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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.

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  • An episode of the New Yorkshire Workshop on YouTube shows preparation of linseed oil paint. Maybe he could give you some advice.
    – Jim Stewart
    Feb 13 at 22:28
  • Check out youtu.be/690fp9Q-H48
    – Jim Stewart
    Feb 13 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
    Feb 14 at 15:34
  • Seems like this might be a better fit on Chemistry or Woodworking...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 15 at 16:25
  • 1
    Before creating a new post, it's worth asking a mod to move this one.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 16 at 16:25
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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?
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  • 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
    Mar 6 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
    Mar 14 at 18:21

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