I have been trying to make my own linseed oil paint by adding pigments to boiled linseed oil. I have added around 500 g of titanium oxide per litre of BLO and around 125 g of zinc oxide (to help speed the drying). The paint mixes well and seems to go on ok but even after leaving to dry for a week or so, the colour can be rubbed of with a cloth (as in you can see white come off on a dark coloured cloth).

I tried to dilute the white I made with more oil and tried adding more zinc oxide (in two separate batches) but the problem still persists.

Any clues would be very welcome!

Thank you.

  • An episode of the New Yorkshire Workshop on YouTube shows preparation of linseed oil paint. Maybe he could give you some advice.
    – Jim Stewart
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 22:28
  • Check out youtu.be/690fp9Q-H48
    – Jim Stewart
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 22:33
  • Thanks @JimStewart. The guy in the video is using a very similar ingredients to me. Maybe his drill mixer works better than the method i used (basically, a spoon!!)
    – Tim Nixon
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 15:34
  • Seems like this might be a better fit on Chemistry or Woodworking...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 16:25
  • 1
    Before creating a new post, it's worth asking a mod to move this one.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


I know it's been awhile, but these questions and answers are visited for years.

I have been using boiled linseed oil and various pigments for painting houses and sheds for about 10 years. It does dry slow, it can still have thicker areas like drips which take months to dry solid. Most of it is dry in three days and in good conditions with fresh made paint in a day its dry to the touch. I have the best luck with red, but white and tan colors have worked ok. If you want faster drying you can add Japan dryer. Someone above mentioned manganese and that's whats in most of the Japan dryers as far as I know. It doesn't take much. I do that if I need one day drying where I need to work on the area immediately.

I dont recommend high levels of zinc oxide. About 10-15% is the upper limit in my opinon. The good aspects of zinc oxide is the mildew prevention. I add 10% for that purpose even to any of the colors. The bad is the brittle nature of the paint, which for house paint is not an advantage. An alternative filler for white is calcium carbonate. Opaque and dense and cheap it can cut down on the cost of the titanium. I use it in most of my paint mixes along with clays in the colored paints.

One advantage you will find is that the standard boiled linseed oil off the shelf it doesnt have a lot of dryer, but this allows the oil to penetrate the wood and the cracks in old paint. This means those of us with old houses which have cracking and peeling paint have a better durability over time as it tends to seal the old paint longer than fast drying commercial paints. I have also been able to use it over latex which was painted on old oil paint, with pretty good results. I do not recommend this as a general practice, but it saved us from significant paint removal work. The possible disadvantage of home mixed paint is that the colors tend to weather unevenly, especially on single coat cover after several years, which I do not mind but may bother some folks.

If you use a higher grade of filtered linseed oil, there will be less mildew, but I have pretty good luck with the 10% Zinc Oxide and the cheaper oil.

  • 1
    Please edit the Answer and format it so it is not a wall of text.
    – user5572
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 13:41
  • Also, "a lot" or "allot", but "alot" == "alittle", i.e. neither is a word.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 17:21

I have had success (though not extensive experience) making linseed oil paint myself using boiled linseed oil from SolventFreePaint.com and pigment from EarthPigments.com. There are a lot of different recipes out there. They all use BLO and pigment; some use a thinner. I don't typically use a thinner. If I use turpentine, it's only if painting outdoors. BLO/pigment ratios vary depending on your desired effect... stain-paint and/or color. See MSDS for Allback paints on the SolventFreePaint site I'm not sure how much zinc oxide really does for speeding drying time; I've read that manganese siccative (which I've not used) is better for speeding drying and zinc oxide contributes to the hardness and strength of the paint (reacting with the BLO chemically, forms soaps when in contact with free fatty acids). I have read that zinc oxide can contribute to cracking of artist paints, see post on justpaint.org

So here are some things to consider

  1. Is your paint applied too thickly? Thin coats cure more quickly; some thicker coats will result in oxidization of the surface and take a really long time for oxidization of uncured paint below the surface (BLSO paint cures, not dries).
  2. Is your paint project in a cool location or a location that doesn't receive any UV light?
  • thanks for the detailed answer. I have had a look at some of the information in the links you provided. I have accordingly tried super thin coats of the white having run in it a little food processor for 15 minutes. I was leaving it to dry in the garage so yes cool and little UV. This sample is in the house by the window.
    – Tim Nixon
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 19:27
  • Tim, just to note that UV basically has no effect on the drying of oil or enamel paints. With white oil paint it can definitely help lessen what's called primary yellowing (versus it drying in the dark) but that's it. The only two factors that noticeably affect drying are heat and airflow, assuming constant humidity.
    – Graphus
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 18:21

One thing that may or may not be an issue with your paint chalking up on you is how dry the wood is. If you paint while the wood is dry it'll soak up all the oil out of your paint and leave chalky pigment sitting on the surface. What I've been told is best practice is to use plain purified raw linseed oil (not boiled) with no pigment as a 'primer'. It absorbed deep into the wood and fills the wood with oil. Let that soak in and dry, then you paint over that, and the wood won't soak up all your oil. It'll soak in some and the rest polymerize on the surface as a normal paint.

  • 1
    Hi, as outlined in the joining procedure StackExchange is strictly a Q&A site. "Id love a discussion regarding paint recipes that you guys have found to be really good and hold up for years." Wrong venue — If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. from the Help, What types of questions should I avoid asking here?. You want a regular forum for that kind of thing, you can pick from a number, based in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 8:55
  • You are of course welcome to participate here as well if you'd like, to ask any Questions of your own, or to help with Answers. Have a look at the Tour for more on the format here.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 8:58
  • 1
    Welcome to WSE. As Graphus mentioned in his comment, the format of your response is not consistent with how this site works. I have edited out the discussion statements, but the middle paragraph does fit here, so it remains.
    – Ashlar
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 0:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.