Waiting on your oil paints to dry is a chore, so it’s only natural to try a shortcut or two to see if you can speed things up a bit. So, can you blow dry oil paint to speed up drying? Unfortunately, no, that is not a good idea. While that will make it seem to dry faster, the blow dryer is just dehydrating it and this interferes with the normal drying and curing process. Your painting will end up with cracks and you’ll just wish that you had waited.
Today I’ll tell you a little more about what happens when you try to blow dry a still-wet work, as well as what you can do to speed things up safely, and we’ll talk about whether or not a fan can help to speed things up safely or not.
Let’s talk about watching your paint dry!
Can you use a blow dryer to dry oil paint?
The problem with using a blow dryer to dry your oil paints is that it’s TOO fast. The heat and the air just end up removing the liquid component from the paints and you end up with a gooey mix of pigment and whatever oil is left.
When oil paints dry, they undergo a sort of chemical transformation. The paints themselves technically take 24 hours to dry to the touch and when you try to cut that down to 30 minutes or an hour then you end up interfering with the process that the paints need to properly harden.
Curing takes even longer, as in 6 months to a year, but just the regular drying process will take 24 hours unless you speed things up in a safer manner. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few easy ways that you can speed up the drying process safely and without fear of cracking your finished painting!
How can I make oil paint dry faster?
If you want you paints to dry a little bit faster without cracking your work, you do have some options at your disposal. Let’s take a look at some of the most common tricks that you can use:
- Sun-drying – Drying your work in the sun brightens it up a bit and speeds up your drying time. Setup a spot near the window, as outside is too risky because of dust, bugs, and the possibility of rain. The sunlight shouldn’t fade your work very much but it will dry a lot faster.
- Using thin layers – Practice painting in thin layers and this will speed up your overall drying time quite a bit. Thin layers take less time to dry than thick, after all, so experiment to see how much you can really do with just a little paint. It’s good practice, anyways!
- Quick-dry linseed oil – Some linseed oil varieties are designed for quicker drying and you can purchase these easily at your local art supply or online. Give them a try and see what you think!
- Drying agents – Drying agents such as Liquin and Galkyd are specifically designed for making your oil paints dry faster, but safely so. All you have to do is add a tiny amount of these agents to your paint and then they will dry faster on your canvas. Just don’t let them dry on the palette!
Will a fan speed up oil paint drying?
Better air circulation in the room where your painting is drying can definitely help to speed things along. As long as the isn’t cold, of course (because if it’s too cold, you’ll need to warm the room or it will never dry!). You can also take things a step further by getting yourself a dehumidifier to help take some excess moisture out of the air. A dry environment with a nice circulation of air is going to be much more conducive than just a regular, stuff room when it comes to drying your work.
Also, if you live in an area that is normally quite humid to begin with, then a dehumidifier is a must. Moisture in the air can seriously slow down drying time and if it’s heavy, it can even make your painting dry improperly and you definitely don’t want that. So, yes, a fan will speed up drying and if you add a dehumidifier into the mix, then you’ve got an ideal environment for speedier drying without worry of adding cracks to your nice, new painting!
The verdict: Don’t blow dry your oil paints
While it sounds good on paper, blow drying your oil paintings is a really bad idea. A blow dryer will dry it up too fast, which will result in either making your paint into a gooey, sticky mess, or the painting will seem to dry but will develop cracks fairly quickly and ruin the work in this fashion. It’s better to use drying agents, additives, sunlight, or simply well-circulated air.
Before I go, I’ve got an excellent 3rd party article for those of you who want to know a little more about drying agents like Liquin and you can find it here. In the meantime, try to be patient. Your oils are slow to dry, but they’ll get there, and after that they’ll reward your patience by lasting for generations! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keFIxIWZFb8