural fibers may be your best option”
  • The piece of metal that connects your brush’s bristles to its handle is called a ferrule. Look for a ferrule made from nickel-plated brass; this blend reduces the risk of corrosion and breakage. 
  • Properly washing, drying and storing your detail paint brushes will help the bristles maintain their shape. Clean your brushes ASAP after you’re done painting, especially when using quick-drying acrylic paint. Dampen the bristles with water, and then work soap or shampoo into them. (You can also use dishwashing liquid for stubborn paint.) Rinse them until the water runs clear, and then let them air dry.
  • Make sure you also wash the ferrule. Dried-on paint can cause cracking and splitting, rendering your paintbrush useless. 
  • Store your clean brushes horizontally in an artist’s pouch, drawer or box. You can also store them upright with the bristles pointing up, but don’t pack them too tightly. If the bristles of different brushes lean against each other, it can distort their shape.

More to Explore

You can pick up a great set of paintbrushes at any art supply store or at major online retailers, but they weren’t always so easy to come by. 

The first paint brushes were used about 40,000 years ago to create those famous cave paintings you learned about in school. Sticks, wood shavings and even bones served as the first brushes. The Ancient Egyptians used reeds, and quills were also favored for centuries. Eventually, brushmakers started individually gluing animal hairs to wooden handles. 

Metal ferrules were added during the Industrial Revolution, which helped brushes last longer. Eastern Europe was home to some of the world’s favorite paint brushes for years — their manufacturing skills produced high-quality brushes made from Chinese pig bristles.

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