HELP!!! Did I Add too Much Clove Oil? Will My Paint Ever Dry?

For various reasons (mainly work) I needed my paint to dry extremely slowly.  Before I was able to mix Mark's Slow Dry Medium however, I was in a pinch and tried a mix of just straight clove oil and stand oil as a medium. 

I didn't think I mixed that much clove oil into it (and I thought I kept the medium ratio to 1/3 medium, 2/3 paint), but my paint is taking a painfully long time to dry.

Is it possible I irrevocably ruined the paint? Will it never dry?  Is there anything I can do to improve the situation (any additives I can lay onto the paint to help it dry)?

Or, should I just wait it out?  Will it eventually dry in a year or so?


  • PineTurps

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Heat. Allow the sun to shine on the back of the canvas in a warm room.


  • Thanks dencal. I will give that a try and update the thread.
  • how long is a painfully long time to dry? sdm with paint can take 6 months or a little longer to be dry enough to varnish. so is it really a long time compared sdm normal? Denis' advice is always right (about letting the sun help) in addition to that I recommend patience. 
  • Hello All. For posterity, I thought I would post an update: 

    The paint has dried (thank the lord baby jesus)!  It took almost two months, but it did indeed dry.

    At the time of writing the original post I also made several test marks on a piece of scrap canvas and found that those marks also took about 6 weeks to dry.  I do like the gloss that a lot of clove oil gives the paint.

    As far as strength of the paint film, I put several test marks on a piece of glass (marks straight out of the tube, marks with my slow dry medium and marks with clove oil and stand oil) and let them dry completely.  Then I took a toothpick and tested how much pressure I needed to remove the film from the glass.  I know this was a TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC test, but I was curious anyway. As far as removing the film from the glass, I couldn't detect much of a noticeable difference between the mediums, HOWEVER, the heavy-clove oil medium did seem to produce a film that was prone to crumbling.

    Also worth noting, I added Galkyd to the paint mixed with lots of clove oil and found that the Galkyd reduced dry time, but only by about a week.

    Thanks everyone for your responses.  I am still using clove oil in my slow dry medium, but I have cut it back to about 4% of the medium (and after adding it to my paint, that number goes down to about 2% of the total mixture). It gives me a few more days of paint time.
  • How long do you need the paint to stay open for? Some pigments dry slower and can be used instead of faster drying ones without using Clove oil.
  • It depends on my work schedule, but most of the time I need the paint to stay workable for at least 7 days. I freeze it as needed.
  • Thanks for the update.
  • If you use Walnut oil as a medium and store in the dark you have quite a few paints that last 7 days on the palette and canvas.
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