How Long For Oil Paint to Dry on Wood?

Image of wood painting but  How Long For Oil Paint to Dry on Wood?Oil painting is arguably the most common way to paint, and it allows you to fulfill your art to numerous surfaces, among them wood. Oil paints have more pigments in them, which gives more striking and rich colors. This is probably why oil paints are esteemed more than other painting options. For good measure, its hard-wearing properties make both interiors and exterior wood seem more appealing. But what gives DIYers a nightmare is how long for oil paint to dry on wood?

Oil paint is slow drying, unlike other painting formulas like acrylic, gouache paints, etc. Because of this, oil paint does not integrate a fixed drying duration. Its drying time is dependent on the paint’s brand, environment, pigment color, and quality of the pigment. By approximation, most oil paints would need 6-8 hours to dry. 24 hours is on the safer side.

Continue reading as we unfold more concerning oil paints on wood. 

How Can I Make Oil Paint Dry Faster?

One of the pain points of oil paint is waiting for it to dry. Usually, oil paints take longer to dry because they have a thicker consistency. Because of this, it is difficult for air to pave through it, making it take longer to dry. For that reason, most users are constantly looking for methods to speed up the drying time of oil paints. 

In answering the question at hand, I have created a list of techniques to boost the drying time of oil paints. Keep reading for more details on the subject: 

  • Location-based Drying

Location-based drying is a passive technique involving planning ahead regarding where you decide to paint. With this technique, you will want to opt for a non-humid space that has excellent ventilation.

The logic behind this is that oil paints dry quickly with little moisture in the air plus a continuous flow of dry air. On top of that, employing dehumidifiers, using fans, and opening windows also aid in minimizing the drying time of oil paints. 

Note: If you opt for this method, it’s wise to clean up your workspace before painting for the best effect. 

  • Acrylic Underpainting for Oil Painting

This option encompasses underpainting your project in acrylic paint. As opposed to oil, acrylics dry significantly quickly and function well as a base coat. Using acrylic as a base coat also benefits being a cost-effective project, given that acrylic is cheaper than oil paints. 

  • Thin and Light Painting

You can improve your oil paint’s drying time by applying it in thin and light coats. This method can be difficult to adapt, considering that most painters are accustomed to relatively thick layers of paint. But the moment you get it right, you will like the outcome. 


For the best outcomes, use individual strokes. 

  • Linseed Based Oil Paints

Oil paint is made using assorted oils and the variation in drying time depends on the types of oils used. One of the oils used In the making of oil paints includes linseed oil. This option is known to dry considerably faster than the rest. With that in mind, I suggest you opt for linseed-based oil paints for the best results. 

  • Paint With a Particular Type of Color

The prime factor in the drying time of oil paints is the paint type you opt for. This necessarily has to do with the source of the pigments in your oil paint. For instance, paints with cobalt and chrome-based pigments tend to dry quicker than cadmium-based paints. 

On that account, it’s wise to use iron-oxide paints as an underlayer, considering that they dry relatively faster. 

  • Drying Mediums 

There are numerous drying mediums available that can fasten the drying time of your oil paint. One example is a mixture of linseed oil and low odor thinners. These two mediums will hasten the drying time of your oil paint even as they increase transparency and the paint’s flow.

Then as well, this mixture works even better when a more profound effect is needed. But, based on your paint’s consistency, drying lasts for less than 24 hours, allowing you to proceed with painting. 

Here is a list of the drying mediums available on sale today. 

Fastest Drying – Approximately 2 Days

  • Burnt Umber. 
  • Cobalt Blue.
  • Prussian Blue.
  • Burnt Sienna.
  • Permanent Mauve.
  • Raw Umber.
  • Raw Sienna. 
  • Flake White.

Medium Drying – Approximately 5 Days.

  • Perylenes.
  • Pyrroles.
  • Bismuth Yellow.
  • Mars Black.
  • Zinc White.
  • Cadmiums. 
  • Titanium White.
  • Lamp Black. 
  • Ivory Black. 
  • Sap Green. 
  • Ultramarine Blue. 
  • Ochres. 
  • Cobalt Violet. 
  • Cobalt Green. 
  • Burnt Sienna. 
  • Winsor Blue. 

Can a Hair Dryer Dry Oil Paint? 

On average, oil paints take up much more time to dry than other paints. Because of that, DIYers look for alternative methods of lessening the drying duration of oil paints. And as a direct result, this raises objections to the question, can a hairdryer dry oil paint? 

Yes, a hairdryer can dry oil paint. But to understand why a hairdryer is a better pick for drying oil paint, you first have to be well-versed with knowledge concerning how oil paint dries. Oil paint requires the oil to oxidize to dry correctly, unlike acrylic, which requires the water to evaporate. 

