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Can You Use Oil Paint on Wood?

Oil paint is extremely popular because of how durable it is. When you are painting wood, it makes sense to wonder if you can use oil paint on it or not. Oil paint has the ability to stick to multiple surfaces, but is wood one of them?

So, can you use oil paint on wood? Yes! Oil paint will work on wood, but there is more to it than just using a paintbrush and applying paint. You need to make sure the wood is completely dry, which is important if it was outside. It is also important to prime the wood before you use oil paint to enhance the way the paint sticks to the surface.

Painting wood is a great way to protect it from water damage, mold, and rotting. For the wood to be protected, you need to properly apply the paint to the surface. Once you know what to do, painting wood with oil paint is a breeze. Let’s read on to find out more!

How to Use Oil Paint on Wood

The first thing you need to do before using oil paint on wood is make sure that it’s dry. This is most important if you stored the wood somewhere like a shed or a garage that is prone to moisture. If the wood is even the slightest bit damp, the moisture will be stuck inside the wood and cause rotting and molding underneath the paint.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Oil Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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After you are sure that the wood is dry, you need to make sure you have a smooth surface to work with. Sand down the surface until there are no splinters sticking out. If you are using a wooden panel to paint on, this shouldn’t take you too long. 

When you have a smooth surface, you are going to apply a primer. It is highly recommended that you use gesso as a primer for the wood. Take your time applying to make sure nothing is getting stuck in the product. For the best results, you should apply three layers of gesso. This will prevent the oil paint from getting absorbed into the wood.

This Mont Marte Gesso Primer is my top recommendation. It works for oil paint and acrylic paint, and offers great coverage.

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Start by painting the gesso horizontally across the wood. Let that layer completely dry, then paint another layer vertically. When that second layer is dry, add another horizontal layer and let it dry for about 24 hours before using the oil paint.

You can sketch a picture that will work as a guide for your painting. If you sketch lightly, the lines won’t show through the paint. If you sketch heavier, you will be able to see the lines. After you sketch, you can start painting. 

When you apply the oil paint, make sure you are applying in thin layers. This will make it easier for the paint to dry and prevent any peeling or cracking in the future. Since oil paint takes such a long time to dry, you should wait plenty of time between layers to ensure the bottom layer of paint isn’t wet. This could cause bubbling paint, which can ruin your painting. 

Does Oil Paint Dry on Wood?

Oil paint does dry on wood, but it is important to remember that oil paint takes a really long time to dry. If you keep checking your oil paint and it’s not drying, there’s no need to worry. It will likely just need a longer amount of time before it is fully cured. Keep checking the paint and remember that dry to the touch isn’t fully dry. 

How Long Does Oil Paint on Wood Take to Dry?

Oil paint is known for being an extremely slow drying. It can take anywhere from 24 hours to 12 days for oil paints to dry on the surface of wood. There is a lot to consider when trying to determine how long it will take your oil paint to dry on your wood.

You need to consider how humid the environment is that your painting is drying in. Areas with higher humidity levels will take longer to dry than lower humidity levels. It is important to make sure you leave the painted wood to dry somewhere that you can control the humidity.

Temperature also plays a role in how long it will take oil paint to dry on wood. Warmer temperatures will help the paint dry faster than colder temperatures. If it is cold outside, you should avoid painting.

Can You Use Oil Paint on Plywood?

You can use oil paint on plywood as long as you follow the proper procedure. Sand down the surface, apply a primer, and paint in thin layers. It is also important to make sure you have a dry, well-ventilated area for the plywood to sit while it is drying. This will protect it from getting debris stuck in the surface. 

Is Oil Paint Waterproof?

When oil paint is completely cured, it forms a water-resistant layer. It will protect from and repel moisture and water, but it won’t be suitable for extended exposure to water. Oil paint will be okay to be rained on, but it will not last being submerged in water.

If you plan on placing wood with oil paint outside, it is extremely important that you have given the paint plenty of time to cure. If you place an oil painted object outside before it is dry and it starts to rain, the paint has a very high risk of being washed off the surface. This will leave your project looking streaky.

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Should you want to submerge the wood that you’ve painted with oil paint, you will benefit from applying a waterproof sealant over the whole surface. This process is simple and should be done right after the oil paint is completely cured.

How to Seal Oil Paint on Wood

First, you need to make sure the sealant you are using is compatible with oil paint. You will then need to make sure the oil paint is completely cured and dry before applying your first layer of sealant. Make sure you keep your sealant layers thin and even across the entire surface. 

Wait for the first layer of sealant to dry completely. This could take as long as 24 hours, so make sure you give it plenty of time. When the first layer is dry, you can add a second layer of sealant. If you want to be extra safe, you can even apply a third layer. 

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You can use a regular sealant, or you can use a waterproof sealant. Either way, the process will be the same. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you cover the entire surface and don’t miss any spots.

Final Thoughts

There are several reasons you might want to paint a piece of wood. When you do, you need to make sure you are using a paint that is compatible with the surface. Oil paint is one type of paint that you can use on wood and have success with. However, you need to always prime the wood first to prevent the paint from absorbing into the wood.

It is also important to note that oil paint isn’t waterproof. It is water-resistant, so it can repel minimal amounts of water, but it can’t be submerged for an extended period of time. If you need the paint to be waterproof, you should consider using a waterproof sealant on top of the whole surface.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your oil painted project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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