Before discarding your old mascara wand, consider cleaning it and adding it to your collection of art supplies. I’ve found that the bristles of the wand are perfect for creating grasses, spatters and whatever else my imagination comes up with. I even cleaned out the container that held the mascara with soapy water and refilled it with ink. To load the brush with ink, I just swish the brush in and out of the container. With this unique brush, I can add interesting lines and calligraphic marks with ink on my watercolors. Because of its small size, the brush travels and stores easily. Just be sure it doesn’t wind up back in your makeup bag.
Ross Merrill is chief of conservation at the National Gallery of Art.