Damn I’ve painted a masterpiece but it won’t dry! And I have a deadline! How can I speed up the drying time of my oil painting?

First of all, accept the fact the painting won’t dry within two days. Normally it will take a couple of weeks for layers of paint to dry. Oil paint will take a full year to completely dry. Oil paint is loved by fact it doesn’t dry as fast as most paints. This means you can paint wet on wet. If you want to paint fast, paint with water based paints, like acrylics.

Unfortunately some pigments take a lot longer to dry. Titanium white for example may take weeks for it to dry.

4 ways to dry oil paintings faster

Sometimes artist who are producing lots of commissions need to shorten the drying time of their paintings because of deadlines or upcoming shows. If you’re in a time shortage here’s what you can do to speed up oil paint drying time.

1 Use a drying medium like liquin

Go to an art shop and look for mediums for oil paint. There a pinkish medium called liquin. Which normally is used to make dry paint wet again. But can also be used to speed up the drying time if used right. Pay particular attention to the amount to use. Don’t  overdo it.

2. Paint in thin layers

Painting in thin layers will reduce drying time. But keep in mind that if you use a lot of layers cracks can appear in the painting. To avoid crackling I prefer thick over thin.

3. Put your painting to dry in a sunny spot (not in full sunlight) and allow warm and dry air to circulate

Oil paint dries faster in sunlight. Let the painting dry in a non-humid room. You can use a fan or a dehumidifier. Let warm and dry air circulate. NEVER cold and moist air.

4 Use acrylic paint for the background

Using acrylic paint saves a lot of time. You can use acrylics for the background. Never use acrylic on top of oil paint. The oil repels the water out of the acrylics.


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