How To Use Walnut Oil For Oil Painting!

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An increasing number of people seem to be looking to use alternative mediums for their oil painting sessions these days and we have noticed more and more people asking about using walnut oil for oil painting. Although walnut oil has a pretty sizeable user base of artists who use it as their medium of choice, the constant stream of people reaching out and asking for advice on how to use it for their painting has encouraged us to publish this article.

We will be going over a number of different things relevant to using walnut oil for your oil painting in the hope that we will be able to help our readers get the most out of their oil paints when using them with walnut oil. Please note that throughout the article, we will be referring to refined Walnut Oil that has been specifically designed for use in arts and crafts, not raw walnut oil.

That said though, some people do use raw walnut oil as a paint medium and although it is usable, refined walnut oil is much better. It offers a more consistent end result with minimal yellowing or fade so we would always recommend that our readers opt to go with refined walnut oil over raw walnut oil. As we are covering so many sub-topic within this article, we have our table of contents below to help any of our readers quickly navigate to specific sections of the article without having to waste time skimming the whole article. If you are new to oil painting though, we would recommend you read the whole article as it will be able to help you get the most out of your walnut oil when painting.

Is Walnut Oil Good For Oil Painting?

Walnut oil is definitely one of the better oil mediums used in the arts and crafts space offering a consistent end result with your oil paints that allow you to plan your artwork out ahead of time as you know what to expect once the walnut oil has dried. We recently published an article going over 11 alternative oil mediums that some people use and one of the main issues that we saw with those mediums is the inconsistent results once dry helping walnut oil score some points.

On top of this, using walnut oil with your oil paints tends not to have issues with yellowing either helping it score even more points over the competing options on the market. Some other oil mediums can also result in a light film that will form over your paints once the oil has dried off or oxidised too but this does not happen when using refined walnut oil pushing it even further ahead too.

Walnut oil tends to be a great choice for lighter colors as well as any layers in your oil painting that you need to dry slower than usual. Although walnut oil is not as slow at drying as poppy oil, it is still slower than average and much slower than something like linseed oil.

Why Do You Use Walnut Oil In Oil Painting?

Walnut oil does have a number of suitable uses when used in oil painting with some of them being more niche than others. There are two main uses that artists tend to use walnut oil for with the most common use being to mix with their oil paints directly out of the tube to change their consistency or manipulate their drying time as required. Walnut oil is a common choice if you are working on the outer layers of your artwork and need them to dry a little slower than usual due to its slower drying time.

The second most common use of walnut oil in oil painting is to mix it directly with pigment to make your own oil paints from scratch at home. Due to the flexibility of mixing a pigment directly with an oil medium allowing the artist to have more control over the color, drying time, and thickness of their paint, more and more people have started to use walnut oil for this purpose.

If the last few years are any indication of things to come, we suspect that more and more people will be using various paint mediums with pigment options to make their own oil paints too. Although people have been doing this for decades, a spike in the popularity of making your own oil paints in this way happened around the end of 2019 and it has only grown in popularity ever since.

Can You Mix Pigment With Walnut Oil?

Walnut oil tends to work well when mixed with a number of different popular pigment options helping you to quickly and easily make your own oil paints at home. That said though, other popular oil paint mediums also tend to work well for mixing directly with pigment but we will go over the alternatives for walnut oil later in the article.

We know that there are a number of popular pigment options out there but we usually recommend that our readers stick to the following three for oil painting with walnut oil tending to perform well with each of them:-

Although the popularity of using other types of pigment such as food coloring and eye shadow is increasing, we usually recommend against using them due to inconsistent results with the coloring of the paint. Food coloring can also fade very quickly so sticking to any of the three opinions above usually offers the best results.

How To Use Walnut Oil To Make Your Own Oil Paint!

Using walnut oil to make your own oil paints is actually much easier than the majority of people tend to think. All you have to do is add a small amount of your paint pigment to your refined Walnut Oil, mix the two together and then check the color to see if it needs adjusting. If it does need darkening then add a little more pigment and mix everything together again and keep repeating the process until your homemade oil paint is the color you need it.

We always recommend that you start with smaller amounts of pigment as it is much easier to add more pigment to darker your own oil paints than it is to add a white paint or other ingredient to lighten it. If you do end up having to add something to lighten your paint when creating it due to adding too much pigment it adds that additional layer into the process that you have to then re-counter balance with pigment making the process much easier.

When making your own oil paint you will usually find that you need much less pigment than you initially though too so if this is your first time going through the process then adding small amounts of pigment in stages is probably the best option. We know that it can take a little longer but it usually gets you much closer to the actual color you want while also keeping the process as simple and straight forward as possible.

Walnut oil can be slightly thicker than some of the other types of oil on the market that is commonly used as a medium too. Due to this, we would also recommend that if you are making large amounts of homemade paint, you use your mixing tool to pull the oil up from the bottom of your mixing container to ensure that the pigment gets mixed throughout all of your oil rather than just the oil sitting at the top of your container.

Does Walnut Oil Make Oil Paint Dry Faster Or Slower?

Walnut oil tends to slow the drying process for your oil paint when compared to other popular mediums such as linseed oil making it an ideal option for the outer layers of your artwork. That said, if you are on a budget and you have the time to wait for your base layers on your canvas to dry then you are able to use walnut oil for your base layers too if you arn’t able to hold multiple mediums in your arts and crafts kit.

Due to walnut oil being one of the slower drying oils that performs well with oil paints, it is generally not used for any work that needs your oil paint to dry quickly though. Although there are some tricks that you are able to take advantage of to speed up the drying time of some of the other oils, these tend not work work with walnut oil so it will always have a longer than average drying time.

Do You Have To Use Walnut Oil When Oil Painting?

Although you don’t have to specifically use walnut oil when oil painting, we would highly recommend that you do use some type of medium when painting using oil paints as it offers a number of benefits. On a global scale, we doubt that walnut oil is even in the top three most popular mediums for oil painting and it may not even be in the top five with there being plenty of alternatives with many of them having their own unique advantage and disadvantages when put up against walnut oil.

What Can I Use Instead Of Walnut Oil For Oil Painting?

We know that there are a large number of alternative mediums that people do use within their oil paintings but we usually recommend that our readers stick to the following six alternatives or use refined walnut oil for the best possible results:-

Although using sunflower oil for oil painting is becoming increasingly popular, we usually recommend that you stick to one of the options above as sunflower oil does have some drawbacks explained in our article going over how to use sunflower oil with oil paints. In addition to this, we have also noticed more and more people asking about using olive oil with your oil paints and we strongly recommend that you avoid using olive oil for the reasons pointed out in our article going over why olive oil should not be used with your oil paints.


That brings our article going over using walnut oil for oil painting to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and we feel that walnut oil does defiantly have a solid place as a medium for oil painting. It offers some solid advantages over some of the other commonly used mediums but if you do want something that will dry quickly then walnut oil is not for you.