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This week I discovered a new product, and I was so impressed I wanted to share it with you.
It’s the mis-named Liquitex Pen Cleaner. Not exactly mis-named, as it does clean pens. But it also cleans other products, so calling it a pen cleaner perhaps limits its audience. So do read on, even if pens aren’t part of your creative practice.
I bought this product ages ago when I was planning to do some airbrush work with my acrylic inks, but that didn’t happen so the cleaner has been sitting in my studio ever since, waiting for its moment.
The moment arrived!
Last week I was teaching at a summer school. (Hence the lack of last Friday’s blog post. Sorry.) I was demonstrating the use of a ruling pen and realised mine was looking past its best. It’s about 35 years old, and has been used for watercolour, gouache, acrylic and ink, so that’s hardly surprising.
The blades weren’t heavily soiled, but they did show acrylic ink residue and staining, which had so far resisted my attempts to wipe clean
I thought I’d give the pen cleaner a try.
Dunked the pen in the cleaner for a couple of minutes, gave it a wipe, and IT LOOKS LIKE NEW!
So easy, and no trace of paint left. I’m seriously impressed. And relieved. If my pen gets grubby in future, I know I can get it back to a pristine condition.
If you prefer a dip pen to a ruling pen, I’m sure it would work equally well.
Encouraged by my success, I thought I’d try cleaning my painting/palette knives. While I’m usually quite good at wiping my knives clean after each use, I still find that there can be a build up of paint around the base of the blade.
It’s important to keep blades clean, otherwise a beautiful swathe of colour can be ruined by a blob of hardened paint cutting a channel through the pristine paint.
Often you can solve this issue by leaving the metal part of the knife in water for an hour or two and then wiping away the paint. But for really encrusted paint, even that isn’t always sufficient.
Getting the cleaner to the necessary area was more of a challenge, as the mouth of the bottle is too small to fit a knife and I didn’t want to waste lots of cleaner by decanting more than needed for the job. The knife blade didn’t fit any of the my small containers, and using larger ones would have required too much cleaner.
My eventual idea was to use a pipette to flood the paint-covered area with cleaner. As the encrusted paint had been building up for months (or years?), this time I left the cleaner in place for half an hour.
As you can see this worked well. Much of the encrusted paint was easy to wipe away. I used a cocktail stick to work away the remaining paint from the area where the handle joins the blade.
I didn’t have time to work on it further today, but I’m sure another go would leave the knife in an almost pristine condition. As this is my favourite knife, I’m very glad to see it looking clean again.
I was very impressed by Liquitex Pen Cleaner. It worked well on metal surfaces on both stained and encrusted acrylic paint. I’ve yet to try it in my airbrush, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work equally well.
At around £17 for 150ml it’s not a cheap product, but as I needed very little to get good results it’s actually quite good value for money. It’s currently on offer at just over £11, so even better value.
For those of us that have well-used tools that show more acrylic paint than ideal, this could be a game-changer. I’m very happy to recommend it to you.