Hang Up Your Brushes To Dry

Most, but not all, quality Chinese brushes have a loop on the end so they can hang up to dry. In this way water drains away from the brush hair and the base of the hairs can dry out. If you lay your brush flat to dry, or worse stand it up in a container with the hairs facing up, it will take longer to dry and mildew may grow—especially in hot humid climates. If the brush handle is wood or bamboo—which most are—the water may swell this porous material making it more likely the hairs will fall out and the wood or bamboo will crack. And the longer the base of the brush hairs are wet, the more likely the glue holding them together will dissolve. Store your brushes in a brush pot only after they’ve dried completely by hanging with the tip down.

Both of the brushes illustrated below probably have silk hanging cords, but the brush on the left has an end cap made of plastic, while the one on the right is all part of the wood shaft—generally a sign of a more expensive, and probably more quality, brush.


There are many styles of brush hangers available, most are useful while some are more for show. You can find in shops those made to hang only a single brush, usually when that brush is more decorative than practical. Before you buy a brush hanger give it a little shake and see how sturdy it is. You want one with a wide base so all your brushes don’t fall over whenever you put one on or off the hanger. When you buy a hanger for the first time, think ahead—before long you’ll probably end up with a lot of different brushes so you want a hanger that can hold them all (or you’ll need to buy a lot of hangers that each takes up desktop space).

[from the internet]
[from the internet]
[from the internet]

I have a metal filing cabinet in my studio so I’ve attached magnetic cup hooks from which to hang my brushes. I have a few extra hooks so that, after using a brush, I move all the others to the right and put the one just used on the far left. This allows me to rotate the brushes and give them time to dry out completely before using again.


Some brushes, even high-quality calligraphy brushes, are without drying loops. So, just lay them down somewhere to dry before standing them up in a brush pot.

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