How Long Does Oil Painting Take to Dry? Expert answer

Oil-based paints are notorious because they take an incredibly long time to dry, so every painter are just banging their head into the wall with How Long Does Oil Painting Take to Dry? Compared to other paint types, such as acrylics and watercolors, it takes much longer for this newly painted wall to set completely. Of course, these paints are more durable than their water-based counterparts, thanks to the foundation ingredients they contain.

Oil-based paints contain a natural oil, such as linseed, making them non-toxic and easy to clean up. They’re also durable, but they don’t last as long as waterproof paint. We will cover oil paint drying time and explain why it takes so long for oil paints to dry. Then we will provide some valuable tips to help speed up the drying process.

How Long Does Oil Paint Take to Dry?

Different brands of paint may take longer to dry than others. It depends on the type of paint being used. Oil-based paint can take up to eight hours to dry. You must wait at least 24 hours after applying the oil-based paint before using it. Once again, remember that the length of time your oil paint takes to dry depends on how thick and layered its applications are.

How Long Does Oil Paint Take to Dry Completely

Few reason that affecting oil paint drying times.

Color Pigments

Oils may take different amounts of time to dry, depending on their color. Certain paints contain heavy pigments, which result in longer drying times. If you can apply a certain degree of consistency to the paint without over-saturat­ing the surface, you can estimate that the paint will take approximately 24 hours to dry thoroughly.

Earth-toned colors such as browns, reddish-browns, orangey-reds, and any paint containing iron oxide will usually dry faster than others. Formulating your brand with lead or cobalt will help decrease the drying time for oil paints. If working with limited time, you should avoid using dark colors like black, white, or even bright yellows.

Choosing Your Brand

Choosing which brand of paint to use will certainly affect the quality of the finished product. Some brands are aimed primarily at beginners who want an inexpensive range of paint for their first project.

So, it’s essential to thoroughly research the different product lines available, paying particular attention to their ratings and review scores. Doing so will help you choose the best one for you. We want to know whether people think our product is better than similar products elsewhere.

All these paints are manufactured using oil, but the type depends on the formulation and manufacturing process. Make sure you know which oil medium each brand uses because this affects how long it takes for your paints to dry.

Painting Techniques

Another factor affecting the drying time is the techniques and styles you choose when painting. Some techniques require heavy brush strokes, starkly contrasting color schemes, and deep textures. Once you’ve implemented a technique like frescos or impastos, it may take up to a week for the results to be fully set. Each layer must dry appropriately before the next one can be applied.

Using a brisk technique like Valhalla prima will quickly produce results. This “wipe-off-wipe-off” style involves constantly wiping off previous layers of paint before adding new ones.

Environmental Factors

When choosing a painting medium, consider the surrounding work environment. All these factors — direct sunlight, humidity, moisture, and dust — affect the environment and the fragile procedure of using oils in their way.

Cold weather makes oil-based paints perform better than they would at warmer temperatures. Cold weather generally produces better results than hot or humid weather. However, if you’re working in cold conditions, you should wear layers, so you don’t get too warm.

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Sometimes artists use the freezer to store their paints when they are not in use. Oil paints are usually made from mineral oils, with a low freezing point of -28 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).


If you want to keep your paints from drying out, store them in the freezer at home. It won’t solve the problem of storing paint for an extended period, but it’s enough to prevent wasting any paint if it isn’t in its tube.

It allows you to keep working seamlessly for the next few days because the oil paints are stored at a constant temperature. You can ensure the paint is still usable by ensuring there isn’t any wastage in the painting process.

Once the painting has been completed and you have given it at least seven days of drying time, you may not be ready to frame it yet. Oil-based paints take a long time to dry, so they’re not suitable for framing until at least six months after completion.

Using a premature fixative or a frame could damage or smear your painting. If you want to keep your painting on display, it’s best to hang it on the wall. This will ensure it’s safe and protected until the application of var­nish or framing.


Now we know why it takes so long for oil-based paints to dry. Let us now look at some ways to improve on this process.


What Factors Affect Oil Paint’s Drying Time?



  • Thickness of painting
  • Oil type
  • Place of painting

What Factors Affect Oil Paint's Drying Time

There are lots of things that affect the drying time of your oil paints.

Thickness of painting

When painting, you need thin layers so they dry completely. A thin layer of paint dries much faster than a thicker layer. If you want to create a painting that looks like it has been painted by someone else, you may need to wait days and possibly weeks for your paint to dry.

Oil type

The oil you use when the painting affects how quickly it dries. When you’re painting, always check the label on your paints to see what oil they contain, and then add a medium according to the instructions on the label. Adding a medium will speed up the drying time for the oil paint, making it look more beautiful.

Place of painting

Surface selection – The type of canvas one uses can significantly impact the oil drying time. As you get better at painting, you may want to start using expensive canvases and paper. However, using these cheap materials may increase your drying time. Spending a bit more money on high-quality paints and canvases can help speed things along when trying to dry your oils.

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster

By adding different oil-based paint media, it is possible to speed up or slow down the drying time. These products, when combined with your oil-based paint, will affect your paint’s fluidity, consistency, and drying times. Artists often use oils together with solvents. Each has specific functional properties, allowing them to be used together with oils. Let’s take a look at the different types of oils available.

Oil-Based way

Oil-based mediums include paint made from safflower, poppy seed, linseed, and walnut oil. Natural mediums carry fewer health risks than synthetic ones but don’t have any toxic odors.

