How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster after Painting? Most of the artist’s always trying different methods to drying their oil paintings. But sometimes few methods work and sometimes not?

In this post, we are answering all the questions of those artists, who don’t have enough patience to wait for it. They keep trying different things to speed up the drying process of oil paintings.

Also, we will discuss different things like – Colors that dry fast & slow, Common mistakes while painting, selecting the right oil medium & right temperature, etc…


How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

So, first, we discuss the ways to make oil paints dry faster: Here are few things you can do to make your oil paints dry faster.

1. Location – Need Well Ventilated Area

First, we understand – How do oil paints dry? The oil paints dry through the process of oxidation. This means the oil paints start drying up with little moisture in the air as well as a constantly moving stream of dry air.

So, What should you do? You need to try painting in a dry, well-ventilated area, Exposure to natural light. If you are painting in a room or in-studio make sure there is proper ventilation in your painting area, all your windows are open, the ventilation fan is properly working & it is good if some sunlight comes on your painting.

Oil painting + O2 —-> Heat + Dried Painting

How-do-oil-paints-dry (1)

Because oil paint undergoes a chemical reaction that causes the oil to harden. It doesn’t dry as does acrylic paint when the water evaporates from the pigment.


2. Use Thin Layers of Oil Paints ( Thick Over Thin/Fat Over Lean Principle ):

Use Thin Layers of Oil Paints

This is the most important aspect of drying oil paints fast which newbies are mostly unaware of it.

It is best to use as little oil paint as possible and dry oil paint quickly using individual strokes. As with all oil painting techniques, you will need to dry the paint. However, the lighter and thinner layers of oil paint are, the faster they will dry.

Drying paint that is thicker takes longer. Oil paint dries through an oxidation process that changes the paint’s chemical composition when exposed to oxygen. Because the entire paint mass is not evenly exposed, the process will take longer if the paint is thicker.

There are many ways to thin oil paint. While solvents are the most common method of thinning oil paint, you can also use oils and dryers, as well as thin paint application. Remember that oil will prolong the drying time of paint, not shorten it.


A. It is possible to thin paint using a bristle brush?

Yes, you can also thin the paint by just scrubbing it aggressively onto the canvas with a bristle brush without using any thinners (AKA tube consistency).


B. What to do?

Painting with thin layers requires that the first layer be the thinnest, and have the lowest oil content. If you want your painting to not crack, ghost, or produce dull spots, Use – “Thick Over Thin/Fat Over Lean Principle”.

For painting layers, I will start with a thin layer of paint and maybe a little Gamsol Odorless mineral spiritsss. Tube-consistent paint can be used to add slightly thicker layers, while the last layer is left for the most difficult.

This method is great because the first layer of paint will dry faster than the other layers. It is often the first layer that takes the longest to dry.

This allows you to tone your canvas by using Transparent Red Oxide or a warmer earth tone. Once it is dry, you can start painting. You can dry your paint layers in a matter of days if you use thin layers. Other variables, which we will discuss later, may affect how quickly they dry. Be sure to adhere to the thick over thin/fat above lean principle.


3. Choose The Paints with Faster Drying Pigments

Choose The Paints with Faster Drying Pigments

You must know which pigments or colors will dry fast or which takes much time. In many experiments and case studies, it is found that due to pigments some certain colors dry much faster than Cadmium colors (red, yellow, green, etc). 

Below is the table of colors which dry fast and which dry slow:

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Fast-drying Colors:Slow-drying Colors:
Raw and Burnt SiennaCadmium Colors:  red, yellow, green, etc.
Burnt and Raw UmberBlack Colors:  lamp, carbon, charcoal, and ivory
Prussian BlueVandyke brown
Cobalt Colors: Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Yellow, and Genuine AureolinVermilion
Manganese Colors: Manganese violet, Manganese Blue and Manganese BlackAlizarin Crimson
Lead including Colors: Lead White, Chemnitz White, Flake WhiteZinc White
Chrome Yellow and Red—-
Naples Yellow—-


You must know which pigments or colors will dry fast or which takes much time. So, you are able to choose those colors which dry fast.


