What’s The Best Drying Oil For Your Oil Painting?

By definition, drying oils are simply the mediums of oil used in making an oil painting. There are various types of drying oils available in the market and each of them possesses different qualities and specifications. The mediums of oils used in making oil painting are segregated¬†from each other based on their drying times and that’s why they are known as drying oils.

Drying oils are made and used to modify the properties of basic oil paints. It’s basically a fusion of 2 mediums in order to make a better one. These modifications can be made with respect to drying time, the glow of paint, opacity etc. It’s difficult to identify which drying oil will suit best to your needs because of a huge variety and relatedness of these mediums.




  • Linseed Oil: It is one of the most popular drying oil and is used by most of the oil painters. The source of this oil are the seeds of the flax plant. By using this medium your paint will become glossier and transparent. It will take up to a maximum of 7 days for the paint to dry completely. If you need faster drying time then you should opt for cold-pressed linseed oil.


  • Sun-thickened Linseed Oil: This form of oil is generated by exposing the linseed oil to the sun directly. This leads to the production of a thick syrup like form of linseed oil. Its properties are almost the same as normal linseed oil. The only difference is that unlike the linseed oil this type of oil will not get yellow when it dries.


  • Stand Oil: Stand oil is further processed form of linseed oil. It is a bit thicker than the original linseed oil and has enhanced properties. If you crave for perfect finishing then this oil is ideal for you. It will provide a great finish to the painting when it becomes completely dry and you will hardly find any marks of brush strokes. The only catch here is that it will take around 7-10 days to dry completely.


  • Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is transparent and sort of pale oil that is often used on light colors as it does not turn yellow on drying. This oil is produced from sunflower seeds. It is suitable for working on the outer layers of the painting and it takes anywhere from 5-7 days to dry completely.


  • Boiled Oils: These type of oils are generated by heating and drying normal oils. Boiled oils have a tendency to provide a great glossy finish and usually dry at a very fast rate. They are best suited for the inner or lower layers of the painting as they will get yellower and ugly in time.


  • Walnut Oil: Walnut oil is an expensive oil which is most commonly used to provide the paint more fluidity. This oil dries completely in 3-5 days at most.


The above-stated types of drying oils are the most commonly used mediums by oil painters. They are correlated with each other in certain things however each oil has a unique property. The usage will vary from painting to painting as per the requirements of the painter. If you are just starting then try messing around with a few and see which one works best for you and go for the one that provides the best possible results.

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