How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster? Complete Guide

Oil paintings do not dry in the same manner as watercolors do, which is by water evaporation. So, how to make oil paint dry faster? Read this to learn all you need to know.

Oil paints dry due to oxidation, which occurs when the compounds in the paints are exposed to the atmosphere. Oil paints have a delayed drying period, which is one of the reasons why oil painters paint in layers, with each coat having to dry before the next one is put.

Because oil paints are thick and more difficult to penetrate than acrylic or watercolors, they take longer to dry. Second, the sort of canvas you’re using has an impact on how rapidly your painting dries.

A canvas with a thin weave will let more moisture escape, but a thick one will hold too much moisture in, leading your creation to remain wet for prolonged periods without drying.

How to Dry Oil Paint Fast

What is Oil Paint

Oil painting is a form of painting that is created with oil-based paints. Oil painting entails painting on a canvas with pigments bound together with a medium of drying agent.

Linseed oil, walnut oil, poppy seed oil, and safflower oil are the most frequent types of oil used in oil paintings. The type of oil used in paint affects the qualities of the color and the output of artwork. Various oil paintings may cause greater yellowing or change the drying time.

Oil painting is a centuries-old creative medium. Like graffiti spray art, other paintings will be less than a century old. Oil painting, on the other hand, has been there for millennia. According to research, oil paint was employed as early as the fourth century A.D.

Factors That Affect Oil Paint Drying Times

Watercolors and acrylics are quicker drying paints, as they dry by evaporating. On the contrary, oil paints tend to dry somewhat slower by the oxidation process. The oxidation process is comparable to that of apples or avocados when the meat of the food item turns brown. Oil paints, thankfully, do not become brown, but the oxidation reaction is what gradually dries and hardens oil paintings.

Temperature –  Higher the temperature, quicker the drying time. Initially, temperature affects drying time, with warmer temperatures hastening the drying process and cooler climates slowing it down. Also, if it is humid, the drying time will be slowed since there is lot more moisture in the air. When there is small air or wind, doing the painting outside might aid in drying. Outside, the ideal weather should be dry, bright, and warm.

Pigment Type – various pigments cure at different rates. Cadmiums dry very slowly. Earth pigments are exceptionally fast drying. Hence the composition of certain pigments is denser than others; different color pigments have various drying durations. Earth-toned colors, such as orange and brown, and paints containing iron oxide all dry faster than other paints.

Type of Colors – Colors that dry quickly – Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Raw Umber, Prussian Blue. Titanium White, Cadmiums, Ivory Black, Alizarin Crimson, and Sap Green are examples of slow-drying colors.

Oils in the Paint – The drying time of oil paintings can be modified by the oil used. Linseed oil, for example, dries in around two days, but safflower might take 3 days or longer to dry to touch. Poppyseed oil dries considerably slower than the other alternatives. Linseed is the most used oil since it dries the fastest.  

The medium you use to combine with the paint has a distinct effect on the drying time.

The Thickness of Paint Layers – The thickness of the paint applied determines how long it takes for the paint to dry. A thicker paint coating will take longer to dry than a thinner layer. Some painting methods, such as impasto, require thicker paint layers that might take up to seven days to dry to touch. Using such a wet-on-wet or alla prima approach may yield faster results.

The type of painting surface – The nature of the painting surface you choose can also affect the drying time of the paint. Painting over an absorbent surface allows part of the paint to be soaked, minimizing the drying period. When painting on a less absorbing surface, such as a prepped surface, the paint will take a much longer time to dry.

Painting Environment – Painting in a well-ventilated, dry environment may accelerate drying. Ambient daylight will also be beneficial. Running a fan in your studio or opening the window (if it’s not too humid outside), using a ventilation fan (always a good idea when using solvents), and using a dehumidifier can all help speed up drying. The continual exchange of air aids the chemical alteration.

If you operate a fan that hasn’t been used for a while, ensure to clear any dust off the rotor blades, especially if you have a ceiling fan. You don’t want all that dust floating around and falling into your painting.

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster
How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster

How to Dry Oil Paint Fast?

Several methods can help you with the drying period of paint. However, keep in mind that this curing is only for “touch dry,” and the correct curing time or correct drying time for certain art pieces might take months, if not years. Given below are some methods on how to cure oil paint quickly.

Utilization of Chemical Drying Agents

Adding a little quantity of drying agent into the paint before putting it on the canvas is one of the finest techniques to speed up the drying period of oil paint. You may either combine it with your chosen paints on your palette or use it like water by putting your paintbrush into the container and applying it over your painting work. Chemical drying agents are Damar Varnish, Odorless Mineral Spirits, and Galkyd.

