For artists, there space a number of ways to thin oil paint. However, the best thinning method will count on just how thin you want to make her paint, your painting technique, and also how lot gloss you desire to achieve. For this reason what are some of the ideal ways to slim oil paint?

Thinning oil paint with solvents such as mineral spirits achieves reduced viscosity through moderate drying time and a matte appearance. Thinning with natural oils such together linseed oil achieves higher viscosity, sluggish drying time, and also glossier results.

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There are countless other choices besides the ones noted above. Let"s look at few of these alternatives and what you must know around each one. See listed below the table for detailed information.

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

Thin Oil paint with Solvents

The many basic method to thin oil paint is by using a solvent such together mineral spirits or turpentine. Solvents will thin the paint really rapidly and thoroughly and are short viscosity, which method they have actually a more watery consistency. You have the right to thin the paint with a little amount to do it buttery, or thin it come a soup-like consistency so you can quickly and easily cover her canvas and also fill in any texture.

Thinning with solvents will dry the paint faster than using herbal oils such as linseed or safflower oil. The repaint 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 through a solvent method you don"t need to worry about violating the fat over lean ascendancy when adding subsequent layers of paint. The fat end lean ascendancy says that any kind of subsequent class of paint need to have actually at the very least as lot or much more oil content 보다 the previous great in bespeak to protect against sinking in. Sinking in is once dull spots show up on your painting after it has dried. Click here to check out my article on exactly how to fix sinking in problems.

The over consideration way that you have to only thin with mineral soul on her first couple layers that paint. Each additional layer should have actually less solvent than the ahead layer to ensure there is an ext oil in that new layer.

Do no thin her oil repaint with a solvent if the previous layer(s) is composed of thick and/or oily paint. This will cause massive sinking in and also even cracking down the road. Also, protect against thinning your repaint with solvents if you usage a glazing technique. Oil or oil-based mediums are far better suited because that glazing.

One the the large drawbacks to utilizing solvents to thin oil paint is the fumes solvents release. this fumes can be harmful to breath in over expanded periods that time. If girlfriend are very sensitive come solvents you might not be able to use them at all. If the is the case, click here to inspect out my article on oil paint without solvents.

When using solvents, it"s recommended you usage artist-grade solvents such as Gamsol or Turpenoid. unlike mineral spirits you buy at the hardware store, artist-grade mineral spirits carry out not contain any kind of additives, and also they have less the a smell. The said, ns will usage hardware mineral spirits when I"m act oil sketches outside (plein waiting painting). Ns don"t intended to offer these sketches or even screen them, and also when I"m exterior the fumes don"t stroked nerves me together much.

Another solvent you can use is turpentine. Made of pine tree resin, turpentine has actually been about longer than mineral spirits, which is obtained from petroleum distillates. Turpentine will have actually the same effect on oil paint as mineral spirits, however many artists uncover the fumes native turpentine more an overwhelming to tolerate. you may also find the price of turpentine come be higher than mineral spirits.

How to Mix Solvents with Oil Paint

To thin your oil repaint with a solvent, pour some solvent right into a small or medium-sized jar. Do sure every little thing jar or container girlfriend use has actually a tight-fitting lid to avoid excess fumes and evaporation. I prefer to usage a very tiny container due to the fact that the solvent can quickly become polluted. Using a small jar method only a tiny amount that solvent will be polluted and also can be conveniently replaced through clean solvent.

Dip her brush into the solvent. If you want to thin your paint only slightly, climate dip just the reminder of your brush into the solvent. If you desire to thin your repaint to a more soupy consistency, dip many of your brush into the solvent. Bring your brush over to her paint and mix it with each other on her palette. Repeat as crucial until the repaint becomes the preferred viscosity.

You can likewise sprinkle solvent into the repaint on your palette, particularly if you want to slim a large amount the paint.

Thin Oil paint with Oils

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

Thinning your repaint with oil outcomes in a higher viscosity and dries glossier 보다 thinning v solvents. But as implied in our above conversation around the fat over lean rule, you desire to protect against thinning your an initial layers of paint with oils uneven you arrangement to include at the very least as much, if not an ext oil come your subsequent layers to prevent sinking in. Thinning your subsequent layers with oil is a great way to rise the "fat" contents of your paint and also prevent sinking in.

So if you prefer to work-related with slim paint, slim your very first layer or two with a solvent such as mineral spirits, then slim your succeeding layers v oil or one oil-based medium. Friend can likewise use oils for glazing techniques. Let"s look at at several of the various oils and their characteristics.

Linseed Oil

The many widely used oil because that oil painting is linseed oil. Obtained from flax, linseed oil is the most stable oil with moderate dry time, approximately 5 work or so. Linseed oil dries by creating a peak skin and also going native there. The one trouble with linseed oil is the it deserve to yellow end time. For this reason if you desire to slim a cooler, lighter value color such as white, you may want to usage a different form of oil.

