Oil-based paints are more superior in giving surfaces a dazzling, smooth, and glossy finish when compared to other types of paints. In addition, oil-based paints are much better at protecting the surface from scratches and weather elements which makes them highly popular with most painters.
However, this comes at a price and requires skill to apply. Oil paints are usually thick when they come from the manufacturer, this makes them tricky to apply and they also take longer to dry when compared to other paints. You, therefore, need to dilute – ‘thin’ the paint before you can use it on your project if you need impressive results. In this article, we are going to guide you on how to thin oil-based paint so that you can work on your project with great confidence and have excellent outcomes.
There are basically two methods you can use to thin oil-based paint.
Method 1: Using Paint thinner
You will use this method if you intend to paint interior and exterior surfaces such as walls. Before you can do anything else, you need paint thinner. A paint thinner is a solvent that has been specifically designed to dilute the paint and make it much easier to work with. There are many paint thinners on the market, and therefore it isn’t a big hustle to grab one as we get started on how to thin oil-based paint.
Step 1: Get a Suitable Thinner
Not every solvent will give you the desired results when working with oil-based paint. That’s why it is important to choose the right thinner as this will go a long way in determining the quality of your painting project.
Paint thinners are chemical solvents and produce toxic fumes. It is therefore important that you exercise safety precautions when handling paint thinners. Make sure you have gloves and other protective gear on before you can start handling paint thinner.
In addition, paint thinners produce strong odors that can be repulsive. It is therefore important to work outside or in an area that is well ventilated and has a free flow of air.
Step 2: Mix the Paint with the Thinner
We are now ready for the next step which is mixing the paint with the thinner. For this step, you need a paint bucket from where you will mix the thinner with the paint. You will also need a stirring rod or a clean piece of wood to mix the paint and thinner thoroughly until they blend together perfectly.
While wearing your protective gear, pour 1 part of paint into the paint bucket. Add two parts of your chosen thinner into the bucket and mix thoroughly until you get a uniform blend.
Step 3: Test
At this step, you will need to ascertain that your paint is of the desired consistency and that it will give you the desired results. For this step, you will need a paintbrush and a surface where you will test the paint on.
Dip the paintbrush on the top of the oil and paint over your test surface with a few strokes. If the paint has blended properly, it will adhere to the surface in light and consistent coat. Otherwise, you continue blending the paint until you achieve the correct consistency.
Method 2: Combining oil and mineral spirits
This method will only be effective om painting on art projects. Otherwise, you will need to use method 1 above. For this method, you will need linseed oil, Mineral spirits, a mixing jar, and a stirring rod.
Step 1: Mix linseed oil with mineral spirits
Mix one part of linseed oil with two parts of mineral spirits in the mixing jar. Use about 15 mL of linseed oil with 30 mL of mineral spirit. This will act as your medium. Use a thin stirring rod or palette knife to mix these ingredients together until are blended together. Store the medium in a glass container.
You can also use any drying oil for your medium such as walnut oil. But never use non-drying oil such as coconut oil for your mixture. Depending on the amount of work you will have to do, you can increase the ratio of your mixture so that you have enough medium ready for your painting project.
Step 2: Add oil paint into your palette
Add small amounts of oil paint evenly onto your palette. Use a palette knife to scoop small amounts of different color paints onto your palette. Make sure these paints are at least 1 inch apart so that they don’t mix accidentally. Furthermore, make sure you wipe your palette knife before scooping a different colored paint.
Step 3: Add your medium to your paint
Add about 1 or 2 drops of your medium to each paint color. You can use an eyedropper to squirt the drops of the medium into each mound of paint as this will give you greater consistency. Moreover, aim to drop the medium into the center of the paint to make it easier to mix.
Do not add a lot of medium to the paint at once. You have the option of always adding in more medium if the paint is still thick.
Step 4: Mix the ingredients together
You are now ready to mix the ingredients together. You can use a palette knife of a small stirring rod, spinning it through each color of paint. Do this in round or circular motions to ensure that all the paint mixes with the medium. Continue mixing until all the paint is thoroughly mixed with the medium and has a thorough consistent texture. Remember to wipe off the palette knife of the stirring rod before mixing the other paint colors.
Step 5: Test
At this point, you are ready now to work on your project. However, before you can begin, it is important to test if your mixture will give you the intended results. Dip your paintbrush on top of the paint and try painting on a small spot on the surface you intend to paint on. If the paint is thick, add more medium and mix thoroughly. Otherwise, if it is okay, you can proceed to paint the entire surface as you had purposed.
It can be fun to work with paints for various projects. However, the difference between a successful project and a disastrous one is how you prepare your paint. Being able to thin your paint properly will not only give you a smooth and glossy finish but also will allow your project to dry pretty quickly. With this guide, we are confident you have enough knowledge to thin oil-based paint to give you the expected results Continue checking our site for more tips on how to work with oil-based paint.