How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

Want to try oil paint on canvas or for your home painting project? Then check out how long it will take to dry and how you could speed up this process!

Oil paint is known for giving you those rich and vivid colors and nice finish. However, except for the strong smell, this sort of paint is known for having quite a long drying time. This is the reason why many artists and home painters prefer using acrylic paint instead since those dry way faster.

However, if you feel confident enough to try oil paints out, you might be asking yourself how to make your oil based paint dry faster. In this article, you are going to learn about this issue, as well as about what actually affects the oil paint drying time.

You will learn how much time it usually takes oil paint to dry completely, and what additional factors may influence the speed of its drying.

So if you are into any home renovation projects or artistic projects that involve painting with oil based paints, we recommend you read on attentively. Today, you can learn a lot of useful information!

How to Make Oil Based Paint Dry Faster?

This is a common question people tend to ask when they decide to try and use oil paints for the very first time. It unexpectedly appears that this sort of paint takes much more time to dry completely!

This can be an especially unpleasant surprise for those who are used to working with more fast-drying paints, such as watercolor (for artistic purposes) or acrylics (for both artistic and interior or exterior paint projects).

So how to make oil paint dry faster after painting, you may be wondering?

Well, to answer this question correctly, you will first need to learn what can affect the drying time of oil paints at all. So, here are the major factors that influence the oil paint drying time:

  • Temperature. The rule is simple here: the warmer the temperature the faster the drying time, and vice versa.
  • Pigment. Different pigments dry at different speeds. For instance, cadmiums dry extremely slowly! Earth pigments, on the contrary, dry extremely quickly.
    • Colors that dry faster than others are Burnt Umbre, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue.
    • Colors that dry much slower are Cadmiums, Titanium White, Ivory Black, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green.
  • Medium. Different medium you use to mix with the paint affects the drying time as well and affects it differently.

So, being based on this information, when trying to figure out how to speed up the drying time of your oil based paint, take a few factors into consideration. They will help you to avoid days of waiting until your painted object dries to the touch.

How to Make Oil Based Paint Dry Faster
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Taelynn Christopher, via Unsplash.com

Be Selective When Choosing the Type Of Pigment That You Will Be Using

To make your oil based paint dry faster, make sure that you use quick drying mediums before slow drying. This is probably the most important deciding factor that will determine how fast or slow you can complete your painting.

Lower layers of paint should always have more thinner and less oil medium while upper layers should have more oil and less thinner. This allows the bottom layers to dry before subsequent layers.

Also, you should mix in a quick-drying with slow-drying pigment.

For instance, if you are using ivory black, which dries slowly as we already know, mix in some burnt umber or burnt sienna, which will not alter the color much.

This will speed up the drying time of your black without having to add oil medium to the pigment.

Be Selective When Choosing the Type Of Pigment That You Will Be Using
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Related: How Long to Let Wood Dry Before Painting?

Choose the Right Oil Medium

Linseed oil, Galkyd, Walnut Alkyd Medium, and Liquin (or any oil mediums that indicate fast on the label) when mixed with oil paint will speed up the drying time. Using a quick drying medium can dry your paint overnight.

Also, using a Thinner (Turpentine or Odorless Mineral Spirit) in your first couple of layers of paint will dry fast and allow the subsequent layers of paint to bind on it better.

However, you should always keep in mind that safflower oil yields moderate drying time, and poppyseed oil yields the slowest drying time!

How to make oil paint dry fasterHow to make oil paint dry faster

Related: How Long Should Paint Dry Before Taping?

Allow Your Oil Paint to Dry In the Right Temperature

When working with oil based paints, you should increase the temperature of the environment which the paint is drying in. For instance, if you are painting with oil paints on canvas, you could place your painting in a cardboard box.

It would keep the painting away from debris and dust that could stick to it. And then you could just place that cardboard box in a warm environment.

For example, you could keep your painting in a car trunk if it is not too hot outside. Also, you could try to leave it on top of a fridge where it is warm because of the working engine.

Leaving your oil painting in front of a heater, a heat dish, or a fireplace is also quite a good idea. Only make sure that it is not burning hot there!

Allow Your Oil Paint to Dry In the Right Temperature
Credits: Joel Filipe, via Unsplash.com

However, even though leaving oil paintings in a warm place is ok, you should always keep in mind that oil paints must never be left in direct sunlight!

As an alternative drying option, you could learn how to make oil house paint dry faster with the help of your hair dryer.

When using this option, simply blow at the back of the canvas (not the front since it can overheat and crack the paint, and dust can also stick), so the bottom layers will dry before the top layers and prevent dust and debris from sticking on.

It can also help with speeding up the drying time of your oil paint if you lower the level of humidity in the room where the paint is drying. You can use a dehumidifier as an option, or simply take the painting to the top floor instead of leaving it in the basement where the humidity is much higher.

Also, do your best to keep the painted object as far away from the areas with high humidity as possible (those include bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen, and basement).

Like this, you will be able to dry your painted object or canvas much faster if you make use of these simple yet very effective suggestions.

However, if you think that this is all that one needs to know about drying oil based paints, you are wrong! We would like to introduce you to a few more recommendations that you may find helpful.

Allow Your Oil Paint to Dry In the Right Temperature (2)
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Related: How Long Does It Take For Behr Paint to Dry?

What Else Can Be Done to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

Except for the tips we have provided you with above, there are a few more that can help you to dry your oil painting or a painted object faster.

For example, you could try and prime the canvas with gesso or matte medium to allow the paint to bind effectively to the surface.

