For artists, there are a number of ways to slim oil paint. However, the ideal thinning an approach will depend on how thin you desire to make your paint, your paint technique, and also how much gloss you desire to achieve. So what are few of the finest ways to slim oil paint?

Thinning oil repaint with solvents such as mineral soul achieves reduced viscosity with moderate drying time and also a matte appearance. Thinning with natural oils such as linseed oil achieves greater viscosity, slow drying time, and also glossier results.

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There are countless other alternatives besides the ones provided above. Let"s look at at some of these choices and what you should know about each one. See below the table for in-depth information.

MediumTypeViscosityDrying TimeFinishNotes
Mineral SpiritsSolventLowModerateMatteModerate evaporation. Artist-grade has less fumes.
TurpentineSolventLowModerateMatteFast evaporation. Fumes deserve to be one issue.
Linseed OilOilMediumSlowGlossyThe traditional oil for oil painting. Have the right to yellow end time.
Walnut OilOilMediumSlowGlossyYellows less than linseed oil. Colors an ext brilliant in walnut oil.
Safflower OilOilMediumVery SlowGlossyYellows less than linseed. Dries same without developing top skin.
Poppy OilOilMediumVery SlowGlossyThe slowest drying oil. Concerns around stability.
Stand OilOilHighSlowGlossyThickened linseed oil. Enamel finish.
GalkydPetroleum DistillatesHighFastGlossyMade by Gamblin. Rather toxic but great medium.
LiquinPetroleum DistillatesHighFastGlossyMade by Windsor & Newton. Widely offered medium.
Maroger MediumMastic Varnish, Linseed Oil and also Lead DryerVery HighFastGlossyOld Master"s medium. Versatile but toxic.
Neo-MegilpPetroleum DistillatesVery HighFastGlossyGamblin"s modern version of Maroger Medium.
Solvent complimentary GelSafflower AlkydVery HighModerateGlossyNon-toxic gel made by Gamblin.

Thin Oil paint with Solvents

The many basic means to slim oil paint is by making use of a solvent such together mineral spirits or turpentine. Solvents will certainly thin the paint really rapidly and thoroughly and also are low viscosity, which means they have a more watery consistency. You have the right to thin the repaint with a little amount to make it buttery, or thin it to a soup-like consistency therefore you deserve to quickly and also easily cover her canvas and fill in any type of texture.

Thinning through solvents will dry the paint much faster than using herbal oils such together linseed or safflower oil. The paint will also have a an ext matte appearance when it dries. Also, many solvents usually price less than other mediums and also oils.


Thinning her initial layers with a solvent method you don"t have to worry around violating the fat over lean preeminence when adding subsequent layers of paint. The fat end lean preeminence says that any kind of subsequent layers of paint need to have at the very least as much or more oil content 보다 the previous class in bespeak to avoid sinking in. Sinking in is once dull spots appear on your paint after it has actually dried. Click right here to watch my short article on just how to fix sinking in problems.

The above consideration method that you should only thin through mineral soul on your first pair layers the paint. Each added layer should have actually less solvent than the previous layer to ensure over there is much more oil in that new layer.

Do not thin your oil repaint with a solvent if the ahead layer(s) consists of special and/or oily paint. This will reason massive sinking in and also even cracking down the road. Also, prevent thinning your paint with solvents if you use a glazing technique. Oil or oil-based mediums are better suited for glazing.

One the the large drawbacks to using solvents to slim oil paint is the fumes solvents release. these fumes have the right to be harmful to breathe in over extended periods the time. If girlfriend are really sensitive come solvents you may not have the ability to use them in ~ all. If the is the case, click here to examine out my write-up on oil paint without solvents.

When utilizing solvents, it"s encourage you use artist-grade solvents such as Gamsol or Turpenoid. unlike mineral spirits you buy in ~ the hardware store, artist-grade mineral spirits perform not contain any type of additives, and also they have less the a smell. The said, i will usage hardware mineral spirits as soon as I"m law oil sketches outside (plein waiting painting). I don"t intended to market these sketches or even screen them, and when I"m outside the fumes don"t stroked nerves me as much.

