How long does it take for oil paints to dry?

Did you ever feel frustrated when your oil paint took a really time to dry? Worry no more, we have some useful pro-tips just for you!

Oil paints are made from natural oils such as linseed or synthetic oil, alkyd. These characteristics of oil paint make it more durable compared to other types of paint. However, oil paints have their own disadvantages. It takes a really long time to let an oil paint dry. In this article, we are going to let you in for some useful pro-tips about oil paints.

How long does it take for oil paints to dry?
How long does it take for oil paints to dry?

How Long Does An Oil Paint Dry Completely?

Drying times vary on the brands and types of oil paints you are using. If you use oil paint in your painting, generally, it takes eight approximately hours before it will completely dry on the surface. You must leave an oil paint for up to 24 hours just to make sure that it is dry to the touch and completely set to be a successful work. Just a reminder, the dryness of your oil paint will vary. It depends on how thick your application is and on what surface did you paint it. So, how long does an oil paint completely dry? The answer is, it depends.

Factors That Affect An Oil Paint To Dry

Oil paint does not have a fixed drying time. There is no definite number of hours and minutes. Well, you may ask, why so? To answer your question, there are many factors that affect the dryness of oil paint. In the following points, we are going to let you in on some of the factors that affect an oil paint’s dryness. How long does it take for oil paints to dry?

Color Pigments

The first factor is the color of the oil paint. The dryness of an oil paint depends on the color of the paint along the spectrum. Some color pigments of oil paint are heavier and lighter than other colors. The heavier the color pigment is, the longer it is for oil paint to dry. While, the lighter the color of oil paint is, the faster it is to dry.

Here are some of the fast-drying colors of oil paint:

  • Burnt umber
  • Raw sienna
  • Burnt sienna’
  • Earth-tone colors (e.g. brown and orange)
  • Here are some of the slow drying colors of oil paint:
  • Blacks
  • Sap green
  • Crimson and most red colors
  • Any cadmium colors (cadmium yellow, red, orange, etc.)

If you are doing an art project or home decoration and time is of the essence, remember this rule. Just a rule of thumb: avoid using heavy black, white, or yellow shades in your oil paints.

Choosing A Brand

Every oil paint brand out there will surely affect the paint’s quality. There are other brands for beginners, offering lower-quality of oil paint. the drying time of oil paints will also vary. A pro-tip: do your research. Before purchasing an oil paint, do some research on the brand of oil paint that you want to buy. Read some reviews and feedbacks from other people who have tried the product. Customer feedback will most likely allow you to have an informed choice before purchasing that oil paint. Also, there will be endorsements and ads everywhere. Be wary and critical of that. Make it a habit to do your background check for each particular brand of oil paints. You must consider an oil paint’s drying time before buying that product from a specific brand.

Environmental Factors

Choosing an oil-based paint medium requires your surrounding working environment. Temperature, humidity, moisture, and dust directly affect the drying time of your oil paint. So, how long does oil paint dry? Another rule of thumb: work in a cold environment. Oil-based paint is affected by temperature. As a result, cold weather conditions work better in oil paints compared to humid and hot weather conditions. If you want to have better results in using oil paints, work in a cold environment! A fun fact: some artists store their oil paints in the freezer. Why so? Oil paints have a low freezing temperature which is 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28 degrees Celsius).

Pro-Tips to Make an Oil Paint Dry Faster at Home

We have narrowed down some of the useful hacks you can try at home when working with oil-based paint. The following points will be helpful to lessen the drying time of oil paint and will save you the time of waiting.

Work in an area with open space that allows for direct airflow and natural sunlight. This is a simple drying hack you can try at home when working with oil paints. Try to open your windows to let the natural air come through. If you have a terrace or a patio, you can transform it into your working area while working with oil paints. If you ran out with some of the options, you can use your fan or dehumidifier to increase the oil paint’s drying time. I assure you, it will come in handy in the process.

A general rule of thumb: oil paint dries faster in a warmer environment. The temperature has a direct influence on the drying time of oil paint. Warmer conditions allow for a faster drying time. But, remember, avoid direct sunlight as it may damage your oil paints. An ideal temperature while working with oil paint is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

Apply a layer of primer or gesso before applying your oil paint. In this way, your canvas will have a porous surface that will allow you to layer your oil paint. You can now easily build the color and texture that you want in your oil paint. Also, it allows for a faster drying time.

Decided on what color and shades you wanted to use in your oil paints. Just a reminder, oil paints with earth tones will dry faster compared to other shades of colors. In this way, you save yourself less time for your oil paints to dry.

Apply your oil paint in thin layers. Another technique that you can use is to lightly layer your oil paint. Thickly laden oil paint will take a longer time to dry on the surface. So, remember that apply thin layers means a faster drying time while applying thick layers means a longer drying time.

Like baking, use heat as your friend. Hot and humid conditions will dry your oil paints faster. When baking you use an oven, while in using oil paints, you can use heat guns. Use heat guns with care as they can damage your work with oil paints. It is most effective to hold the heat gun from a distance and not get it too close to the surface of an oil painting. Save yourself the time and effort to redo your work.

Use a paint thinner. If you want, you can use an odorless solvent in your oil painting. You should thin the paint using the solvent so that it comes out with a water-like consistency when you will work with oil paints. This consistency is what you need to dry your oil paint at a faster rate.

Embrace the drying time of using oil paint. If you opt to use oil paint, keep in mind that there will be varying drying rates. This means that there can be two options: slow or fast drying time. Make sure that you are willing to dedicate your time when using oil paint. Just embrace the process, because, in fact, you cannot avoid it.

Check If Your Oil Paint is Completely Dry

How can you make sure that your oil paint is completely dry? Well, we got a pro tip just for you. If you wanted to check if your oil pain is totally dry without causing any harm or damage to your work, just slide your finger or nail across the small area of your oil painting. Remember: you can only do this once 18 hours have passed since you work with oil paints. Make sure that you slide your fingers or nails gently. Don’t get too overexcited or rush the process. In the end, you want your oil painting to completely dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

This time, we are going to review the pro tips we have covered so far in this article. Just to go back to the question, how long does it take for oil paint to dry? Well, it completely depends.

These are some of the factors that affect the drying time of your oil paint:

  • Oil paint’s viscosity
  • Thin or thick layers you apply
  • Brands you choose
  • Environmental factors
  • Colors and shades you use

These are some of the pro tips that you can use to speed up the drying rate of your oil paint:

  • Oil mediums for drying (alkyd medium and solvents)
  • Home hacks
  • Natural lighting
  • Open space
  • Use acrylics as a base
  • Go in warmer places of your house
  • Allow for decent airflow
  • Embrace the process

Using oil paint requires effort and patience. There will be varying drying times when it comes to oil painting. When you want to work with oil paint at home, we have provided you with simple pro tips and hacks that you can surely try at the comforts of your home. Using oil paints will also test your patience. If you want to come up with better results, all you got to do is embrace the process. In the end, how long does it really take for oil paints to dry? Well, as we have said, it depends! Enjoy the process and use our tips!

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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