Artist Mops and More

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that mops are treated differently than other artist  paintbrushes. First of all mops, with a few exceptions, are not meant to apply paint to a surface but to smooth and soften what you’ve already applied. They also can be used to blend the line of separation between one color and another. They come in several sizes and shapes. Their hairs may be synthetic, camel, squirrel, hog , goat or a synthetic blend. Most are soft, but some are purposely stiff.

When you use a mop you will not wet it with water or extender first. Usually you will want to make light crisscross strokes over the wet paint. But there are times the smaller mops can be stroked or pounced, always lightly. The mop is going to move the paint around and pick up some of it. If you are too heavy handed you may create holes in your work, taking off more than you intended.

I never clean a mop while I am using it. Instead I vigorously stroke it on a shop towel to get most of the paint out of it before using with a different color.  When I am totally done for the day I can clean it. For the large fluffy mops, I prefer not to use water for cleaning. I rub hand sanitizer in the hairs that still hold paint. It evaporates quickly, leaving the mop still soft and floppy. I’ve tried washing my earlier mops with hand soap and water, but they were never the same afterwards. They lost their softness.

Hand sanitizer works well for all mops and is the best option. If you are concerned about drying out the hairs you can use soap and water but the lather can get out of control. Cut the soap down to a minimum and  be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Hopefully, I’ll have some demonstrations on how to use mops, as well as others down the road.

7 thoughts on “Artist Mops and More

  1. Linda Duff

    Thanks for the blog on mops. I must admit I dont use my mop as much as I should. I know when I get out the brushes I need to remember to get that out also so I have it handy. Also I would wash mine with soap and water, have to remember the hand sandizer. to clean them! Thanks again for this blog and your time it takes to do it.


  2. Sheila Landry

    I have several mops and have used them with paints like Genesis and Traditions that have a longer drying time, but I have trouble moving fast enough when using them with regular acrylica (like Americanas) I am interested to see how you do it in your upcoming video. Perhaps I am doing something wrong. Thanks for the great post! 🙂


  3. Penne Beckett

    I love mops! I cleaned one with soap and water ONCE! Very hrd time getting rinsed out. another bruh question, loaned a brush to someone at retreat, now bruh has “fish mouth”. Any way to fix it?


    1. Lynnette Post author

      I don’t know. If you mean that it has flattened out in the middle and still has the sides standing, I’ve run into that when I was starting out, but then I learned how o use them properly. I’d didn’t try to restore them, but keep them for adding different textures. You could try taking a pin and separating the hairs in the middle and then thoroughly cleaning. But if that doesn’t work I’d just buy new and not loan them again. Or better yet, keep old fish mouth for your friend to borrow the next time and save your new one for yourself. I’m rather stingy with my good brushes.


  4. Penne Beckett

    Just as I thought. It wasn’t even a friend, just someone taking the same class. Found out after that she only paints at retreat, once a year. I will buy a new brush and save the old one for who knows what. Thanks for getting back to me.



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