Brushes To Live by: A 20 Year Paintbrush Review

Experience The Difference

I have put together for you all a quick review of the brushes I have used the most over my 20+ year furniture painting career, because the question “what brush should I use”  comes up so often.

I will start with what I used the most frequently over the years. Most of my career I have relied on the reliability and value of the Purdy XL series.

Purdy brushes come in all shapes and sizes and Purdy has always had something to meet everyone’s budget. They are available in both synthetic and natural bristle styles.

Purdy XL Series

Purdy XL Series: The Purdy XL Series was my go-to series for nearly 20 years. If I wasn’t using a Purdy XL I was using an artist brush. When I would paint with artist brushes, it really drove Poppie crazy. He was a former commercial painter and thought it was such a waste of my time.

Me being an artist, I was always comfortable with the sable hair watercolor wide brushes, even if it took a long time. But time is money and I usually would take his advice and use our Purdy’s.

I found the Purdy XL Series to always meet all my needs bought when I was using latex and then later on after I started chalk painting my furniture.

The brushes always performed very consistently across the board. I could always get a very smooth streakless finish. The brushes held an adequate amount of paint, but not nearly as much as my new Best Chalk Brushes do.

They clean up fine, but sooner then later is better. The heel does tend to get clogged up and you may have to use a brush comb to remove a buildup of paint.

Purdy Color Washing Brush

Purdy Color Washing Brush: This is a 4” extra wide natural bristle brush. I love to use it for table tops.

This brush is part of Purdy’s Symphony Professional Collection.

Surprisingly it is currently only $6.98 at Lowes, which is where I purchased mine years ago.

It sheds very little as compared to many natural bristle brushes and cleans up great. It is a great investment for your toolbox. 

You will have it for years and years to come if you take care of it. And frankly, at this bargain, I believe it is one of the best values on the market for furniture painters.

White Bristle Paint & Wax Brush

All I can say Is I love the White Bristle Paint & Wax Brush! I resisted using a round or oval natural bristle brush, except for waxing, for the longest time because, well;

  1. I am really somewhat of a rebel so when the masses (Premium Paint Companies) said I needed it,
  2. I was like “no way do I need to spend $45 on a brush, you are crazy” and;
  3. Poppie was such as big supporter of Purdy I just followed his lead.

So why would I spend that kind of money on something I knew I didn’t need just to be “trendy”? Well, let me tell you. These brushes are worth every penny.

They come in 3 sizes, are natural bristle, have a comfortable long handle, clean up great, are more economical than the leading ready-made paint companies line, but best of all they cut the painting time in half. They have the ability to hold more paint and this quickens the entire process. 

While doing workshops at The Fancy Fleas Vintage Market just last month we were able to show how a small table top could be entirely covered with one load of paint. And this was with our small brush.

The paint goes on smooth as glass and leaves very few brush strokes.  Another added feature is that if you are looking to create a rustic farmhouse finish the brush will also handle the randomness of this type of brush stroke where a synthetic brush may be stiffer and harder to achieve the desired finish.

Thumbs up my new favorite!!! White Bristle Paint & Wax Brushes are available here.

Sponge Brushes & Dabbers

Sponge brushes are great for small projects or decoupage.

I have used the dabbers very successfully when painting polka dot finishes, which I love. Umm. Just talking about them makes me want to go paint something!

They are great for craft classes and workshops and are very economical and disposable. Available at arts and crafts stores.

Chip Brushes

Chip Brushes: chip brushes are inexpensive single use brushes.

They are natural bristle, so you can get a nice finish with them, but they do tend to shed quite a bit.

You get what you pay for. Most natural brushes will shed, but it will slow down considerably after the first couple washes.

Chip brushes are disposable. I like to let the paint dry in the after using to use the old brushes in photo ops or in crafting.

Other Useful Brushes & Tools

Sea sponges are great for creating all types of special effects. They are perfect for marbling and my previous assistant Sam loves them for putting on her wax.

Artists brushes sure do come in handy when embellishing your handles and getting those perfect accents applied.

I also have used these flat craft brushes and love them for chalkboard paint. They lay on a very smooth coat and are very inexpensive.

All of these tools are available at craft and art supply stores.

5 Stars!

Poppie's provides inspiration for Do It Yourselfers. Get the Trendy Chalkpaint look for Less with Poppies Paint Powder! Superior Coverage, All Natural DIY Chalk Paint Powder & Endless Color Palette

5 Stars!

Cyndy Dwyer

Gave it as a gift

Gave it as a gift and the recipient was very pleased!

Allison Duffee

Such an awesome business!

Such an awesome business! Love this idea too. I’m a busy DIYer so I always live products that make my chalk painting easier!

Megan Marie Mick

I Got my sample and I loved it!

“I Got my sample and I loved it! Really great… I attached a pic of the finished piece. Thanks, I will definitely use again”

Ugly Creek

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint User

I have used Annie Sloan for years but I gave Poppie’s a try and I will never use anything else! I can use any color or paint I want!

Lyndsey J.

Chalk Painting Class

Went to a chalk painting class with a girlfriend and this stuff is amazing.

Karen Schmidt

Old To New

Poppie’s is my new favorite! It mixed well, covered amazing and I used half the amount!

Sarah K.
Old To New Creations


I received a sample to try. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but after using my sample, I was quite impressed. I will definitely continue to use.


Great Stuff!

Poppie's provides inspiration for Do It Yourselfers. Get the Trendy Chalkpaint look for Less with Poppies Paint Powder! Superior Coverage, All Natural DIY Chalk Paint Powder & Endless Color Palette

I love using this product! I can choose any color and it’s so simple to use.❤️

Karen Lee

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