Old Masters Academy

Make Your Own Oil Paints

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How To Make your Own Oil Paints

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Art Techniques

Making oil paints will put you in direct contact with fumes that may be harmful. Do the following with a mask and in a well-ventilated area.

Step 1: Put on safety gear

Put on all the safety gear.

A lot of pigments used in manufacturing paints are surprisingly poisonous. Raw pigment powder is very fine and easily inhaled by accident.

Step 2: Put pigment on grinding slab

Place a small amount of pigment on your grinding slab.

Marble is more durable than glass, but marble is porous, which makes it harder to clean. Either way, make sure the surface underneath your grinding slab is clean and level.

Step 3: Add small amount of linseed oil

Add a very small amount of linseed oil.

Step 4: Mix pigment and linseed oil

Use the muller to mash and mix the pigment and linseed oil slowly. Note what time you start this step.

Step 5: Improve consistency

Add pigment or linseed oil to improve the consistency.

Different kinds of linseed oil have different properties — tack, drying time, etc., — so you’ll want to experiment.

Step 6: Move the mixture to middle

Use the spatula to chase the mixture back into the middle of the grinding slab. Roughly 30 minutes of work will get you normal consistency.

Step 7: Note the time

Once you’re happy, note the time it took from step four until now. Different pigments take different amounts of time to mix with the oil—in the future, you’ll know what to expect.

Step 8: Pack the paint into tubes

Using your spatula, sweep up the oil paint and pack it into the empty paint tubes.

Step 9: Seal the tubes with pliers

Firmly roll the open end of the tube and use pliers to smash the end down to an airtight seal.

Pay special attention to the corners. They’re easy to miss.

Step 10: Label each tube

Label each tube for color and date of manufacture.

Step 11: Clean grinding slab

Thoroughly clean your grinding slab as soon as possible.

Step 12: Store in airtight jars

Store your oil and pigments properly in airtight jars.

To reduce the amount of air in your oil, drop glass marbles into the bottom to raise the level of fluid in the jar.

Step 13: Use as needed

Use the paints as needed.

Did you know?

Commercially manufactured oil paints contain stabilizers, preservatives, and other substances that help extend the paints’ shelf lives but can adversely affect the quality of the paint.

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