Ideally, the oxidation process takes a longer duration than evaporation in acrylic. And that’s why most users look for methods to dry their oil paints quickly. 

Here is a quick resolution of how to dry out the paint with a hairdryer. 

To begin, turn on your hairdryer and hold it at least six inches away from your oil paint surface. After that, aim to distribute an even amount of airflow over the oil-painted surface. This way, you will have reduced the drying time of your oil paint as it will dry much quicker than normal. 


You don’t have to waste electricity by switching on the heat settings on the hairdryer. Even if you turn it on, the heat won’t provide any value considering that you aim to intensify the airflow over the oil paint and not heat. Turning on the heat settings might also bring about water evaporation in the oil paint, making it crack with time. 

For good measure, the best way to clasp your hairdryer is on the perimeters of your oil painting. In this position, sufficient airflow is blown across the entire oil painting, making it dry quicker than usual. 

However, your situation will come into play and blow air directly on the oil painting; suppose you find it easier. 

How Quickly Will a Hair Dryer Dry Oil Paint?

Even though a hairdryer is sanctioned to minimize the duration required for oil paint to dry, it isn’t easy to assess how soon it can make oil paint dry accurately. This is because of numerous variables involved, such as the type of oil mediums used, the amount of oil in the oil paint, and the power of the hairdryer you use. 

Similarly, people also ask, is there a need to use an expensive hairdryer? No, you don’t have to use a costly hair dryer to dry your oil paint, whereas a cheaper one can do the trick. Worst of all, using an expensive hair dryer usually burns the motor quickly due to immense wear and tear.  

Then as well, all the fancy features integrated with an expensive hair dryer are useless. I say this because oil paint doesn’t require heat to dry; instead, it requires sufficient airflow. 

Are Oil Paints Harmful? 

Oil paints are the most prevalent type of paint; that’s why most people use them for both interior and exterior projects. These paints incorporate a blend of distinguished mineral oils as the core liquid in their formulation. Along with that, oil-based paints also integrate a blend of toxic hydrocarbons and high levels of VOCs

These harmful substances in oil paints can result in severe health issues upon exposure. When you contact oil-based paint fumes, you are likely to experience the following symptoms: stomach pain, irritated skin, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, and difficulty swallowing. 

How to Get Rid of Oil-Based Paint Fumes 

If you find it difficult to vacate a painted room, try these techniques to drive away from the paint fumes in your room. 

First, ensure your space is well-ventilated. You can achieve this by keeping the windows open and mounting fans in your room. Doing this helps distribute fresh and clean air in your workspace exactly when pushing away contaminated air outside. 

Alternatively, you can opt for baking soda to combat the toxic paint fumes. Using this technique is relatively easy: take a few small bowls and pour in a considerable amount of baking soda. Next, scatter the bowls around the room and let them sit overnight. By the next morning, the odor should have disappeared. If not, empty the bowls, refill them with baking soda, and stay for another night.  

Aside from that, clean water and lemon can also drive away the odor. Take several bowls and fill them with water. Cut a few pieces of lemon and place a slice in each bowl. Then place the bowls in different sections of your room. After roughly 10 hours, your room should be safe to stay. 

Why Isn’t My Oil-Based Paint Drying? 

Oil-based paints are known to take longer to dry than other paint options. But sometimes it takes longer than usual because of a few factors which I will unfold in this article. 

Usually, oil paints fail to dry as expected due to three main aspects: 

  • Temperature. 
  • Humidity.
  • Too many paint coats. 

Let’s begin with humidity. 

Oil paints dry through a process called oxidation. So after applying oil paint to your surface, the ingredient that keeps it liquid begins to oxidize away, allowing for a dry finish. With that in mind, high humidity doesn’t offer oil paint a conducive environment for oxidation to materialize. As a direct result, your oil paint won’t dry because the oil in it failed to oxidize in high humidity.

Ideally, 40 to 70 percent is the recommended humidity range that you should work with while painting. 

Applying too many coats of oil paint can result in sticky paint that doesn’t dry easily. The continuous application of these multiple coats is called blocking. In the process, you are blocking the new coat of paint from drying by adding another coat of paint on it too soon. 

You can let the paint dry itself over time, but that depends on the harshness of the blocking. 

Can I Put Water-Based Paint Over Oil-Based Paint? 

Oil-based paints have a glossy surface that doesn’t accept new paint easily. So to improve its adherence qualities, you will want to remove the glossy top surface with fine-grit sandpaper: preferably 180 to 220 grit sandpaper.