4. Use Dryers

To decrease the time drying of your painting you should use chemical drying agents. If you mix drying agents like Liquin or Galkyd with your paints, they will bind with the paint and dry significantly faster on the canvas.

Chemical drying agents such as Galkyd, made by Gamblin, or Liquin, made by Windsor & Newton is a great way to speed up the drying of subsequent layers of paint. Notice I said subsequent because these products and others like them have a petroleum distillates base which acts like oil and therefore must follow the fat over lean principle described above.

Dryers are used by adding a small amount into your paint mixtures prior to applying them onto the canvas. Thin layers of paint can start becoming tacky within an hour, while thick strokes of paint may still take one to several days to dry.


5. Using Absorbent Canvas

Different types of surfaces have different absorbing times which dries your oil paints accordingly. There are a number of surfaces you can use to apply oil paints, from wood to plaster to assorted canvas-based products.

If you want to dry your oil paint faster then you can use primed canvas. Using these primed canvases you will find that most of the paint will dry faster during the painting. This will reduce your painting time.


Tips on How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster after Painting?

When you fill the brush with linseed oil then it takes time to get dry. Because linseed oil will not dry fast and this is the property of oil painting that we can take time on mixing the color. But if you take linseed oil in high amounts it takes more time to dry, and you will need more time to add your next layer.

On the other hand, if you only touch the brush on linseed oil, then your work is done. I mean, you can easily flow the color and your linseed oil will dry fast and you would be able to add your next layer in minimum time.

The most important thing in oil painting is that we work in layers in oil painting. In this, we create the first layer and let them dry, after drying the first layer will create the second layer, and so on. It depends on your need how many layers you need.

In this post, we will let you know why your oil painting is not drying fast? And, How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster? 

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster? 

In this, we will take an example, on which first we take only colors after that will take Linseed + Turpentine, in the third we take only Turpentine, at the end we take Liquin. So let’s start what happens:

1. Only Colors

Only color

When we take color directly without mixing anything, It is something different for you. If you are addicted to using watercolor. It’s suitable for small places to paint. When we are doing portraits, or using color in the face then this technique is very much useful.

When we use the first layer thick it takes time for drying but further coming layers will be done smoothly, this is the advantage for this technique.

It’s a time taking but good method.


2. Linseed + Turpentine

Linseed + Turpentine

In this method, we take a small amount of Linseed and a bit less Turpentine than Linseed. Make sure to take distilled Turpentine, and add both of them. Take any color and just touch your brush to the mixture of Linseed + Turpentine.

Note: Here is a point to be noticed that only take a bit of touch to the mixture otherwise if you dripped your brush in this mixture your painting will take much more time to dry.

Now You can do the first layer of your painting. This method is suitable for filling the background area with color.


3. Turpentine


In the third box, we will only use Turpentine. You can use only turpentine when it’s required or you have to fill the very big area with color. This trick is used when a big area is being filled but it’s not more important.

For example, in the above painting, these grey stones were filled by this method, first, we paint on canvas after that came on the second layer.


4. Liquin


Now we show you the same thing with the help of Liquin. Liquin is in the form of a gel. When you see Liquin it’s like a gel and when you use it, it converts into liquid. You can use it in a small amount because it converts into liquid.

Always be in mind that in oil coloring the quantity of color is more than additives.


After Drying 1 Day:

When we check the first one, there is some stickiness and colors are removing in small amounts. As same in the second on which we use Linseed + Turpentine, there is also some stickiness and some colors are removing. Which is a good symbol.

In the case of Turpentine, colors are removing less as compared to both previous there is having a little bit of stickiness. And at last, in the case of Liquin, our painting area is dried, because Liquin dried very fast.

So, a small amount of stickiness is important for your second layer of coloring. You may also read more good stuff like this –

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