Oil paints are one of the best type of paint out there. They allow you to work on art for longer periods of time than other paints, without drying fast. A common practice for preserving oil paints between uses is putting them in the freezer.
So does oil paint freeze? No, putting your oil paints in your home freezer is not likely to reach the freezing point, so you don’t need to be worried about your paints freezing. However, the freezing point of oil paint with a linseed oil base, the most common type of oil paint, is -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Putting your oil paints in the freezer will prevent your paints from drying out. When you put the paints in the freezer, the cold temperature slows down the oxidation process of the paint. The best way to keep your oil paints in the freezer is to wrap them in some plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will keep any air away from the paint. In this article we go over what you need to know about freezing oil paints, and much more. Let’s get to it!
What Temperature Does Oil Paint Freeze?
If exposed to temperatures low enough, oil paint does have the ability to freeze. The freezing point of oil paint is -4 degrees Fahrenheit. In most regular freezers, the temperature is usually set to just 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Freezing Hurt Oil Paint?
Allowing your oil paint to completely freeze can have some permanent impact on the paint. When you are using a paint that has frozen and thawed, the consistency will change. It is common for the paint to become clumpy, stringy, even ropey in consistency. It can also become gritty like water with sand in it.
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If your oil paint does happen to freeze, the best thing you can do is let it thaw. When the paint is completely thawed, stir it around with a paint stirrer, or you can take it to a store to have it shaken up professionally. It is possible that your paint consistency will be normal, but if not, you will need to buy new paint.
However, if you are just freezing your oil paint to preserve it between uses, you might have a better experience with your paint. It has been said that oil paints can work even better when they are used at cold or freezing temperatures.
What Happens to Oil-Based Paint when it Freezes?
When oil-based paint freezes, the emulsion in the paint gets affected. The emulsion is what controls the consistency of the paint, so if this gets ruined, your paint can be done for. In some cases, your paint might be completely fine after thawing, but it is more common that the paint is ruined.
The best way to save your paint after it freezes is to let it thaw gradually on its own. It might be tempting to speed up the process with a hair dryer, but this could further damage the emulsion of the paint. The thawing process can take several hours, but it can make the difference between needing to buy new paint or not.
Can Oil-Based Paint Dry in Cold Weather?
When it comes to the temperature outside, there is a general rule of when it is okay to paint outside and when it isn’t. For oil-based paints, the lowest temperature you should paint in is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the ideal temperature would be between 60 degrees and 85 degrees.
If the temperature is too low, it can negatively impact how the paint binds together with the surface you are painting. This can ultimately lead to cracking and peeling of the paint after it has completely dried. Colder temperatures mean a slower drying time, especially for oil paints.
Since oil paints dry through oxidation, cold temperatures can drastically slow down the drying process. The spirits in the oil paint won’t evaporate as quickly, which can add a significant amount of time for the painting to be completely dry. If the weather is colder, you will need to be patient with the drying of your paint.
If it is warm during the day while you are painting, but the temperature is going to drop during the night, this can cause more problems with the drying process. When the temperature drops, it can allow dew to form on the surface of your painting. This can prevent the paint from forming the hard, protective layer.
When a painting is left to dry in cold temperatures, this also leaves room for other moisture to develop. This could result in staining or even mildew in the future. It is best to bring your painting inside to dry to keep it away from conditions that can cause long-term damage.
Can You Restore Oil Paint?
It is extremely common to forget to fully tighten the lid on your oil paints, which can result in a crusty, dried, separated mess. It will probably cross your mind to just go get new paint, but don’t rush out just yet. It might be possible to restore dried up oil paint, saving you time and money.
Restoring dried oil paint is a pretty easy process. All you need to do is add a thinning medium to the dried paint and mix it together. Before you use any thinning medium, you should make sure that the paint is salvageable.
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If the paint has been separated completely into liquid and pigment, there is still hope for your paint. As long as there is a little bit of liquid left, you can restore it with the thinning medium. It might not last you much longer, but it will get you through your current project.
If you open the paint to find that the only thing left is pigment and no liquid, you are better off buying new paints. The amount of thinning medium needed would compromise the consistency of the paint, and that is not worth it.
To restore salvageable paint, you need to protect your workspace. Thinning medium can easily stain, so you need to cover your surroundings. Next, open the paint and scrape away the crusty parts around the cap. This will prevent them from falling back into the paint when you put the lid back on.
Add the thinning medium a few drops at a time. You can always add more if you need it, but you can’t take any back out. Stir the thinning medium into the paint until it is completely mixed in. Add a tiny bit more, then stir a little longer to reach the right consistency.
When you are finished, put the lid back on the paint as tightly as you can. This will prevent the paint from drying out again for the time being.
It is commonly suggested that you put your oil paints in the freezer to keep them from drying out between uses. It is easy to assume that the paint will freeze in your freezer, but this is not likely. Oil paint will only freeze if the temperature gets below -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The common freezer is only set to 0 degrees.
If you do find yourself with frozen oil paint, you should let it thaw on its own. This will potentially save the consistency of the paint. It is possible for the paint to be stringy or clumpy after it gets frozen, but that is not always the case.