Walnut Oil

Used for hundreds of years, walnut oil is great because it"s very resistant to yellowing and cracking and also it dries slower than linseed oil. Some repaint manufacturers usage walnut oil almost exclusively. Walnut oil can also make your colors appear to be an ext intense.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil dries even much more slowly 보다 linseed oil. fairly than drying by very first forming a height skin, safflower oil dries much more evenly, i m sorry can cause it to have a sticky feeling throughout the dry process. It likewise doesn"t yellow as lot as linseed oil. Some have questioned safflower"s permanent stability, yet this is unwarranted together centuries-old paintings have presented it stop up really well.

Poppy Oil

If you desire to really slow down your drying time then poppy oil is the method to go. Be affected by each other in mind there room concerns around its long-term stability and also you must avoid using it in her initial layers.

Stand Oil

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

How to Mix Oils through Oil Paint

Mixing oils with oil paint is a similar procedure to mixing solvents v oil paint. Pour some right into a small jar. With oils it"s not imperative that the jar has a lid together fumes and also evaporation will not it is in an problem (unless you just don"t choose the smell). Dip your brush right into the oil and also then mix it through your paint. Once again small jars are finest so you can replace polluted oil through clean oil an ext often and with less waste.

You can also pour the oil straight onto her palette and also mix it the way.

Thin Oil repaint with Mediums

Besides solvents and also natural oils there room a wide variety of manufactured mediums you have the right to use to thin your paint. Numerous of this mediums are a mix of some type of oil-based substance such as petroleum distillates with solvent. While over there are many on the market, we will comment on a couple of of the more popular ones below to get you started.


Galkyd do by Gamlin is among the major mediums ns use once oil painting. It"s a petroleum distillates-based medium that has a rather high viscosity. it does a good job of including flow and will set-up and also dry somewhat easily (usually in a day) with a glossy finish. friend can likewise thin Galkyd through Gamsol or various other artist-grade mineral soul to to decrease its viscosity and reduce gloss.

There are several versions of Galkyd accessible such as Galkyd Lite, i beg your pardon is reduced viscosity and also dries much less glossy, and Galkyd slow Dry, i m sorry dries slower and is likewise less glossy. It"s recommended you don"t mix solvents through Galkyd Lite or Galkyd slow-moving Dry.


Also acquired from petroleum distillates, Liquin, make by Winsor & Newton was initially made to it is in a modern-day sustitute for Maroger tool (see below), yet without the need to deal with lead. Liquin attributes in the same means as Galkyd and is widely used by artists. They likewise make a Liquin gelatin that has alkyd resin included to provide it a more thick consistency.

How come Mix Mediums v Oil Paint

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

Thin Oil paint with Gels

Having a very high viscosity, gels are great if you want to repaint with a more impasto method (thick repaint application). If they will certainly not slim your paint to the same degree as its much more liquid counterparts, gels will still permit you to an ext easily spread out the paint throughout the canvas and will give it an ext gloss as soon as it dries.

Maroger Medium

Essentially consists of command cooked with linseed oil, Maroger was occurred by Jacques Maroger. Jacques discovered this medium that was thought to be provided by the Old Masters. This tool is very versatile. When it"s exposed to open air and also kept still, it maintain its jelly-like consistency, yet when it"s disturbed that becomes more liquid, only to revert to its much more solid form once you avoid disturbing it.

This provides it an excellent for slightly thinning oil or for creating more impasto brush strokes with ease. It provides you ample time come manipulate the paint yet will stiffen reasonably quickly and usually dries overnight. Just be cautious if friend use timeless Maroger tool as it will contain command which is toxic.


If you want to have actually the working characteristics of Maroger medium but without the lead, try Gamblin"s Neo-Megilp. It"s a gel-like tool that dries a tiny less glossy than other mediums but doesn"t have actually the higher toxicity of timeless Maroger.

Other Gels

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

Combining Solvents and also Oils

Combining solvents and also oil or oil-based mediums can provide you a wide range of results. Say you want a low-viscosity tool that dries quickly with gloss. You deserve to mix mineral spirits through stand oil. If you want a low-viscosity tool that dries v gloss but an ext slowly, shot mixing mineral spirits with safflower oil.

All of Gamblin"s assets are formulated to work with every other. But if you space working with an additional brand that medium, be certain to check the manufacturer"s referrals on what deserve to be blended with that certain medium.

This is by no way an exhaustive list, however hopefully it will acquire you began with some principles on how to thin your oil paint.

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Jason Tako is a nationally recognized fine artist that specializes in western, wildlife, plein air, and also Historical native American subject matter. He spent his learning years sketching the wetlands and wooded areas of rural Minnesota. He has been featured in Plein air Magazine and also Western art Collector Magazine and also he to be theFeatured Artistfor the 2020 Southeastern Wildlife Expo. See his job-related atwww.JasonTako.comand his demonstrations ~ above hisYouTube Channel.