How to Hold a Paint Brush

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Time required:

Equipment list:

  • Paint brush. If I had to choose one paint brush for the rest of my life, it would be a Purdy XL 3-inch Angular Trim Glide Brush. It’s a great choice for almost all painting situations. When properly cleaned and stored it will last many years. For trim painting, a 2.5-inch Purdy brush is another good option, just slightly smaller.


  • Elbow grease 🙂

Holding a paint brush correctly is important if you’re going to paint your house right!


First, before you can hold a paint brush you have to have a paint brush, and I recommend the Purdy XL 3-inch Angular Trim Glide Brush as a great general purpose brush. It’s large enough to hold a lot of paint, it’s stable when cutting lines (edging), and it’s capable of doing precise trim work if only the tips of the bristles are employed. If you are primarily painting trim, then a 2.5-inch Purdy brush is another great option. It’s a little bit smaller but still holds a good amount of paint.

I hold a brush like a pencil for the most part, with my thumb on one side, forefinger along the spine of the brush, and three fingers on the back. That’s a great position for most brushing. However, sometimes I hold the brush by the handle (one reason I like the Purdy brush is because it has a long handle that’s comfortably shaped). Holding the brush by the handle allows for a little more extension in your brush strokes. Often I will hold the brush by the handle this way when doing my final “lay off” stroke before moving on to the next section.

In any case, changing hand positions on the brush occasionally can prevent fatigue. Knowing a couple different effective techniques for holding a paint brush is a great skill to have and a critical part of achieving the best results with your paint job.

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