Steps to Restoring Dried Oil Paint

How to Restore Dried Oil Paint (5 Quick Steps)

I often hear this a lot: “Once it’s dry, it’s dry forever. That is one of the reasons oil paintings last so long.”

Well, you might think there isn’t any way to reconstitute a dried oil paint due to its exceptional properties and chemical change (oxidation) of the linseed oil, but a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

Oil paint has a weakness: turpentine. And I’m going to show you just how to restore dried oil paint by leveraging it to your advantage.

Read Also: How to Thin Oil Paint For Paint Sprayer

How to Restore Dried Oil Paint

How to Restore Dried Oil Paint

There is no doubt that oil paint is more durable and difficult to clean, but with turpentine, we can manipulate it.

So if you’ve forgotten to tighten the lid, and as a result, the paint has dried, or you’re just trying to rescue a stiff brush from the oil paint or redo a mistake on a dried art, all hope is not lost.

This article will teach just how to restore dried oil paint without having to do much.

But I’m going to keep it 100 with you. And here is where I’m probably going to lose most readers.

There are two things involved:

One, if you were to revive the paint, unfortunately, it won’t have the same quality as the original paint. But you can still use it for, well, touch-ups or for covering if you apply several layers.

Two, turpentine is toxic to inhale, so only use it in a well-ventilated space.

So are you still down for the task?

If you are, here is how to do it:

Things you’ll need for the Job

  • Any oil paint solvent of your choice
  • Plastic
  • Paint stirrer

Read Also: How to Remove Paint From Plastic Materials

Step 1: Assemble your tools

First things first, get the turpentine on deck.

Turpentine is a fantastic oil solvent – a must-have for any oil-paint practitioner for this operation. It dilutes the paint, clean, and reconditions brushes.

More importantly, you can get it at an affordable price in any art or paint supply store.

Remember we made mention of turpentine as being toxic? Well, there are other preferable solvents for oil paint that you can use to achieve the same result – if not better.

Below are a few odorless, nontoxic solvents that are safer than traditional turpentine:

  • Gamblin Gamsol Oil
  • Martin & F. Weber Odorless Turpenoid
  • Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine

These products won’t disappoint, so endeavor to go check them out.

Step 2: Prep for operation

Steps to Restoring Dried Oil Paint

Secondly, bring the dried oil paint into sight and open it.

Place the open paint can on a plastic sheet to prevent any stain from touching your workspace.

Step 3: Dilute the dried material

Turn 1 oz. of the thinner into the can. Depending on the quantity of paint available in the can, you should either use less or more of the solvent.

However, I encourage it’s best to start with a smaller amount and gradually working up to your desired result.

Step 4: revive the dead solution to live

Use a paint stirrer to blend the thinner as well as the dried paint.

However, if the medium is still too thick to stir, add a ½-oz or 1 oz of thinner and stir vigorously. Continue stirring the solution while adding a little solvent until you’ve achieved the desired paint consistency.

Read Also: How to Remove Dry Paint From Carpet

How do you reactivate dry oil paint?

How to Soften Oil Paints That Have Hardened

  • Acquire turpentine. This can be easily found in most art or paint supply shops.
  • Assemble your painting, brush or squeeze out some dry paint from an old tube.
  • Apply turpentine as necessary. For a painting or a large space, put on gloves and apply turpentine to a rag.

Can you restore dried oil paint?

Oil paints have an entirely different way of being restored if they’re dried out, although it can be done. This is typically done with turpentine, so we’ll save that topic for a different day.

What is the fastest way to cure oil paint?

  • Increase the temperature of the environment which the painting is drying in.
  • Using a hair dryer, blow at the back of the canvas (not the front since it can overheat and crack the paint, and dust can also stick), so the bottom layers will dry before the top layers and prevent dust and debris from sticking on.

Can you rewet oil paint?

Unfortunately there isn’t any way to reconstitute dry oil paint. Watercolor, yes, oils, no. This is because the drying of oils is actually not strictly a “drying” process that can be reversed. It is a chemical change (oxidation) of the linseed oil that the paint was made with.

How do you revive dried paint?

How to Fix Dried Out Paint in a Can

  • Place the open paint can on a plastic sheet to protect your work surface from paint stains.
  • Pour 1 oz. of paint thinner into the paint can.
  • Stir the paint thinner into the dried paint with a paint stirrer or clean stick until the paint is too thick to stir.
  • Add a 1/2-oz. to 1 oz.

How do you clean and restore an old oil painting?

A. The simplest way to clean up an oil or acrylic painting on canvas is to use a white cotton cloth soaked in a gentle soapy water; olive oil–based soap works wonders. You’ll be surprised to see how much grime comes off. Be gentle with paintings with thick impasto, as you do not want to break hardened paint.

How do you liquify oil paint?

The most basic way to thin oil paint is by using a solvent such as mineral spirits or turpentine. Solvents will thin the paint very rapidly and thoroughly and are low viscosity, which means they have a more watery consistency.

How does brush restorer work?

Removes dried paint, varnish and polyurethane from brushes and rollers. Pour into a glass or metal container so that the roller or bristles of the brush are covered. As it may take some time for paint to soften, cover the container with cling film or foil to prevent loss of restorer by evaporation.

Should I clean my oil palette?

How To Clean Your Oil Paint Palette After Each Use. As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to clean your oil paint palette directly after using it. That way, the paint won’t dry and cause a mess the next time you want to create a masterpiece. It’s an easy process, to be sure, and only takes a few minutes.

How do you clean dirty oil paint brushes?

Soaps. Having some soap on hand is a crucial tool in effectively cleaning paintbrushes. If you remove most of the paint from your brushes, soaking your brushes in water with dish soap will help remove the remainder of the paint. Speedball Pink soap is made specifically for cleaning paintbrushes.


So there you have it on how to restore dried oil paint. You probably wouldn’t have guessed how easy it will be reviving such durable paint in just 4 simple steps.

WARNING! It is easier to dilute dried paint than it is to thicken it. Therefore, ensure you keep track of the solvent’s proportion you’re using for the job, as adding too much solvent will cause the paint to be watery.

However, if you encounter any trouble along the way, be sure to lay your complaint via the comment section below. As we will be obliged to answer you ASAP.