How To Thin Oil Paint Without Turpentine?

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You can use oil based paints to enhance the beauty of your home or for making new art. It may not look good when applying oil paint. But when the work is done, the finished thing will look very good.

You can use some turpentine or mineral spirits with your paint for your residential or commercial projects. Professional painters use a mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits to paint on canvas. The right proportion of paint and thinning agent will give you the gift of a lively final product. Oil paints differ from other mediums as they are not water solvents. Painters need to apply a solvent to thin color.

This is probably the most common way to use solvents to make thin your oil paints but there are some defects. Fortunately, you can make your oil paints thin without using solvents. I am outlining some available options for the artists who want to thin the paint without using turpentine.

Which solvent should be used to thin the oil paint?

You will find 4 types of solvents suitable for use with oil based paints. Among all of them, some solvents are more suitable than all other solvents. Although you will find different types of solvents, most of the solvents have same working properties. These may quicken drying time and reduce density.

If you use excessive solvent into your paint, your paint may look chalky. When we use solvent into paint, it reduces the oil content and may weaken the paint formation. Hence, you should not use too much solvent.

  • Turpentine
  • Odorless Mineral Spirits
  • Oil of Spike Lavender
  • Natural Citrus Solvent

Odorless Mineral Spirits

Odorless mineral spirit is a highly pure and premium solvent that can thin and blend oil paint. This solvent is odor free. It is an effective cleaner for both brush and other tools. This solvent is safe for your studio. You can get them cheaply. It dries very fast. You can easily clean them also. But this mineral spirits may not be as much effective for thinning paint like other solvents.

Odorless mineral spirits are also called white spirits by some people.

Since it is less toxic than turpentine, it is said to be more studio safe. You need to ensure ventilation of your studio while working as it can contain small amounts of chemical toxins.

Although odorless mineral spirits are not coherent with paints like turpentine, it still works successfully. This is the best possible alternative for cleaning brush. You can make odorless mineral spirits by yourself easily. Use any type of drying oil like linseed for making odorless mineral spirits yourself. It will make the paint film powerful and flexible.

 Oil of Spike Lavender : Pleasant scent medium solvent

Lavender spike oil is the most effective and active paint thinner that has a sweet scent. It is not much safer than turpentine as natural one. But this one is safe for the user. Artists use it as oil painting medium.

Lavender spike oil is toxic free and coherent with paint. But this will be costly for your project. The use of spike lavender oil is very convenient for you. It is extracted from the oil plant of Spike Lavender.

Lavender spike oil dries more slowly than other solvents. Since it is expensive, I would suggest you apply a small amount of it to your paint mix. You can also use it to make thin resin.

I like to use lavender spike oil as my solvent. You can also mix lavender spike oil into the first layer of your paint to dry fast. You should not use lavender spike oil for cleaning brush as it is expensive.

Natural Citrus Solvent

We get Citrus Solvent from citrus peels. It has a vegetable essence. Citrus Solvent does not contain petroleum product. Citrus Solvent replaces the extract of most mineral spirits. You can also clean greasy surface with Citrus Solvent. As Citrus Solvent is derived from plant, this solvent is comparatively less toxic and eco-friendly. But the problem is we have only a few info about its reactions and characteristics.

This is a new solvent formulation to the most of artists. Very few solvents are as safe as Citrus solvent. The main ingredients of this solvent are citrus oil and hydrocarbons. Although citrus solvents are environmentally friendly, it can irritate your skin. Therefore, you are advised to wear gloves when using these solvents.

How safe is solvent use?

Solvents are harmful to your health when you breathe. So, if you want to use solvents, you need to use a studio that is safe and well ventilated.

You should not use turpentine if the studio is not actually well ventilated. Without sufficient ventilation, Odorless Mineral Spirit, Oil of spike lavender and Citrus solvent will not be safe to apply.

Things you should do to keep your studio safe:

  • When solvent is not used, keep it in a closed jar
  • Adequate ventilation in the studio room
  • Wear gloves during washing brush with solvents
  • Proper management of solvent and paint waste

Do not discard the solvent. You can refine and use it again. You can also keep the solvents in a container for future use.

You can use a brush washer or glass jar to leave the used solvents for some days to settle at the bottom. You can also use a paper coffee filter and filter out the dirty solvent.

Now, dump your dirty solvents on local hazardous waste facilities.

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