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Mediums are useful for techniques that require a lot of glossy or heavy strokes and texture. If you use one oil type, you can use either speed things up or slow them down by adding these mediums to your paints.

Using these media to clean and maintain your brush excels cleaning and maintaining them. The oils penetrate and soften the bristles, making them flexible and free of paint so that they can be used for painting.

 Solvents and Thinners are effective

Using a thinner or solvent will speed up the drying time because they make the paint thinner. Techniques such as underpainting or creating washes are easy to achieve using solvents. Oil-based paints can be diluted and also washed out.

Thinners and solvents are helpful for cleaning brushes, but they’re not always necessary. These chemicals effectively remove paint from brushes and clean up any surface spills or paint stains. However, as it may damage the bristles and spoil them, it is not advisable to leave brushes soaking in these chemicals for long periods.


Using Toxin-Free Solvent 

These natural products are safe for use without any toxic chemical agents. They can be used just like any chemical solvent. For example, a citrus-based medium, such as lemon juice contains high citric acid and water levels. Citrus fruits contain an extremely acidic substance that cleans oil from brushes and other surfaces. Spike Lavender Oil has been used to clean oil from brushes and other surfaces. It’s a suitable medium for meditation and has a calming scent too.


Using Alkyd-Based Mediums

Oil paints must be thinned with solvents to slow drying time. Alkyds are usually used for oil paintings because they’re thinner than watercolors. Fast-acting resins help the paint set and harden in just a few hours.

There are two types of mediums available: Liquin is a lower viscosity medium and easier to work with; Gel Medium is a transparent medium that makes it easy for the paint to flow well.


Applying Primer Layers

Before painting begins, use these paints to prepare your canvas or other chosen surface. A primer offers a porous surface for the efficient adhesion of your oil paints, which increases the coverage and overall longevity of the canvas. Acrylic Gesso is an excellent choice for working with oil paints! To get the most out of your application, use up to three coats and allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next coat.


Oil Mediums for Drying Oil Paint

When choosing between different oils for painting, drying times are an essential consideration. Here’s a quick summary of the most common types of oils:

  • Oils that take the longest to dry include poppyseed, almond, and coconut oil. It provides a smoother surface for your brush strokes and paints application, allowing you to extend the actual painting time.
  • Walnut and saFFlower oils every slow and do not improve the speed at which they dry. These two oils are thick and dense, similar to poppy seed oil.
  • Alkyd medium, chemical solvents, and linseed oil are well suited to reduce drying time. You can use these mediums to thin your paints so that they’re easier to apply evenly while significantly shortening the drying time.

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster

How to Make Oil Paint Dry Faster at Home

Apart from using chemical and oil paint mediums, these points should help improve the time it takes for oil paints to dry.

  • If you want to speed up the drying process, allowing your completed painting to dry naturally in an area with good airflow and natural light is a simple solution. You could also use a fan to increase air circulation or a dehumidifier if you have one.
  • If you’re painting outdoors, keep the temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C), so your oil paints dry faster.
  • Before you start painting, apply a layer of primer to the canvas. This will provide a porous surface layer to ensure the paint’s adequate adhesion. You can usually get pre-primed canvases in various sizes from most art supply stores.
  • If you use acrylic paints for your underpainting or base-coat application, you may want to consider using them instead of oils. Acrylics dry faster than oils so that you can add layers of paint quickly.
  • Remember that the colors you’re using will affect how fast they dry. Paints containing mineral pigments will dry faster than paints containing earth tones.
  • When applying paint, add each layer carefully and lightly so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly. If a heavily laden canvas appears dry on the surface, it will still need to be allowed to dry for several days before painting. Oils dry slowly from the top down, which means that the first layers can stay wet for several weeks or months longer than the lower layers.
  • A heat gun can be used to speed up the drying process when time is limited. Heat application is similar to baking and can help dry your painting faster. Heat guns are powerful tools, but they must be used carefully. They can easily damage the surface of the painting, causing cracks and yellowed areas as a result. It would help if you held the heat gun at least six inches from the canvas, and the temperature should not exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After completing your painting, allow it to dry for at least six months before beginning varnishing or framing. Doing so will ensure that your painting is thoroughly dried and ready to be finished.
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If you’re not sure whether your oil painting is dry enough, check it by touching

Using a paper towel, you can check if your oil painting is arid. Once 18 hours have passed, carefully slide your finger across a small area of a piece of paper. If there is any powder or fine dust visible when you’re done, the layers have dried sufficiently for them to resume working. Make sure you do this carefully so as not to damage your painting.

How Long Does Oil Painting Take to Dry: FAQ


How Long Does Oil Paint Take to Dry?

Acrylic paint dries faster than oil-based paints. It depends on the viscosity of the paint, the number of layers applied, and which type of paint you have used. Usually, a canvas needs at least 24 hours to settle before it can be used.

When Can the Canvas Be Framed?

Oil paintings don’t dry like other paints because they consist of multiple heavy layers of paint. As oils oxidize and begin curing, they dry from the surface and often take much longer to dry than if left undisturbed. It takes six to twelve months for your canvas to be ready for varnishing or framing.

How Do You Speed Up the Drying Time of Oil Paint?

There are numerous ways to speed up or slow down the drying time of your paints while you’re working. Oils, alkyds, or solvents are just some examples. Your choice of medium determines the approach to your painting, which in turn will affect the outcome.


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