Crafts · Product Reviews

Blending Brushes: do you get what you pay for?

If you keep up with paper crafting trends, there is no way you will have missed the introduction of brushes like these to the craft supply market. Supposedly they blend ink smoothly, are easy to clean and you don’t need a brush for every color ink you own.

I first saw these at Stamp and Scrapbook Expo in the summer of 2018 and while I was initially going to buy them, the price made me put them back on the shelf and walk away. I believe they were about $49 for a pack of 10 and at the time, I had no idea if I would even like them. I’ll just stick to my daubers and sponges for that price.

A few weeks later I was out shopping and I noticed similar brushes in the cosmetics aisle at Walmart. Of course – makeup brushes! I went on Amazon and searched for ‘oval makeup brushes’ and what did I find? Brushes that look ‘almost’ identical to the ones being sold as ink blending brushes within the crafting community. Here’s the thing though, these ones were only about $12 for a set of 10. I compared photos to the expensive brand name crafting ones and the size and shapes looks the same for each brush in the set. See this photo above of the brushes I bought and compare them to the brand names brushes for yourself if you wish.

Let’s go back to the part where I said these are ‘almost’ identical. I want to be clear that I say ‘almost’ because I didn’t have both kinds to compare side by side and I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the craft brand (which I am not naming here) that their version was in fact something more than cheap makeup brushes. I would like to believe that they were not buying $12 packs of makeup brushes and sticking their label on them to sell for $50. I eventually did buy a sample pack of two from the craft brand so I could compare them side by side and I found two differences. First, the Amazon brushes are a little more flexible in the handle of the brush. Second, the more expensive blending brushes have a slightly more rounded/convex shape to the bristles compared to the Amazon brushes which have a flatter surface. Do these things make a difference? Do the cheap ones work just as well or should you splurge on the expensive version? Watch my video to find out!

Ok, so you’ve watched the video! What are your thoughts? Do you also have both kinds and do you find any difference in how they blend? Have you bought makeup brushes for blending ink and do you like them? Please leave comments at the bottom of this page!

One last thing that I want to make clear. I do not support buying knock off craft products. I do not buy unbranded dies or stamps because the designs may have been illegally stolen from small businesses and sold by companies overseas who are not licensed to reproduce them. This is wrong on many levels and I only buy from reputable craft companies when it comes to my stamps and dies. I strongly believe that you get what you pay for and I respect copyright law. In this case though, this style brush has been around a lot longer as makeup brushes and the craft community has only recently taken notice and started selling them as a craft product. Lots of products have multiple uses and I don’t believe that any craft company independently came up with the idea for these brushes that just happen to look and feel just like makeup brushes. If you have the money and want to support small craft business, by all means – buy the branded blending brushes! Your independent craft retailer and the craft brands that sells these will thank you. In my case, I would rather buy cheap makeup brushes and spend the rest of my money on other craft supplies.

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