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Does oil paint expire?

Does oil paint expire

You want to use oil paint but you don't know if it has expired?

This paint is mainly used for a hobby activity. It is therefore important to use a paint that is still good in order to avoid inconveniences.

In this article, you will discover:

  • Does oil paint have an expiration date?
  • How long this paint can be stored
  • What happens when you use the paint after the expiration date

You will have all the answers to your questions about this subject.

Let's find out together right now.

What is oil paint?

Oil painting is a very special painting technique used by experienced artists. Indeed, this technique is not always easy to implement. For beginners, it is advisable to start with acrylic paint.

Oil paint is composed of pigments and drying oil (linseed or poppy seed oil) to form a paste that dries very slowly. The oil envelops the pigments. The long drying time allows you to work and rework the colors and shapes longer.

Does oil paint have an expiration date?

Oil paints are one of the most durable art materials. They could have a shelf life of 30 to 40 years, depending on their composition and the conditions in which they are stored. It is important to note that storage conditions strongly influence the life of a painting. It is advisable to store it in an airtight, dry container in a cool, dark place.

How can you tell if oil paint is bad?

You can't tell at first glance if an oil paint is out of date. This is because when not in use, the oil can separate from the pigments. This degrades the quality of the paint. It is up to you to determine when you need to replace your oil paint based on your preferences and goals.

Whenever the pigments and oil separate, the paint begins to harden due to the lack of oil. As a result, it's pretty obvious that your oil paint has expired, as the paint will be too dry to paint properly. However, you may be able to paint with slightly dried oil paint, depending on your skill and work.

How do you revive old oil paint?

Before you revive an oil painting, it is important that you are aware of two important things.

First, if you were to revive the paint, unfortunately it will not have the same quality as the original paint. But you can still use it for touch-ups or to cover if you apply multiple coats.

Secondly, the turpentine you are going to use to revive the oil paint is toxic to inhale, so you should only use it in a well-ventilated space.

To do this job, you will need the following:

  • Any oil paint solvent
  • Plastic (tarp)
  • Paint stirrer

paintbrushes on table, oil paints

Step 1: Prepare your tools

First of all, put the turpentine near you.

Turpentine is a fantastic oil solvent, a must for oil paint users. It dilutes the paint, cleans and allows the reuse of brushes.

Most importantly, you can buy it at an affordable price at any hobby or paint store.

Remember we mentioned turpentine as being toxic? Well, there are other preferable solvents for oil painting that you can use to get the same result, if not better.

Below are some odorless, non-toxic solvents that are safer than traditional turpentine:

  • Gamblin Gamsol Oil
  • Odorless Turpenoid
  • Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine

These products will not disappoint you, so try them.

Step 2: Preparing for the operation

Second, bring the dried oil paint can into view and open it.

Place the opened paint can on a tarp to prevent a stain from touching your workspace.

Step 3: Dilute the dried material

Add solvent to the paint can according to the amount remaining.

I encourage the gradual addition of solvent as you go until you get the desired result.

Step 4: Revive the oil paint

Use a paint stirrer to mix the thinner along with the dried paint.

However, if the medium is still too thick to stir, add solvent a little at a time until you reach the desired paint consistency.

Do oil paints dry out?

Oil paints, by their very nature, do not dry out quickly at all. They are very slow and you have to be patient - it takes months for a thick paint to dry out completely (it doesn't actually "dry", it oxidizes, which is why the process is slow).


As you can see, oil paint expires but it takes a long time to arrive. However, if your paint has expired, you have the tips in this article to be able to restore it.

paint by numbers collection

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