By Lynn Holmgren

Makeup brushes are used to apply and even out makeup. Each item of makeup requires a different size and style brush for the perfect application. A collection of brushes can be quite expensive, however, and an unrealistic investment for those on a budget. Many of the materials used to make brushes can be found at craft stores, so homemade makeup tools can be an easy, inexpensive alternative.

Woman applying makeup
credit: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images


Gather all of the materials you need. Use a wooden dowel, plastic rod, or stick for the brush handles. Use hair (synthetic or real), feathers, cotton, foam, and sponges for the brush heads. Purchase these materials at a craft store or recycle items you already have around your home (chopsticks, toothbrush handle, sponges, cotton).

Types of Brushes

Design your brushes with each different type of makeup application in mind. Brushes used for applying eyeshadow should be fairly small. A rounded brush will create a soft effect, while and angled brush can be used for a more dramatic, contrasting effect. The face brush, used to apply powder, should have a large, rounded head for uniform application. The blusher brush should be soft and full, and slightly smaller than the face brush. The concealer brush should have a tapered, flat head. Tightly bound hair or foam would be best. The eyebrow brush and lash separator should resemble a tiny toothbrush or comb, with small, stiff bristles. Using real hair will create the most natural finish for powder, blush and eyeshadow application. Synthetic hair (made of nylon or taklon) will provide heavier coverage, making it more appropriate for cream makeup application.

Preparation and Cleaning

Clean and dry your brush head materials before creating your homemade brushes. Measure and cut the handle and head materials to the desired lengths. Your handles can all be about the same, but the heads will all be different. Use string or thread to bind the loose materials together. Attach to the handle with epoxy, hot glue or Krazy Glue. Wrap the glue-covered areas with aluminum foil, then wire wrapped around the handle and brush hairs. You may also harvest metal from tin cans and metal fuse it together with a soldering iron to secure the head to the handle. After it has dried, trim excess material with scissors. Periodically clean your brushes with a solution of lukewarm water and mild shampoo.