Another solvent you deserve to use is turpentine. Made of pine tree tree resin, turpentine has been roughly longer 보다 mineral spirits, which is obtained from petroleum distillates. Turpentine will have the same result on oil repaint as mineral spirits, but many artists uncover the fumes indigenous turpentine more difficult to tolerate. friend may additionally find the price that turpentine come be higher than mineral spirits.

How come Mix Solvents with Oil Paint

To thin her oil repaint with a solvent, pour part solvent into a little or medium-sized jar. Make sure whatever jar or container girlfriend use has a tight-fitting lid to avoid excess fumes and also evaporation. I like to usage a very little container since the solvent deserve to quickly become polluted. Utilizing a little jar means only a tiny amount that solvent will certainly be polluted and can be conveniently replaced with clean solvent.

Dip her brush right into the solvent. If you desire to thin her paint just slightly, then dip just the reminder of her brush into the solvent. If you want to thin your paint to a more soupy consistency, dip most of your brush into the solvent. Lug your brush over to her paint and mix it together on her palette. Repeat as important until the paint becomes the wanted viscosity.

You can additionally sprinkle solvent into the repaint on her palette, particularly if you want to slim a huge amount the paint.

Thin Oil paint with Oils

The over line sound a bit obvious and redundant, but there space some important things you should know about thinning your oil repaint with oils.

Thinning your paint with oil outcomes in a greater viscosity and dries glossier 보다 thinning through solvents. But as implied in our above conversation around the fat over skinny rule, you desire to avoid thinning your first layers of paint with oils uneven you plan to add at least as much, if not an ext oil to your succeeding layers to avoid sinking in. Thinning your succeeding layers with oil is a great way to rise the "fat" content of her paint and prevent sinking in.

So if you like to occupational with slim paint, thin your first layer or two through a solvent such as mineral spirits, then thin your subsequent layers v oil or an oil-based medium. You can also use oils for glazing techniques. Let"s watch at some of the various oils and their characteristics.

Linseed Oil

The many widely supplied oil for oil painting is linseed oil. Obtained from flax, linseed oil is the most stable oil with moderate drying time, about 5 days or so. Linseed oil dries by forming a top skin and also going from there. The one difficulty with linseed oil is that it deserve to yellow end time. So if you want to slim a cooler, lighter value color such as white, you may want to use a different type of oil.

Walnut Oil

Used for numerous years, walnut oil is great because it"s an extremely resistant come yellowing and cracking and also it dries slower 보다 linseed oil. Some paint manufacturers use walnut oil almost exclusively. Walnut oil can also make her colors show up to be much more intense.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil dries even an ext slowly than linseed oil. fairly than dry by very first forming a top skin, safflower oil dries more evenly, i beg your pardon can reason it to have a difficult feeling throughout the drying process. It additionally doesn"t yellow as much as linseed oil. Some have actually questioned safflower"s long-term stability, yet this is unwarranted as centuries-old paintings have shown it hold up very well.

Poppy Oil

If you want to really slow down your drying time climate poppy oil is the method to go. Be affected by each other in psychic there space concerns around its long-term stability and you must avoid making use of it in her initial layers.

Stand Oil

Stand oil is essentially linseed oil that has been heated. The result is a thicker, greater viscosity oil the dries much faster than continuous linseed oil. It additionally has better color retention due to the fact that oxygen is what reasons yellowing and also stand oil requires less oxidation time come dry.

How to Mix Oils v Oil Paint

Mixing oils with oil paint is a similar process to mix solvents with oil paint. Pour some into a tiny jar. V oils it"s no imperative that the jar has actually a lid as fumes and also evaporation will not be an problem (unless you just don"t prefer the smell). Dip your brush into the oil and then mix it with your paint. Once again little jars are finest so you have the right to replace polluted oil through clean oil an ext often and also with less waste.

