How To Dry Oil Paint With A Hairdryer Quickly!

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There has been a huge spike in the number of people taking up oil painting recently as more and more people realise that it is an excellent way to pass the time and express their creativity. This has directly resulted in a spike in the questions that we see asked from the arts and crafts community about oil painting.

One of the most important factors of oil painting is getting it to dry as quickly as possible. On average, oil paints do take longer to dry than acrylic paints so its not surprising that we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask about drying oil paint with a hairdryer.

The cheap hairdryer has been a trusty little hack to get your oil paints to dry quicker and it has been used for decades and works well for beginners and professionals alike. That said though, we do see a number of beginners making easy to make mistakes when drying their oil paint with a hairdryer so we wanted to publish this article.

How Does Oil Paint Dry?

To understand why a hairdryer is such a good option for drying your oil paint, you first have to understand how oil paint dries. Unlike acrylic paint that just needs the water in it to evaporate to dry correctly, oil paint needs the oil in it to oxidise.

The oxidisation process for these oils in oil paint tends to take longer than it does for water to evaporate in acrylic paints. This is why so many people look for ways to dry their oil paint fast and we have a dedicated article on the six best ways to dry oil paint as fast as possible.

Unlike acrylic paint where applying heat can make the water evaporate quicker, heat will do little to nothing for oil paint. Increasing the airflow over the oil paint tends to be the best route to take to cause oxidisation to occur as fast as possible and a hairdryer is the perfect too.

How To Dry Oil Paint With A Hairdryer Quickly!

To dry your oil painting with a hairdryer simply turn the hairdryer on, hold it around six inches away from the surface of your oil painting and try to apply an even amount of air flow over the painting. This can drastically reduce the drying time for your oil painting and help it dry much quicker than it normally would.

There is no need to waste electricity by turning on the heat settings on your hair dryer As the heat won’t offer any benefit at all. Your goal is to increase the airflow over the oil paints as much as possible.

Although techniques can vary, one of their easier ways is to hold the hairdryer on the edges of your oil painting horizontally facing inward so the air is blown across as much of the surface area as possible. Your situation will come into play for this one though and you can just blow the air directly at the oil painting if you find it easier and it will still dry quicker than normally.

How Quickly Will A Hairdryer Dry Oil Paint?

Although a hairdryer can drastically reduce the amount of time required for oil paint to dry, it is hard to give an exact estimation of how much quicker it can make your oil paint dry. This is due to there being a large number of variables involved but it will often shave hours off the drying time.

The three main factors involved are the power of the hairdryer you use, the level of oil in the oil paint you use, and the type of oil medium that you use with your oil paints. They all play a roll with your choice of medium usually being the one that will have the most important roll.

Due to mediums just being oils, they also need increased airflow for their drying times to speed up so a hairdryer will help with both oil based and solvent based mediums for your oil paint. Something like turpentine will tend to dry very quickly anyway while also getting your paint to dry quickly too.

Do You Need To Use An Expensive Hairdryer?

This is one of the most common mistakes that we see time and time again. There is no need to use an expensive hairdryer for drying your oil paints and a decent cheap dryer will do perfectly well. The additional wear and tear of using an expensive hairdryer to dry your oil paintings will usually burn the motor out quicker too so it is often better to just buy a cheap hairdryer specific for your oil paints.

On top of this, all of the fancy features that the expensive hairdryers have are usually useless when it comes to using your hairdryer to dry your oil paints. As we explained earlier in the article, the various heat settings do little to nothing for the oils and its the airflow that you want.

The cheaper hairdryers tend to have a very similar airflow motor and power setting to many of the more expensive options without the additional features. This is perfect for what you need and it allows you to save a surprising amount of money when looking for a hairdryer for your oil paints.

How Do You Keep The Hairdryer In Possition?

Keeping the hairdryer in position can be a bit of a pain, especially on larger oil paintings with multiple layers due to it taking much longer to dry. We feel that holding the hairdryer horizontally to the side of the oil paint to cover as much surface area with the airflow is going to be the best option for most people.

That said though, it can be a paint to stand there with your hairdryer for long periods of time. This is why it can be a good idea to invest in a cheap house fan too as it is essentially a set and forget item that offers the same benefits as a hairdryer for drying your oil painting.

You can turn the house fan on, aim it as required, and leave it there for hours to do its job without you having to sit there and hold it. As you progress from beginner to intermediate and start to work on larger oil paintings with more layers a cheap house fan is almost always going to be a better option than a hairdryer for most people.


That brings our article going over drying oil paint with hairdryer to an end. The process is usually much easier, cheaper, and quicker than the majority of people initially think but a hairdryer can be a great way to dry your oil paints quickly. The lower price tag of the hairdryer over some of the other options on the market also makes it an ideal option too.