Monarch brushes. Australia's answer to the Purdy?

When I first started decorating, over 18 years ago, the best brushes on the market were Hamiltons. We'd have new brushes for undercoating and older brushes for gloss work. Always in a constant cycle.

Things have changed alot since then, advances in not only the tools of the trade, but also the paints. Whilst oil based paints are still available, they have changed so much as to be inferior to the newer water based/bourne paints.

Water based paints are not only quicker drying, but also non-yellowing, lower odour and better for the environment.

Using water based paints previously meant a lower quality paint, with worse adhesion and durability, but there are so many products out there now its a wonder why anyone would still use oil paints.

As paints have advanced, so has the technology to apply them. Unfortunately this means the market is saturated. Most painters have too many brushes. I have tried all kinds, whether purchased or more recently given to me to trial for this blog.

The standards are now really high, and whilst most brushes will do the job, a few stand out. I recently started using Decorating Directs Fossa viper trim brush for woodwork and it blows the others out of the water. Its a fantastic brush for applying water based finishes, cutting in and laying them off beautifully. The best bit is the price. They are really cheap at only £24.98 for 6 brushes!

But the brush range I really want to mention is by Monarch painting. These are all handcrafted in Australia and available in Homebase (if your store is still open). I actually got mine in the closing down sale at our local store, at 40% off.

They have a lot of brushes available, including some shapes I have not previously seen, such as the cornice brush. My particular favourite for interior emulsion is actually the weatherboard, eaves and fascia brush. Its oval shaped and is great for cutting in sharp lines, whilst being soft enough to lay the paint off well.

The whole range is great, professionally crafted and reasonably priced, even when not in the sale. These are definitely my go to brushes at the moment.