Remember, you are not seeking to peel down the entire paint; only sand the surface until it’s no longer slick. After that, clean the surface with a clean cloth to fetch the remaining sanding dust. 

After sanding, wear your protective gears and banish dirt and grime that can interfere with adhesion using TSP cleaner mixed with a bucket of warm water. 

Once you are through, take your sponge and saturate it again in the mixture of TSP and water, lightly wring it out, and wipe down the surface as you pick the remaining impurities. Next, make another pass over the sanded spot with a clean sponge soaked in freshwater. Then allow the surface to dry before priming. 

How Do You Dry an Oil Painting Overnight?

With oil paints, you are bound to enjoy the flexibility to improve your work for several days because oil paint dries slower than other paint options. The ability to modify your project is the prime reason people abandon other paint types in favor of oil paints. 

Despite that great advantage, the slow drying time of this formula has its downsides, especially if you plan to use your painted surface soon. But don’t worry as this article graces you with good news. 

There are techniques to adjust your oil paint drying time, and among them is painting on a flat surface. Usually, rough surfaces take longer times to dry due to the unbalanced perimeters. But with flat surfaces, you have the flexibility to administer the colors evenly, plus the oil paint will harden quickly. 

Is Oil Paint Waterproof? 

Oil paints dry to form a water-resistant coating allowing them to hold out water and extreme moisture. However, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to submerge an oil-painted surface in water as it will come off. Also, you are not allowed to expose your oil-painted project to any rainy situation unless it’s completely dry to the touch. 

Can I Dry Oil Painting In Sunlight? 

Oil paints often dry through the oxidation process; as such, continuous access to fresh air is imperative. But how about sunlight? Does exposure to various light levels affect the drying process? Keep reading as we unfold more of this. 

It’s wise to let your oil paintings dry in the sunlight, but there are also some compelling reasons why you should not do this. For instance, if your oil painting stays exposed to direct sunlight for an extended duration, a chemical reaction occurs, causing discoloration and deterioration. 

It’s best not to let your oil painting sit in direct sunlight for long periods with that in mind. But then again, avoid drying your oil painting in a damp, dark place, considering that the colors may come out muddy. 

How to Dispose of Oil Paint 

If you lack prior experience with oil paintings, it can be tricky to figure out how to dispose of your oil paint after the close of your paint job. Oil paints integrate harsh solvents, which can be too toxic if acquitted into the environment. So you are supposed to dispose of oil paint appropriately to prevent environmental harm from transpiring. 

So the surest way to dispose of oil paint is to allow it to dry out independently. This way, some harsh solvents will come out of the paint, making it safe to dispose of. But then again, you should not dispose of your dried oil paint in your typical trash can. As an alternative, opt for special disposal because the dried paint still qualifies as a toxic substance. 

Can You Sand Oil Paint?

Even though oil paint applies relatively smoothly on surfaces, you cannot avoid brush strokes. With other paint options, it’s easy to sand down the surface to level out the surface imperfections, but it’s tricky to achieve that with oil paints. 

Sanding oil paints elicits toxic dust and fumes, which can be harmful to inhale. So to avoid sanding, it’s best to try out other alternatives like using a sharp knife to scuff up the high peaks on your surface. Or, if you decide to sand, do it with caution. 

Can I Smooth Out Oil-Based Paint? 

Even if oil paints apply smoothly on surfaces, you will always encounter the issue of visible brush strokes. To avoid such a nuisance, it’s best to paint on clean surfaces free from dirt and grime. 

Still, you will want to employ the right paintbrush, such as bristle brushes. Such types of brushes have smooth bristles, which promote a smooth finish. You can also add a protective sealant after painting to make your paint seem more vibrant and smooth. 

Which Paint Is Ideal for Wood, Acrylic Paint or Oil-Based Paint?

The prime contenders for most wood painting projects are oil paints and acrylic paints. Both of these formulas brag it’s own strengths and mishaps. For instance, acrylic paint is known to last longer and is relatively easy to clean. Conversely, oil paint tends to wear out with time and calls for regular upkeep. 

Usually, oil paints penetrate a wood’s surface and offer protection from within, whereas acrylic paint stays on top to form a protective layer. 

So from experience, I suggest oil paints for wood projects because they rarely chip, crack, or scratch easily like acrylic paint. Also, they are easier to apply, and they give you ample time to modify your project. However, one of the oil paints’ downsides is that it’s very expensive, needs harmful additives to be thin, and involves dangerous fumes. 

But if you are running an exterior project such as fencing and siding, acrylic paint Is a better pick. I say this because acrylic paint is very flexible, meaning it will contract and expand even in extreme conditions. Also, acrylic paint can keep up the rich pigmentation, unlike oil paints that fade with time and develop unsightly blemishes. 

