How To Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

Painting your thoughts on a canvas is as magical as it sounds. But, waiting for the paint to dry is one of the pain points of painting. Until one layer dries up, you can’t apply the next layer, which makes the process tedious. This is why many painters are searching for a convenient solution to make oil paints dry faster.

You must be wondering how to make oil-based paint dry faster. If you follow a few techniques and steps while using acrylic paint, you can get ideal results. Oil-based are suitable for all surfaces. However, surfaces play a vital role in the drying of the paint. 

So, this is why we have put together a list of solutions to speed up the drying process. Every artist wants to create magic on canvas, and no one wants to wait that long, so here are the secrets of drying oil paint. Here is an article that discusses how to make oil paint dry faster? 

What Is Oil Paint?

Oil painting dates back to the 15th century, which has aged like a fine wine with time. As a result, oil paintings are antique and primarily associated with traditional and medieval art. Jan van Eyck, a Belgian painter, created oil paints by mixing pigments with nuts oil and linseed oil.

Oil paintings have the reputation of taking up much longer time to dry up than watercolors. It can take from days to weeks. This is why oil painting is a slow process that gives a certain advantage to manipulate it before it dries up.

How Long It Takes To Dry Oil Paint?

Oil painting does not have an estimated time for drying. Oil paint becomes touch-dry after days, but the layers underneath may remain wet. Therefore, it does not dry like other colors such as acrylic or watercolor. 

The procedure that helps in drying up oil paint is oxidation. When the color pigments come in contact with oxygen, the air-drying process starts. However, this is a slow process, and you need to follow specific steps to speed up the process. 

What Factors Influence Drying Time?

If you wonder how to make oil paints dry faster, you must know what factors influence the drying process. So, the medium and environment you are painting are the factors that influence primarily. But, there are other factors too,

  •  Earthy or light tones dry up faster than darker tones. 
  • The levels of polyunsaturated fatty acid characterize the time paint takes to dry up. Brands use different oils to make the pigments which increase or decrease the speed of drying the paint.
  • The quality of pigment influences the drying time.
  • The surrounding environment that constitutes the room’s temperature, wind, and light is essential in drying oil paints.

How To Speed Up The Drying Of Oil Paint?

If you wonder how to make oil-based paint dry faster? Then, you must use solvents and thinner. However, there are oil mediums that help speed up the drying time so you can finish up your work on time.

Solvents And Thinner

You can find multiple solvents and chemical thinner in a craft store that accelerates the drying time of oil paints. The solvents come in small bottles, and these are great for creating undertones and washes. 

Solvents wash off the pigments and dilute the oil paints that speed up the oxidation reaction; hence, you can efficiently work on the next layer much earlier than expected—you a buy online odor-free solvents and thinners.

Non-Toxic Solvents

If you are intimated with chemical solvents on your painting, then use non-toxic solvents. You can buy these off the counter or make them at home. A citrus-based oil medium is an example of natural solvents. It is made with citrus oil and water. A high level of acid enhances the oxidation procedure and hence enhancing the speeding time of oil paints.

Another well-known non-toxic solvent is spike lavender oil. It has been used as paint thinner for centuries, this has calming scent along, and it is as effective as chemical solvents.

Oil Medium

The oil paint is made up of oils that include linseed, walnut, poppyseed, or safflower. Oil medium helps in smoother strokes and leads to better finishing of the end product. The oil you choose decides the drying time of the paint. For example, linseed oil accelerates the drying time, giving a shiner finish than other mineral oils.

Alkyd Medium

For optimum rapidity, you might have to use an alkyd medium on oil paints. This is because the alkyd medium is made with resin that hardens in a few hours. It eliminates your need to use solvent or thinner while painting.

Some people use the fluid-like consistency of the liquid, while some prefer the gel consistency of the alkyd medium. So, you can add multiple layers of alkyd medium as it gives glossy texture and adds transparency to colors. 

Coat The Canvas With Gesso Glue

If you have previously worked with oil paints, you would be familiar with this term. However, gesso is essential for protecting the oil paints and helps dry the oil paint much faster.

Take a bowl of gesso glue and apply it evenly in a thin layer on a blank canvas. If you apply a thick coat, it will take too much time to dry up the coating. So, it is best to apply a thin layer of gesso glue and leave it aside till it dries. Then, apply oil paint after it completely dries off.


Primer is much like gesso glue. Priming the surface while painting walls or woods with oils act as a protective coating. It gives better coverage creates a porous layer for the oils to stick on it. 

Which Oil Medium Is Best For Drying?

There is numerous oil medium which is used for oil painting. The apparent reason behind using oil paints is the uniqueness every stroke brings on the canvas. Here are different oil mediums you should know while working with oil paints.

  • Poppyseed is the oil medium mostly used for improving the fluidity of the paints. However, it slows down the drying time and makes the paint wetter that extends your paint time.
  • Walnut oil and safflower oil are slow paint mediums that will not help you quicken up the drying time. You should avoid this if you are in a rush and do not want too much time to dry the paint.
  • If you are curious about making oil-based paint dry faster on wood, then use linseed oil. Paints with linseed oil are effective in speeding up the drying time. It dries up n a few hours and makes the surface ready for the next coating.

How To Dry Oil Paint Faster at Home?

So, we now know the mediums that help speed the procedure and factors that influence drying oil paint. But, if you are still wondering how to make oil-based paint dry faster on canvas at home, we have a few tips and tricks that will help you out.

Well Ventilated Room 

The easiest thing you can do to initiate the drying process is keep it in a well-ventilated dry room. You can use a fan or keep it near the window for proper circulation of air.

Keep It In A Dry Place.

Oil paints dry at a much faster rate in a dry room compared to a cold room. However, temperature below 21 degrees Celsius slows down the drying procedure. Therefore, it is advisable to keep in a warm room, but do not keep directly in the sun. The ideal temperature for drying oil paint is 21 degrees Celsius.

Use Hairdryer

It is not a popular belief to use a hairdryer because of the heat and pressure of air. But, on low pressure from a certain distance, you can use a hairdryer. Use it after the paint is touch-dry.

Use Raw Umber Or Lead, Cobalt Paint.

Instead of investing time after completing the painting, you can start with paints that dry much faster. For example, use raw umber as it dries up quickly and makes the canvas ready for the next layer. 

Likewise, the pigments made from metals like lead or cobalt dries up quickly. So, if you want a bright splash of color that doesn’t take much time in drying, go for lead or cobalt hues.

Base Coating

Before jumping in with an array of oil paint colors on canvas, coat it well with primer, gesso glue, or base layer. It adds color and texture to the paint, along with providing a medium to stick the color. 

Paint Slowly With Thin Layers

Applying a thin film of color in a controlled manner is good practice that decreases the drying time. When you use a thin layer of paint, the drying process starts much faster than a thick coating. You can do the painting slowly, so the intermediate time between two-stroke is lesser than expected.


Using oil paint is one of the most satisfying parts of the painting. It makes the picture speak for itself. However, it is not known for drying quickly. Oil paints take time to completely dry. Some can even take years. However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait for years to recoat the layers to make it fine and precise.

Conventional artists use linseed oil paints on wood, fabric, and linen canvas. However, the legendary paintings of the medieval period are done with the strokes of oil paints. Artists like Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, and many others used the oil paints that became a part of history.

Using oil paints is not that easy as it looks. It needs patience and dedication. Now that you know how to make oil-based paint dry faster, you can explore the strokes to create a masterpiece.