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What is a camel hair brush?

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Quick Answer

A camel hair brush is a paintbrush used in artwork and, despite its name, is not made of camel hair. These brushes are created with the hair of various other animals, including goat, pony, ox and squirrel. Camel hair brushes may also be a combination of other animal hairs.

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Camel hair brushes range in quality and price. They are also used for different purposes, depending on their hair type. Brushes made of squirrel hair are often used for lettering, to paint china and for watercolors. The least expensive brushes are typically made from the back or mane hair of a pony. Because the mane is long, it is cut in numerous pieces to make multiple brushes. While this is cost effective, it limits the number of brushes that include the tip of the hair. These tips promote good brush performance. Camel hair brushes are soft and are often mixed with synthetic fiber brushes to increase their softness and absorbency.

Natural artist paint brushes are also made of weasel, fitch, badger and mongoose hair. Bristle brushes are made from the stiff hair of boars, pigs or hogs. They work especially well with oils on a canvas. Synthetic brushes are best for stenciling and fabric applications.

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