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  • Oil paint storageApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-09-05 08:55:44 ... Most recent comment 2018-09-05 16:34:23
    Handling and Transportation Paint Making Storage Studio Tools and Tips

    ​Dear MITRA moderator,

    I start make my oil paint out of pigments and linseed oil, nothing else, and I don't know how to store large amounts like 200 to 500 ml.

    One year until now I used plastic syringes for small amounts and had no problems.

    My first question is: What do you think of keeping this paints in plastic syringes? Would paint react with plastic envelope?

    My next question is more general:

    What do you suggest as best way to store linseed oil and pigment paint?

    Empty aluminium tubes are not economical for me and glass jars load with oxygen during use. Do you know if empty aluminium tubes can be used more than once, I mean can I open them again after use and fill?

    Kind regards,


Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    As long as there is no solvent in the paint and the syringe is made from a stable plastic, it should work fine. I am assuming that you sue it without the metal needle which would clog rather quickly unless is it a very large gauge. I would also worry about pricking one’s finger with a needle containing potentially poisonous pigments.

    Metal syringes were used to store and deliver oil paint for a short period before the adoption of collapsible metal tubes. They were only abandoned because of the expense, not because they were inherently problematic.

    Jars and cans (like the empty paint cans that can be purchased from places that sell house paint) should work if your paint is somewhat soft and you can tap out any air bubbles. However, I have also struggled with them and invariably they develop a crust of dried paint which gets incorporated into the fresh paint ruining the whole. Personally, if I purchase large amounts of paint, I transfer it to tubes rather that keeping it in the can/jar. For the above reason, I would not suggest reusing cans or tubes, you are likely to spoil your paint.

    This subject also brings up the fact that the more simple (and pure) you oil paint (ie only pigment and oil) the more difficult it is to store it without separation. Art materials manufacturers add stabilizers/etc to combat this fact (and some for less noble reasons). These do change the way in which the paint moves and flows especially in higher concentrations. Conscientious manufacturers keep these additions to a minimum and only add just enough to keep the paint from severely separating and allow for storage in the tube. Some painters are unwilling to accept the compromise in handling and prefer to make their own paint. Just remember that there are compromises in using handmade paint as well. It is impossible to make a paint by hand that is fully dispersed and has as high a pigment load as is possible with a roller mill. There are a few manufacturers that make oil paint composed of only pigment and oil, but they are few in number and their products are inherently pricey. This is not to discourage you from using hand ground oil paint. We do this in all of my materials classes.

    Brian Baade
    2018-09-05 12:25:17
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I think aluminum tubes are really the best way to go. They can be sourced affordably- the ones for toothpaste are particularly cheap- but they may not have the cold wax seal that prevents leaks. Play around with your search terms (e.g. cosmetic, lotion, medicine) to find a wider variety.

    My experience is consistent with Brian's information where manufactured oil colors are concerned- most paint manufacturers do use stearates to "gel up" free oil that otherwise sheds from the paint in storage, otherwise the retail displays would be covered in amber stalactites. I don't know any artists who add such amendments in the studio, though. 

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-09-05 16:34:23
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    It is relief to know I can use plastic container in this manner.

    Yes Brian, I have no need to use needles with syringes, I just improvise caps.​

    2018-09-16 11:39:08

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