New, alternatives to the expensive DIY slow dry medium


I've been mostly a drawer and am now dabbling in oils. However I am also a student and can't afford to buy all the things to make up the slow dry medium that is suggested.

What could I use as an alternative?
I have lots of time on my hands at the moment so perhaps I don't need to increase the working time as much.


  • N930

    Drop the Venetian Turpentine off the list to save costs. The clove oil will extend the open time.
    Keep all your mixed values and stock color in small airtight containers to minimise loss and waste.

    It is entirely fine to dilute the tube color with stand oil alone. Or you can use walnut or linseed oil with tube color. Many artists use straight tube color. In fact Geneva paint is formulated to be the right consistency for painting without the addition of a medium.


  • Is tung oil ever recommended, it is a nice pure oil, traditionally often used in paints in the region of it's extraction.
  • I am in British Columbia, Canada, and am looking to buy pure Venice turpentine - does anyone have any idea whether Bickmore or Hawthorne are good enough to use as a medium? Seems the only somewhat affordable options I can find....

  • TamDi

    Please experiment and tell us about the virtues and vices of Tung oil.
    Never heard of it being used. Seems to be quite a slow drier. Not a bad thing in the DMP Method.

    Here is a mention from MITRA.

    "Tung oil appears to dry in about two days in moist air, but the resulting film is always wrinkled or cracked and uneven. In dry air about fourteen to twenty-one days are required and a smooth, coherent film is obtained. In either case it takes twenty-one to thirty days for the full gain in weight (12.9 to 13.3 per cent). From this it appears that tung oil is really a slow-drying oil, and that the rapid rate of drying in moist air is not 'drying' in the usual sense (i.e. oxidation and polymerization), but a colloidal change in which moisture acts as a coagulant... It is as unsaturated as linseed oil, but has considerably more tendency to gelatinize or separate in the heterogeneous phase, so that films produced are frequently dull or mat. It also yellows badly and may cause skin diseases."


  • Huguette

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Years ago I bought some Hawthorne on the strength of the MSDS saying that it was 100% pure VT. Never got around to using it as I had previously mixed a huge batch of SDM. It would pay to check again as equine products can vary from year to year.

    if you type the brand name into the search box at the top of the page you can find all the posts made by Forum users of these products.

    My advice is to start with the real McCoy. To reliably obtain the result Mark demonstrates. You will then be in a better position to assess the equine product.


  • edited June 2019
    I think that is probably my goof for this subject, it is really an alternative oil, not a medium, or maybe i have that wrong also.  I used it a lot in woodworking, and it is widely regarded as a very strong oil when dry, and it can take for ever to dry, but how a paint that had it as a base would work, is probably not a practical subject, given availability.

    A popular finish recipe uses it in combination with linseed, which is widely used in woodworking, but is regarded as having an unpleasant smell in enclosed areas, and not as much resistance to liquid spills.  Junks are apparently oiled or painted with tung oil based products.  I read somewhere that it was used in chinese art paint products traditionally.  It has a nice smell, pretty bland.
  • "Keep all your mixed values and stock color in small airtight containers to minimise loss and waste."

    If that is part of your approach you could consider argon gas/bloxygen.  I found the later at at enormous prices, but the local wine store sold it at normal spray can prices, like under ten dollars.  I have it in stock, on occasion, for my welder. 

    One of my favourite dodges with liquids that go off is to put them in a bottle  Or many time the bottle they come in is fine, top the bottle off with argon, and then you get O-ring syringes, often sold as pet feeding syringes, or at the drug store as pediatric dose syringes.  You drill a 1/8" hole in the cap, and drive the syringe in the hole.  So when you want to use the product, just invert so the product covers the syringe tip, and draw out the amount you want to use.  Then turn back upright, and pull out the syringe.  This way the blanket of argon is preserved, as is the contents of the bottle.  Plus you have a neat way of dispensing measure amounts of product. 

    (I also use the syringes for dispensing stuff that does not have an oxydization problem, but where easy dispensing and measurement is handy.   These include mouthwash, dish soap, oils.  With soap, one often uses far too much, haphazardly, and it all ends up in the environment, so you can come to realization of the amount you need, and always use only that amount.  Off topic, but maybe of some use).

    O-ring syringes have a very long life and can even dispense viscous materials like epoxy.
  • CJDCJD -
    edited June 2019
    @Huguette Check out kama pigments and articulations (montreal and toronto) for supplies you cant find locally. I order tubed rublev lead white from articulations. Kama pigments has venive turp but its kind of a pointless thing to buy I have no idea why mark still has that in his sdm mix.

    If you really want it i can send you mine i live in victoria.

    I also order brushes from rosemary in the UK. Let me know if you have other questions on buying materials in Canada.
  • I've never attempted to paint over Tung oil. I've used it to help preserve the wood in antiques and furniture veneers. I think  it is similar in behavior to mineral oil which never seems to dry. It rejects water very well on wood surfaces if it is renewed periodically and some folks use it on butcher blocks and cutting boards.
  • Tung oil certainly dries, I have used lots of it on furniture, it is the base of so called Danish oils.  The raw stuff is reluctant to dry.  The famous Maloof furniture finish is raw linseed, and raw tung, with the last third varnish.  The driers in the varnish are enough to kick it over.  It is often also used on stuff like bowls, and so forth, that are used for food, as the right stuff is non-toxic.  There are quite a few things sold with tung  in the name, that are just short varnishes of some type.
  • I think tung and linseed are similar in their drying formats, in that there are versions that hardly dry at all, and versions that are reliable driers, and the base for many formulas.
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