Another way to make oil paint dry more quickly is to paint your underpainting in acrylic paint. As you know, acrylic paint dries very fast and it can be painted on similar surfaces as oil paint.

In comparison, with watercolor, you would have to paint on paper, and bind it with a gel matte, before adding oil paint.

As for the acrylics, you can paint oil paint directly on top of dried acrylic paint, so this is a great option if there is large coverage of similar tones and values in the underpainting!

Finally, you could try and paint on wood. One of the pros of painting on wood is that the paint tends to absorb into the wood more than it would on canvas. And the paint tends to dry faster and appear thinner on wood.

What Else Can Be Done to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster
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How to Dry Oil Paint Faster On Wood

Well, basically, there is no need to do anything to make oil paint dry faster on wood simply because it is wood. See, this material absorbs the paint faster than the majority of other materials which helps to achieve thinner layers overall.

Besides, wood also gets well with a traditional gesso primer.

And that type of primer is specifically designed for hard surfaces (just like wood!) since on canvas and other soft surfaces, it would most likely crack because it dries to a brittle coat.

How to Dry Oil Paint Faster On Wood
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Jené Stephaniuk, via Unsplash.com

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster On Plastic

Oil paint will dry on plastic faster using all the same methods as other surfaces like canvas, but a good primer is the best way to help it. This is because plastic doesn’t absorb the paint well, whereas a primer does, speeding up the drying process.

Depending on whether the plastic is meant to be outdoors or indoors, it can matter what finish you use on the paint.

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster On Plastic
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How Do I Make Oil Paint Dry Faster On Metal?

First of all, depending on the reason for painting on metal, distinct oil painting techniques will be used.

For example, if the metal object is going to be outdoors, it is mandatory to protect the layer of paint from cracking and chipping using a good finish, and it will fade away in the sun over time.

As for making oil paint dry quicker when being applied on metal, using a primer is the best solution since metal is non-absorbent.

The primer, when applied onto metal, gives the proper surface for the oil paint to absorb and speeds up the process of drying.

How Do I Make Oil Paint Dry Faster On Metal
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Is It OK to Put Oil Painting Into the Oven to Make It Dry Faster?

You might be surprised, but this is quite a common question! And you will surely be even more surprised when we say that yes, actually, oil paintings can be put into the oven to dry them faster!

Of course, if you decide to make use of this unusual drying method, you must be very careful with the temperature keeping it lower than 200 degrees Fahrenheit!

Otherwise, you will simply burn the canvas which can become a fire hazard! Except for this nuance, the drying procedure is pretty simple, but you still need to keep a few tips in mind before you start:

  • Start with drying paint naturally for a couple of hours.
  • Never allow your oven to heat up more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • Do not use this drying technique with pressure-treated wood.
  • Dry your oil painting in the oven for ten minutes.
  • If the canvas is not completely dry after coming out of the oven, it’s better to let the painting dry naturally.

However, even though this method is pretty effective, it does have one huge downside.

That’s the smell. See, oil paint is rather smelly, and after drying oil painting using this method, be ready that your oven will smell not the best way for quite a while!

Those fumes are not toxic, but still, you should not use the oven for cooking until the smell disappears!

We suggest you leave the oven and the windows in the kitchen open for a few hours. That should solve the problem.

Is It OK to Put Oil Painting Into the Oven to Make It Dry Faster
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How Much Time Does It Take Oil Paint to Dry?

Oil paint is known for being a long-time drying stuff. This is why artists who have just begun their creative artistic path often prefer using more fast-drying alternatives, such as acrylics or watercolor.

However, if you feel interested in using oil paints, you might be wondering how long they might need to dry completely. And it makes sense since you need to know how soon you will be able to adjust your painting or fix something on canvas if you need to.

So when it comes to oil paints, drying times will vary depending on different brands. Drying time is also very much dependent on the type of oil-based paint being used.

But in general, between the usage on your palette and canvas, oil-based paints can require as long as eight hours before they begin to set!

Moreover, you must leave the oil-based paint for up to twenty-four hours in order to allow the surface to be completely dry to the touch. Once more, keep in mind that the time your oil paint takes to dry does vary, as it is affected by how thick and layered its application is.

How Much Time Does It Take Oil Paint to Dry
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Additional Factors That May Influence the Drying Time Of Oil Paint

So, as you can see already, there are a number of factors that can influence the drying time of oil paints. So if one of the approaches we shared with you above is not working, it could be due to other nuances.

For example: let’s say you are painting on an absorbent surface but the paint is taking endless amounts of time to dry. It may be that the paint is a pigment that normally takes longer to dry such as cadmium.

And if that cadmium is made with safflower oil, it will take even longer.

Other factors that can affect drying time of your oil paint are the brand of the paint that is being used. One brand of cobalt blue may dry faster than another brand, especially if the one brand has a lot of additives.

Additional Factors That May Influence the Drying Time Of Oil Paint
Credits: Pawel Czerwinski, via Unsplash.com

We recommend you pay attention to that nuance when choosing the paint, especially if you are concerned about the drying time!

You also need to consider the age of the paint. If a particular tube of paint has been stored for years and it was not sealed airtight, it will probably dry faster since the oxidation process has begun. It may also be very stiff.

So, with all this information in mind, you will now be able to easily figure out how soon your oil based paint will dry after being applied. Like this, you will avoid tons of problems that the majority of home artists face when working with oil paints!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can oil paint be applied on any type of wood?

Yes.

⭐ Will oil paint dry faster in a cold environment?

No, it won’t. Oil paint dries faster in a warm environment.

⭐ Is it enough for my oil painting to dry if I leave it overnight?

Yes, that’s absolutely fine.

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