Paint with pigments That Dry Faster

Several color pigments or colors will dry faster than others, all equal. You can utilize these quicker drying colors on your palette because many different color combinations can produce the same outcomes. Toning the canvas with a quick-drying color also can help the subsequent layers dry faster.

Use the “Fat-Over-Lean” Principle in The Application 

Thin your oil paints using drying agents like Liquin or Galkyd or mix a little linseed oil with the paint on your palette. After that, you may employ the “fat over lean” technique to apply the initial coats of paint thinly and gradually increase the thickness or volume of paint with each layer. The initial few coats of paint should have the least quantity of oil compared to other paints.

Using Acrylic Paint as a Base Layer

Painting can include multiple coats of paint, each of which must be allowed to dry before adding the next coat. So, try acrylic paint without using oil paint for the first coat. Acrylic paint may be used to create the foundation for your colors and color depth. It’s simple to use and dries rapidly. This approach adheres to the “fat over lean” principle since it is a thin layer of paint onto which you may construct your future oil paint applications.

Paint On an Absorbent Surface

Many beginner painters are unaware that there are alternative options for canvas and painting surfaces than the universal-primed canvas found in retailers, which results in a delayed drying time for oil paint. Here is a list of a few options which you can use.

How to Determine if the Oil Paint is Dry

Linen Primed with Lead

Lead-primed linen is an excellent choice. Painting on a smooth canvas doubled or tripled primed with lead white is a lovely experience.

The surface will somewhat adhere to wet paint, making it ideal for wet-on-wet painting, but it will not smudge and is non-absorbent, allowing you to remove wet paint cleanly. Although it is non-absorbent, oil paint dries more quickly on lead-primed linen than on universal or standard titanium oil-primed canvas.

Please remember that lead is dangerous, so avoid swallowing it in any form. It is also difficult to obtain and costly due to its toxic nature. There are a few producers, but it may require some digging. Some dealers will claim that their linen is lead-primed when it is not, so make sure to ask before you buy.

Lead white has a susceptibility to yellow with time. So don’t be shocked if you buy any lead-primed linen, and it seems somewhat yellow in comparison to titanium-primed surfaces.

Surfaces Primed with Alkyd

Alkyd absorbs more than titanium/oil-primed or lead-primed surfaces. Paint does not disperse as easily and soaks in more thoroughly, but it dries faster.

Gesso-primed surfaces

Traditional gesso, which is prepared with rabbit skin glue, and acrylic gesso are the two varieties of gesso. Because of its brittle character, traditional gesso is only suitable for firm surfaces such as wood panels. Acrylic gesso is only an acrylic primer, not a genuine gesso. The absorbent surface of adhesive chalk gesso-primed surfaces will help oil paint dry quickly.

Using a Warmer Room with Good Air Circulation 

Wet things do dry faster in a warm climate, including oil paints. You may expedite the drying period of your painting if you turn up the heat. When drying an oil painting, it is natural to keep the windows open to allow air to flow. 

This will cause dust particles and other tiny parts of debris from outside to stick to the painting’s outer layer, and you do not want that to occur. Instead, make sure to keep the windows closed and a fan on a low to medium setting in the room.

To cure your oil painting with a dryer, turn it on, position it several inches away from the surface of the painting, and provide an even quantity of airflow over the painting. This may significantly shorten the drying period of your painting and help it cure much faster than it would otherwise. You can increase the drying process by increasing the heat.

Factors That Affect Oil Paint Drying Times

How to Determine if the Oil Paint is Dry

It might be difficult to tell if an oil painting is completely dried. If you are doubtful, there is a way to test your painting. Remember that something is touched try does not indicate it is dry or cured. You can use a razor blade or your fingernail to check.

Use little pressure to scratch a tiny amount of paint from the surface. If the paint is dry, it must have a powdery consistency. However, if paint comes off in a thread, it shows that it is still wet. 

If it is still moist after a week, repeat the test. You don’t want to harm the paintwork. Make sure to apply the pressure softly.

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster – Conclusion

So, how can you speed up the drying time of an oil painting? You may try a few things, but the best advice is don’t touch it!

The better, the less time your paint is exposed to outside factors like dust and other contaminants. Preventing humidity is also advised since moisture promotes mold growth, which you do not want near your paints.

Learn the finest procedures for painting with oil paints and avoid taking shortcuts. 

This will reduce your need for hacks to speed up everything, and you’ll be making artworks that will survive for decades without any need for premature maintenance.

We hope you learned something new and liked reading “How to make oil paint dry faster.” Feel free to share this article compiled after thorough analysis with anybody you know seeking information on this subject.

References

https://www.britannica.com/art/oil-painting

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/optg/hd_optg.htm

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/httpblogsscientificamericancomsymbiartic20110802the-chemistry-of-oil-painting/

https://www.easy-oil-painting-techniques.org/color-mixing-guide.html