I usually find everything I need at craft, art, and beading stores. But recently I went to a small, local hobby store in search of small gauge metal tubing. This is the kind of store where they sell the materials to do small-scale modeling, fantasy figures, railroad models, remote control airplanes, and rockets. Like the owner said, it’s “guy stuff”. But my goodness there were some neat things there! I found the metal tubes right away and was in the middle of handing over my debit card at the counter when I saw these Microbrushes. I gave a bit of a squeal and said, “Ooooh, those are wonderful!” The owner laughed and said that’s what everyone says when they see them. Needless to say, I had to buy some and share my find with all of you.
They are made by a company called, simply enough, Microbrush and come in Regular (2.0mm), Fine (1.5mm), and Superfine (1.0mm) tips, each packaged in 10 brush card packs. They’re disposable and cheap enough that you can feel okay about tossing them. I paid $2.25 for each of these packages. I looked around the Microbrush website and these brushes are also available in larger packages that are marketed to the cosmetics and dentistry industries of 100 to 400 brushes each. And then I realized that I have seen my dentist use these same brushes.
The advantage of these brushes is that the head size is very small and holds a precise drop of liquid material. This liquid could be paint, adhesive, solvent, or lubricant. The brush also bends, allowing access to tiny places with tight access. I wish I’d had these brushes when I was making my Distressed Rainbow Necklace because each tile is edged in black paint. I used a Q-tip and that was a messy, imprecise, frustrating exercise. How many times have you tried to put a tiny drop of glue on something and were reduced to the frustrating exercise of using a toothpick? These disposable Microbrushes will do the trick so much better.
The tips of these Microbrushes are really, really tiny. I have been trying to use 000000 paintbrushes for fine details, and they work great for lines. But they don’t hold a volume of liquid. Use these microbrushes to place tiny, regular sized dots of paint. Or to apply epoxy adhesive inside the hole before you insert wire into polymer clay. How about putting the right amount of glue onto a bail so that it doesn’t slop over and make a mess? I’m sure I’ve only begun to think of ways these can be used.
The website does show that you can purchase Microbrushes at Hobby Lobby, but I’ve never seen them in the stores. You can buy them online from Hobby Lobby. You can find Microbrushes in these retailers in the US, and these retailers in Europe. A reader let us know that they can be purchased from Micromark (which is a fantastic site, thanks Jeanne)! And another reader told of an online source in Germany (thanks Veronique)! And in Canada, Lee Valley Tools is your place to go (thanks Lawrence). And for an even more economical solution, look for “eyelash extension microbrush” on ebay and get a whole variety of types. Thanks to Binky for that suggestion.
I think I’ll take another trip to that hobby store and see if I can’t look at their offerings with a new eye. I wonder how many things that are designed for another industry or hobby could be used in jewelry and polymer clay work? What neat tools or supplies have you found from other industries that are very useful in your work?