Does Drying Oil Paint In The Oven Actually Work?

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For today’s article, we are going to be touching on a question that we see asked a surprisingly high amount from the arts and crafts community and that is the feasibility of drying oil paint in an oven. Although this may sound like an obvious answer to many of our readers, this tends to be a common question amongst beginners to oil painting who have seen the 1997 movie “incognito” by John Badham.

The movie is about a talented artist who takes up the task of faking a lost Rembrant painting for a counterfeiting ring and in the movie, one of his techniques is to use an oven to dry some of his artwork. As with many things when it comes to the movies, “incognito” is not one hundred percent accurate in this technique but it is not totally wrong as many people instantly think either.

If you are an oil painter who is looking to dry your artwork as quickly as possible then our article on how to dry your oil paint faster will probably be more helpful than this article. In that article, we go over actionable tips that you can implement to reduce the drying time of your artwork where as in this article, there are a few technicalities and specific situations involved.

Can You Dry Oil Paint In The Oven?

Unlike some of the other popular types of paint, oil paint does not dry by evaporating its liquid content, it dries via oxidisation meaning that the actual paint oxidises with the air around it with heat playing a minimal role, if any at all. Due to this, the logic of drying oil paint in an oven is flawed as the additional heat provided to the artwork from the ovan does not directly help speed up the oxidisation process to get your paint to dry quicker.

There is one small consideration for this though and that is in a fan based oven as the increased airflow can help to speed up the oxidisation process for your oil paints and reduce the drying time required. That said though, a small fan can offer a very similar benefit and allow you to keep your artwork out of the oven and allow you to dry it quicker too.

With many ovens having grease or the remnants of food in them it usually presents more of a risk than a reward for even trying to dry your oil paints in an oven. On top of that, the majority of people painting on canvas or larger paper sizes will probably not be able to fit their artwork into a regular-sized oven anyway throwing another spanner into the works.

We know that there are some “oil paint drying accelerants” listed on the market that promise the world for drying oil paints as quickly as possible. Although some of these do claim to benefit from heat to help your oil paint dry quicker if added to your paint in a similar way to how you would add your paint to a medium, they tend to over promise and under deliver.

Due to this, we usually recommend that our readers avoid any of these accelerant products with the majority of the community tending to agree with use due to accelerants having a poor reputation. Although they may help get your oil paints to dry quick with heat applied to them, they tend to have down sides such as your paint color fading quickly as well as lined bluring during the drying process.

There are plenty of valid alternatives that we cover in our article on getting your oil-based paint to dry as quickly as possible that you are able to use with minimal or even no downsides at all rather than using an oven. We would always recommend that our readers opt to use any of them or simply wait for their oil paint to dry naturally if possible to get the best results out of your artwork once dry.


That brings our article going over if you can dry an oil painting in an oven to an end. We would always recommend against the practice as there are considerably more downsides to trying it than potential upsides. The more experienced painters amongst our readers were probably already well aware of this but with a number of beginners seeing the incognito movie and asking if it is possible, we just wanted to put a dedicated article out to try and help any readers actually considering using an oven to dry their paints.