You can also pour the oil directly onto your palette and also mix it that way.

Thin Oil repaint with Mediums

Besides solvents and also natural oil there are a wide selection of manufactured mediums you can use to thin your paint. Many of this mediums room a combination of some type of oil-based substance such as petroleum distillates v solvent. While over there are countless on the market, we will discuss a few of the an ext popular ones right here to acquire you started.


Galkyd make by Gamlin is among the primary mediums i use when oil painting. It"s a petroleum distillates-based tool that has actually a rather high viscosity. it does a good job of including flow and also will set-up and also dry somewhat easily (usually in a day) through a glossy finish. you can also thin Galkyd v Gamsol or other artist-grade mineral spirits to decrease its viscosity and reduce gloss.

There are several versions of Galkyd easily accessible such together Galkyd Lite, which is lower viscosity and also dries less glossy, and Galkyd slow-moving Dry, i beg your pardon dries slower and also is also less glossy. It"s recommended you don"t mix solvents with Galkyd Lite or Galkyd slow Dry.


Also derived from petroleum distillates, Liquin, make by Winsor & Newton was initially made to it is in a modern sustitute because that Maroger tool (see below), but without the need to deal with lead. Liquin functions in the same way as Galkyd and also is widely offered by artists. They additionally make a Liquin gelatin that has alkyd resin included to give it a thicker consistency.

How to Mix Mediums v Oil Paint

To usage Galkyd or Liquin, to water a little amount onto her palette or right into a tiny cup, dip her brush into it, climate mix it into your paint. You deserve to mix a little amount because that impasto methods or a bigger amount because that glazing.

Thin Oil repaint with Gels

Having a an extremely high viscosity, gels are good if you desire to repaint with a more impasto an approach (thick paint application). When they will not thin your paint to the same degree as its an ext liquid counterparts, gels will still allow you to more easily spread the paint across the canvas and also will provide it an ext gloss as soon as it dries.

Maroger Medium

Essentially consists of lead cooked v linseed oil, Maroger was emerged by Jacques Maroger. Jacques found this tool that was thought to be supplied by the Old Masters. This tool is incredibly versatile. Once it"s exposed to open up air and also kept still, it maintain its jelly-like consistency, however when it"s disturbed it becomes more liquid, just to revert come its much more solid form once you prevent disturbing it.

This makes it good for contempt thinning oil or for creating more impasto brush strokes through ease. It offers you ample time to manipulate the paint but will stiffen fairly quickly and also usually dries overnight. Just be careful if you use traditional Maroger medium as it will contain command which is toxic.


If you desire to have actually the working qualities of Maroger medium however without the lead, try Gamblin"s Neo-Megilp. It"s a gel-like medium that dries a small less glossy than other mediums however doesn"t have the higher toxicity of traditional Maroger.

Other Gels

Other gels on the market encompass Gamlin"s Solvent-Free gel and also Rublev"s Epoxide Oil Gel, Walnut Oil Gel and also Oleoresgel.

Combining Solvents and also Oils

Combining solvents and oil or oil-based mediums can give you a wide selection of results. Say you desire a low-viscosity tool that dries conveniently with gloss. You can mix mineral spirits with stand oil. If you desire a low-viscosity tool that dries through gloss but an ext slowly, try mixing mineral spirits v safflower oil.

All the Gamblin"s commodities are formulated to work with each other. However if you space working with another brand the medium, be certain to check the manufacturer"s references on what deserve to be combined with that particular medium.

This is by no method an exhaustive list, yet hopefully the will acquire you began with some ideas on just how to thin your oil paint.

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Jason Tako is a nationally recognized fine artist who specializes in western, wildlife, plein air, and Historical native American topic matter. He invested his learning years sketching the wetlands and also wooded areas of countryside Minnesota. He has been featured in Plein waiting Magazine and Western arts Collector Magazine and he to be theFeatured Artistfor the 2020 Southeastern Wildlife Expo. View his occupational atwww.JasonTako.comand his demonstrations on hisYouTube Channel.