How to install Gimp brushes

installing gimp brushes

Here is how you install brushes in Gimp, with instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux

Note: It usually does not matter if it’s a Gimp or Photoshop brush you’re going to install, both types should work, because Gimp 2.4 and up can make use of both types of brushes!

Windows | Ubuntu | Mac

Instructions for Windows
Step 1

Download the brush, then place the brush file inside your Gimp brush folder, the brush folder is usually found here:

C:\Documents and Settings\myusername\.gimp-2.6\brushes

If you can’t find that folder, see if it’s here instead:

C:\Users\myusername\.gimp-2.6\brushes

Step 2

Now click on the “Refresh Brushes” button. (On some older versions of Gimp you first have to press Shift+Ctrl+B to open the Brushes Dialog.)

Refresh Brushes

That’s it, now you can select your new brush!

Zipped Brushes
Sometimes when you download file it might not be a brush file, but rather a .zip file, these files needs to be unpacked first. (usually by right-clicking on them and choosing Extract here or Unpack or something similar). Afterwards you can move the unpacked brush into the Gimp brush folder.

Instructions for Ubuntu
Step 1

Download the brush and place it inside your Gimp brush folder.
That folder is found by first opening your Home folder, then press Ctrl-H to see hidden files, find the folder .gimp-2.6/brushes

gimp brush folder on ubuntu

After you have put the brush file inside that folder, you can press Ctrl-H to make the files invisible again.

Step 2

Now click on the “Refresh Brushes” button. (On some older versions of Gimp you first have to press Shift+Ctrl+B to open the Brushes Dialog.)

Refresh brushes

That’s it, now you can select your new brush!

Zipped Brushes
Sometimes when you download a file it might not be a brush file (brush files end with either .abr, .gbr or .vbr), but rather a Zip file (ends with .zip), these Zip files needs to be unpacked first. To do that, right-click on the file and choose Extract here. Afterwards you can move the unpacked brush into the Gimp brush folder.

Instructions for Mac

I must admit, I don’t actually own a Mac, but from what I’ve heard, this is the way to install Gimp brushes on a Mac:

Step 1

Download the brush and place it inside your Gimp brush folder.

To find that folder, in Gimp, go to Edit->Preferences
Click on the little arrow next to Folders, and then click on Brushes.

On the right it should say where the Gimp brush folder is located.

Note:
If there are no folders listed, first create your own folder wherever you like, then inside the Gimp Preferences, add a folder by clicking the “New” button.

(the image below is from Ubuntu, but it should be about the same on Mac)

Gimp preferences brushes

Step 2

After you’ve placed the brush inside the brush folder, click on the “Refresh Brushes” button. (On some older versions of Gimp you first have to press Shift+Ctrl+B to open the Brushes Dialog.)

(the image below is from Ubuntu, but it should be about the same on Mac)

Refresh brushes

That’s it, now you can select your new brush!

If any of our readers who use Mac know a better way or want to help us with screenshots from Mac then please let us know in the comments!


Comments

  1. Steffi

    August 6th, 2010

    why are the brushes i add just black and white?

  2. yay

    August 6th, 2010

    When you paint, the brushes are the same color as the color you choose in Gimp. So if your painting with black, your brush will be black, and if you paint with blue your brush will be blue.

  3. Yogu

    September 13th, 2010

    There is another way, and it’s so simple a path I don’t think screenshots are needed. Note: when installing these brushes, if GIMP is open, you will need to restart it so that the brushes will be installed.

    Install brushes wherever you can find them.
    Like the DESKTOP.
    Click on FINDER
    Go to the HOME icon (looks like a little house)
    Click on LIBRARY
    Click on APPLICATION SUPPORT
    Click on GIMP
    Click on BRUSHES
    Click AND Drag the brushes installed to the list of other brushes in the folder.
    You have more brushes.

  4. Working with Light Leaks & Textures – GIMP « Studio1026

    October 13th, 2010

    [...] Instructions to install brushes for GIMP. [...]

  5. JoOs

    January 27th, 2011

    Oooooh THANK YOU so much! I looked so many tuto and just this one helped me…. Thank youuuu

  6. Lynn

    March 13th, 2011

    I was wondering if there is a way to move brushes around in the panel, once thry are installed? I’m wondering this because a lot of times, brushes that match each other show up randomly throughout the brushes menu. That becomes a pain when you have over 300 brushes… Thanks for the help in advance.

  7. Oswald

    July 16th, 2011

    i have been looking through a number of different sites for the proper tutorial for my current (problem (obviously with me being here, you can tell it has to do with installing GIMP 2.6 brushes…)), and for every one they say “put it in the GIMP folder”, tehy never explain/illustrate that part…i am having a hard time finding the “folder” in which it is directed to be in.

    if it could possibly be illustrated, that would be awesome :D

  8. Oswald

    July 16th, 2011

    COOL BEANS nvm i found it (i thought “documents” at the start button was it, but when i found the C:/ it suddenly made perfect sense!)

    thank you! this has been long-since put off and a great help to a fellow artist– thank you :D

  9. Seki

    August 17th, 2011

    Thanks for this tutorial! :D :D:D

  10. Denisse

    November 25th, 2011

    Wow… It’s that easy!
    I can’t believe I couldn’t figure it out!
    Thanks soo much.!

  11. Bob

    December 17th, 2011

    Awesome!! All of the other tutorials I’ve seen tell you to put the folder where you keep the brushes.. but this one, you don’t have to add any folders to anything!! :D

  12. Sara

    December 18th, 2011

    I don’t have a “.gimp-2.6″-map/file/something-at-all :(
    Someone knows what to do?

  13. Shane

    January 7th, 2012

    Thank you so much! I have a MAC and was able to figure this out because of your help! Thank you!

  14. Grace

    August 2nd, 2012

    Thank you so much! Easy to follow and simple to do ^^

  15. Sandrien

    August 16th, 2012

    IT WORKS! Thank you very much!

  16. Kat

    August 25th, 2012

    I need the basic paint things, like the small brush, medium, and large brush. so the basic one

  17. hazy cygnet

    September 5th, 2012

    smiles wow your amazing you make every thing sooo much more simple i soo love you made me soo happy yay i got new brushes

  18. Dizzy

    October 18th, 2012

    Haha WONDERFUL tutorial. Finally helped me..:) I installed a bunch but had to quit and re-start GIMP before they came on….

  19. Pewp.

    December 7th, 2012

    Somehow I forget how to install brushes every single time. Thanks!

  20. Saoirse

    May 25th, 2013

    Thanks

  21. George Pligor

    July 4th, 2013

    Thank you! These are great. Thank you so much for sharing

  22. Kailuris

    July 6th, 2013

    although I’m late but I wanna to say thank you for this tutorial it’s helpful ^^
    thank you so much :)

  23. i.m.

    October 30th, 2013

    I’m an iMac user and these direction were very simple and easy to follow. The only adj. – after adding the brush folder to the gimp program, I had to close out gimp and relaunch in order for the brushes to appear. Thank You!

  24. Lucia

    December 17th, 2013

    Thank you, it’s help me so much. I’m with mac now for few week and it make me crazy :)

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