By Silly Heather Your Paint Pal <3
Raise your hand if you are a messy painter. If you could see me now I have both of my hands in the air. No matter how hard I try, and how organized I try to be, my kit always looks like a disaster after 10
minutes. Having a clean kit is a great selling point and keeps parents and customers happy. I leave my bottle of Brush Bath on the table so the parents can see I care as much as they do about promoting cleanliness. The creative side of my brain can’t seem to put things back in their spots, avoid mixing colors, colorful trucker hands, or tie dyed sponges. Since I know that I have trouble keeping my kit looking good while at an event, I have started a few practices to force myself to stop and take a clean break as Marcela likes to call it. So here are a few tips to help you keep your kit looking good, minimizing cross contamination, and to preserve the longevity of your supplies.
NEVER leave your brushes and sponges soaking in water. The longer you leave your brushes and sponges soaking in water the more bacteria builds up. Sitting water, especially over 2-3 days time can cause mold and bacteria build up. If you leave your brushes and sponges soaking during the job, you will bend the tips and cause your them to disintegrate much faster. Try storing your brushes upright while on the job to avoid bending the tips and keep your sponges out of soaking water so that they aren’t absorbing dirty water.
While I am painting on a job, I add 2-3 drops of Brush Bath in my water. Brush Bath is an all natural organic soap that can be used while you are painting. The Brush Bath helps break down the oils and pigments that reside in your brushes while painting. Brush Bath is a great product because it doesn’t contain alcohol so it won’t irritate the skin, dry out your supplies and is versatile. It can be used to in your water while you paint, used to cleans your sponges during and after your event, and can even be used to clean paint from the skin. I created Brush Bath out of pure necessity. 6 years ago I was painting at an event and the organizer wanted me to clean my supplies with alcohol between each child. After the 10th kid the smell was so strong and I was ruining my supplies. So I found an organic cosmetic company and designed a product that could be used while we paint. Once my job is over and I begin my after event clean up ritual I rinse and clean all my sponges with Brush Bath. Brush Bath is natural, organic, and will not irritate the skin. Some of the other products on the market, while they are great for hygiene, they contain alcohol and can cause irritation to the skin especially sensitive children’s skin. So if you choose to use a product while on the job, avoid alcohol or alcohol based cleaners use something mild that like Brush Bath or baby shampoo to avoid ruining your supplies.
Once you clean your brushes and sponges lay them flat and allow them to dry. I used to wash my sponges and throw them in a garment bag and put them back inside of my kit. I use a rolling case similar to a suitcase to hold my supplies so when I wrapped up my sponges and threw them back in the kit I found they were stinky the next time I opened my kit. It is similar to leaving damp clothes in the dryer machine, then tend to start smelling. So after you clean your brushes and sponges let them air dry flat in a cool dry place overnight if you have time. That will ensure proper moisture release and avoid damage to the bristles of your brushes. When you clean your brushes and put them back in your kit, if they are put away on a slant or the tip touching an edge of the case it can cause them to bend.
Another product I highly recommend and love is the Beauty So Clean spray. This product is awesome to use during your after event cleaning ritual. I also spray my brushes with the BSC right before I pack up my supplies. I do not use this product while Im painting like I do my Brush Bath because the bottle states that it may cause irritation to the skin. But I love this product because it cleans and conditions my brushes. So I use it to break down any oils left in the bristles and to give my brushes a really good deep clean. I spray my brushes, give them a slight rinse, and let them lay flat and dry overnight. Then I can begin my next job knowing my supplies are properly cleaned and maintained.
At the end of your event or when you went hard core on the sponge blending, use a baby wipe to swipe the top and surface of your paints. Make sure to clean the edges and swipe the top in a circular motion to leave the top of the paint nice and smooth. Avoid pressing or swiping straight across so you don’t build a dip in the middle of the cake.
To clean your Rainbow cakes and Arty cakes instead of using a baby wipe and swiping in a circular motion you will want to take a bay wipe and lay it flat over the top of the cake and then press with your palm. This will press the colors back together and clean the surface nicely. Avoid dragging the baby wipe across the surface so you don’t create dips and holes.
DO NOT spray or clean your kit with bleach, alcohol, or kitchen cleaner. Yes I have had people ask me about soaking their sponges in bleach or comet. The answer is please no! If you take care of your supplies and clean them regularly you won’t need to bleach them. Not to mention bleach and alcohol ruin our synthetic brushes and cause the bristles to fray or break off. It’s easy to create a cleaning formula that works for you. Commit to cleaning your supplies after every gig and not waiting until the next time you open your kit to scramble and rinse your dirty sponges. I am guilty of this but if I want my customers to take me seriously I need to show them why I set myself apart from those that charge less than me. Things like a clean kit and brushes, good service and professional supplies are what makes us stand out and they take such little effort. It’s ok to be a messy painter, it’s actually expected of us because we are naturally a little colorfully chaotic. But make sure you are taking care of your supplies by cleaning them regularly and using the right products to get the job done.
As always if you have questions, comments or have a tip to add PLEASE share your feedback with me.