How To Thin Oil Based Paint

One of the oldest mediums in the art world is oil-painting. To be able to explore the world of painting is an achievement in itself and yet many get quite intimidated by it. Many don’t know where to begin. The paint is much different from watercolours and acrylic paint. Oil-based paints washed off differently, and the primary reason why manufacturers add oil is that without such additives, the colour paint will dry and settle. Thankfully, we can make use of solvents to thin oil paint. There is a proper procedure of thinning the pigment so it should not be as intimidating as having to use oil paint for painting. Let’s get started!

  • Commercial solvents will help thin the paint as well as clean the bushes. One type of solution is turpentine that dilutes the colour by producing a mixture similar to water. Turpentine fumes are dangerous, so it’s imperative to work in a room with proper ventilation, better if you are to mix this with paint outdoors so the smell won’t gather in one place. Here something to keep in mind. Solvent from a hardware shop is NOT the same as the solvent that one could purchase in an art supplies store. Other additives include both that can thin or thicken the paint. Make sure that you read the instructions first if you are not familiar with the use of such mediums.
  • In oil painting, layers are produced to create the painting. So for the first layer, the paint should be first thinned first before being applied on a surface. The first thing to do is to squeeze out some oil paint on one side of your palette then add the solvent to it. Any thinning concoction would do. A coin-sized paint would do with a good amount of thinner then mixing them well, take notice of the consistency if it’s to your liking.
  • Solvents drastically alter the composition of oil-based paints so remember to always apply the thinnest colour paints first as the under-layer because they dry up faster than those added with fewer solvents. Make sure that the first layers are dry before adding the next layer.


Safety Measures

  • Your work area should be big enough for running fans and proper ventilation. It is not healthy to be cooped up in a place where the fumes gather as it would affect your lungs. It could cause nausea and dizziness and other unpleasant effects.
  • After using oil paints and thinner, make sure that they don’t with other types of colour paint such as acrylic since this could cause a hazardous chemical reaction. Many have already suffered and died from the illness they got from mixing acrylic and oil paint.
  • Do not just throw away oil colours and thinner in a dumpster or down a drain under running water. It is not safe to leave them unpacked when garbage disposal units collect them. It is better to keep them in a container filled with water. Make sure to keep these away from any source of fire as they are highly flammable.
  • When being disposed of, be sure they are tightly sealed so no children or animals could get into the materials. They could endanger their health.
  • Immediately wash off the solvent from your hands to avoid skin irritation. Such a gentle soap and scrub, reaching under the fingernails as well.
  • If you started feeling dizzy, eye irritation, headaches, or vomiting, step away from the work area since the smell of the fumes might be causing this or perhaps after using the colours.


The proper cleanup

Oil paint is not the same as with other types of colours like because of their formulation. Oil and water don’t mix, so it is not as easy to wash off. A good rinsing of hot water and soap will get rid of the oil paint and thinner from the materials such as the brushes and palette. Thinner may also be used to make the paint run. Once oil paint mixes with thinner, they can stay wet four a couple of hours for reusing once more. Proper disposal is a must as well because these materials can cause severe health and environmental issues.