A question I often receive is: how do you stop the oil paints (on your palette) from drying out between painting sessions? Knowing how to store oil paints between painting sessions can benefit any level of painter. Especially if you’re in a season, where you’re not able to paint as often.
Now, if you are able to paint consistently. Then, you probably don’t need to worry too much about storing your paints between sessions.
**QUICK TIP if any of your oil paints do get just a little dried out – simply remove the small remnant of dry paint from the portion that is still good.
However, no matter how often you paint. We all experience moments when life gets in the way and we are not able to make use of the fresh paint we squeezed out of our tubes. So, for this reason – it is good to know (a few ways) how to keep your paint from drying out!
Place cling wrap over your palette
When looking at the best ways, for how to store oil paint, often times the simpler the better. So, one the quickest and most simple way to keep the paint on your palette from drying out – is to cover it with cling film or seran wrap. This will slow down the oxidation process and keep your paint from drying too quickly. It is best to seal the cling wrap around the palette to keep any air from getting in.
One thing to be aware of is that the paint might stick onto the surface of the cling film when lifting it off. You can use your palette knife to place it back onto your palette.
Apply a drop of oil on your paint
If you wish to take take it a step further, before you wrap your palette in seran wrap, you can also place a drop of linseed oil on each pile of paint. However, be careful to not put too much oil on your paint as it will then become too thin.
If you wish to skip the seran wrap altogether, you can just place a drop of linseed oil on your paint without covering it. This is a good way if you’re looking for how to store oil paint (for a shorter period) super quickly. It will of course help your paint to dry slower if you do both the linseed oil and plastic wrap covering.
How to store oil paint in a jar
Another option to consider, is storing your paint in a small jar or storage containers. This will keep your oil paint fresh for a longer period of time.
This is a great option, if you have to step away for a bit longer period of time. As it could become a little time consuming to transfer your paint in and out of jars on a consistent basis. You will also need to clean your jars from any remnant paint, otherwise it will dry and affect any fresh paint you place in it.
Use a palette garage
Arguably one of the best ways for how to store oil paint for a longer period of time, is to use a palette garage. A palette garage, is a convenient device that will help to keep your paint fresh for weeks. It is a more appealing and functional option compared to storage jars. You place your paint on a tray and then insert it into a sealable plastic tube. However, before sealing your paint in the tube you place a drop of clove oil onto each paint pile.
This device is also a convenient way to transport your paint when plein air painting or traveling.
Consolidate colors at end of session
When it comes to saving not just the colors you squeezed from paint tubes but also the paint you mixed on your palette, it is best to consolidate all the similar colors together. Larger amounts of paint dry much slower than small amounts of paint. So, the more paint you can join together the better.
For example, in the palette above – you could join together all of the greenish and bluish color mixtures together in one pile. In a separate pile you could join all the warm reddish and yellowish color mixtures. This way they will dry out far less quickly and your colors won’t be too muddy to reuse for your next painting session.
What about you?
Do you make an effort to save your paint from drying out? Or do you paint often enough that it doesn’t matter too much? Let me know in the comment section below. If you have any other special tips for how to keep your paint from drying out (on your palette). I would love to hear about your storage methods in the comments below as well!