The Drying Time of Oil Paint 

Why Does Oil Paint Take Long to Dry?

Properties of Oil Paint

It is made up of natural oil and pigments (usually non-toxic). These pigments are made from either synthetic solids or naturally occurring minerals or other organic substances.

Drying Process

Oil paint dries through a chemical process called oxidation, when the wet paint comes into contact with oxygen it reacts and hardens.

How Long Is Long?

Oil paint can take anywhere between one day to a few weeks or months or even years to dry. Many factors influence drying time, like climate, wind, brand, and age.

Telling If It Is Dry

An effective way to check if your paint has completely dried is to use a razor blade. Simply hold the blade flat against the painting surface.

Embrace the Wait

There are many things you can do, not only to keep you busy but to keep you productive while you wait out the drying process, like starting another painting!

How to Speed Up the Drying Process

Ensure Good Ventilation

This can be in a shady spot outdoors or indoors with open windows. If it is humid outside, have your windows closed and make use of a strong fan and a dehumidifier if need be.

Use Fast Drying Colors

Using faster drying colors for your initial layer(s) of paint is an effective way to assist in the drying process of subsequent layers.

Use Linseed Based Paint

Linseed is the fastest drying of all the oils used in oil paint. So to help increase the drying time of your painting, stick with oil paints made with linseed oil.

Use Acrylic for Initial Layers

Using acrylic paint will not necessarily speed up the drying time of your oil paint but it will speed up the painting process as a whole.

Use Alkyd Paint

Alkyd paint is oil paint that is made from a fast-drying oil and therefore takes about a day to dry. You can use alkyds as an alternative medium to traditional oils.

Use an Absorbent Surface

An absorbent surface will always aid the drying process. A good canvas will do the trick for this. 

Use a Chemical Agent

This is another good way to help your oil paint to dry quicker. You can use a drying agent by adding a little to your oil paint mixture before painting it on your canvas. 

Apply Thinner Layers

The thicker the paint, the slower it takes to dry. Applying your paint in thinner layers is therefore another great way to reduce drying times.