Can You Put a Hardener in Oil Paints? 

Yes, it’s recommended to use a hardener with oil paints as it’s bound to speed up the drying process. For instance, for coats that last for three days to dry, a hardener can reduce the duration to a few hours. 

Also, hardeners promote paint durability as your paint will hold out even the toughest weather conditions. So if you are in for an enduring finish that won’t break down at the touch of harsh solvents, you can’t go wrong with a hardener. 

How Do You Soften Oil Paints That Have Hardened? 

The surest way to soften oil paint is by using turpentine. However, be cautious when using this medium as it is rated very toxic once inhaled. It’s even better to use it in a well-ventilated space. Follow this procedure to get the job done with ease;

Step 1 

Bring together your painting, brush, or acquire some dry paint from a tube. 

Step 2 

Put on your gloves and mask and start applying the turpentine regarding the instructions printed on the tin. If you realize the paint isn’t coming off easily, apply more turpentine to a rag, place it on the surface and let it soak for nearly 20 minutes until the paint softens. 

If you want to soften your paintbrush, take a container, pour the turpentine into it and place the paintbrush inside. After a couple of minutes, the dried paint will have softened. Remember, the container you use should be disposed of correctly due to the toxic nature of turpentine. 

How Do You Harden Oil Paint? 

The prime motive of hardening oil paint depends on your liking. You may plan to harden it to maximize durability or harden it for safe disposal. If you plan to dispose of the paint safely, let it dry naturally by placing it in numerous disposable cans. After that, place them outside to receive direct sunlight for a few days. 

Alternatively, you may want to add a paint hardener additive to reduce the time needed for the paint to harden. To use a paint hardener, pour a considerable amount of it into the paint, stir it well with a wooden stick, then let it set. I

f the consistency does not march what you need, add a cup of water into the mixture and continue stirring. After that, let the mixture stay for 30 minutes and watch out to see if it has hardened. 

How Do Fix Oil Paint That is Tacky? 

Tacky paint usually results from improper application or multiple coats when the previous one hasn’t dried. Another cause of tack paint is applying the oil paint on a dirty surface or your unprimed surface. If this happens, you’ll need to go to extreme lengths to ensure you resolve the problem as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, you can fix the tacky oil paint with these helpful tips highlighted below: 

Step 1 

Take a hairdryer, plug it into the socket and program it to the lowest setting. Next, hold the hairdryer inches above the painted surface and begin to blow air directly on the tacky paint. 


Be sure to regulate the heat to the lowest setting. If not, you will risk bubbling the paint. 

Another alternative is to strip and replace. 

Step 1 

This method involves scraping off the tacky paint using a flat-edged scraper: metal or plastic. In the process, ensure that the scraper remains flat throughout to evade gouging the surface. 

Step 2 

Next, pour a small amount of chemical stripper into a rag and apply a thin layer to the oil paint to assist in peeling it off. Continue applying the stripper until you bring down the entire paint. 

Step 3 

Once you are through, use a solvent cleaner to wipe down the entire surface to remove any oil, grease, or dirt. You do this because any of the contaminants mentioned above can make your paint seem tacky after the close of the paint job. Afterward, wipe the surface clean with a rag soaked in freshwater. 

Step 4 

Now that the surface is free from impediments, prime it with an oil-based primer and then paint a fresh coat of paint. The paint should now dry to proper consistency. 

How Do You Know If Oil-Based Paint is Dry? 

It’s easy to tell if your oil paint has fully cured by scrubbing off the surface or washing it. If you realize that the paint accepts intense scrubbing without affecting the finish, your paint is fully dry. 

Try out this method:

First, purchase an ordinary razor blade and use it to scuff up a small area of the painted surface. Hold the razor flat at odds with the paint and a slight angle to the surface. You will also want to bend the razor towards you and start to scrape the blade across the painted surface. Some paint will come off in the process, but you don’t have to worry because it’s normal. 

Watch out and see if the paint will come off in a powdery form; it means it’s dry, and you can proceed with multiple coats. But if it comes off in a string, that tells you the surface is still too wet to add another coat. 

Final Thoughts

We have seen that the joy of oil paint is that it permits you to modify your painting project for a smooth finish. As much as it is a highly fancied painting option for DIYers, this formula comes with frustration, such as longer drying times. And for that, DIYers are pleading to know…

How Long for Oil Paint to Dry on Wood?

Oil paint doesn’t have an exact drying duration. Usually, its drying period is dependent on various aspects such as the environment, quality of the pigment in it, and the rest. 

Thanks for your time. Delight in your paint job and let’s meet in the next one.