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Making brush dip

hello I am going try to make some brush dip and I bought a 16.9oz bottle of artist grade safflower oil but not quite sure how much clove leaf oil to add to it on the video it said 2percent but not sure how much clove leaf oil to buy. The largest bottle I’ve found so far was 4oz on amazon. Can anybody help me out. Thanks


  • dencaldencal -
    edited September 2018

    This quantity of safflower will need 10 ml or .34 oz, so a small bottle will do. However, if you intend to make up the slow dry medium from the formula a larger bottle will be more economical.

  • Quick question are you suppose to use brush dip to clean your brush while painting or is it just used at the end to keep them from drying
  • I do both, use to clean while painting and at the end to help keep my brushes healthy, also extends the life of just about any bristle brush.
  • I use it at the end of a painting session, to keep the brushes wet.  It's important that you don't get any brush dip mixed in with your paint.
  • I recently bought a 100mL container of Burban Safflower Oil and then used an eye dropper to put in 2mL Clove Oil (thanks @Dencal) (2mL was two ordinary eye droppers worth). I just noted that @PaulB said not to get any brush dip mixed in with the paint so I'll have to be careful. 
  • When you start to use a brush wit brush dip in it, first wipe out most of the brush dip.  Then fill the brush with linseed oil, work it in and wipe it out.  Linseed oil and wipe one more time and you're good to go.
  • The way Mark does it, he take a brush from the brush dip, squeezes and wipes out the excess then dips in the new color saturating the brush with paint AND squeezes and wipes THAT paint out then finally he re-dips it in the new color again before painting with the new color. You can't sneeze at that!
  • I did a brush dip times ago using linseed oil and 5% clove oil (I used more than the recommended 2% because the linseed oil dries faster). I tested on two brushes with burnt umber and ultramarine blue and it worked well. Three things I need to ask: First, if the brush dip only contains elements of the SDM, can I simply remove the excess once? I do not understand how the small amount of linseed oil and clove oil can be a problem. Second, if the paint in the brush takes days to start drying because of the medium, can I just leave to use the brush dip only when it will not touch the brushes for about three days?

    And since I had a hard time finding 100% pure clove oil in my town I bought eugenol at a dental product store. Performing tests comparing with clove oil showed the same (very) slow evaporation in both, and in the mixture with paints it proved to be a little stronger. Has anyone else here used this product? I want to use it on the brush dip and SDM.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 2019
    Consider the quantity of residual SDM left in the brush, compared with the amount of SDM in the paint that is on the tip of the brush. The combination would be a gross over dilution on the canvas.

    The clove oil is a much more volatile substance than linseed and left open when not in use will become plain old linseed.

    Medicinal or cosmetic use clove oil is rarely 100% eugenol. Perhaps 5% and cut with water or alcohol, neither of which is a desirable component for mediums. 


  • I remember Carder from 10 years ago, before he began selling his own paints and equipment.  It was lovely to mix the paints yourself, using his special recipe.  Is there anywhere on this site that has these original recipes can be found, whereby you can use a tube of paint and mix it with the correct oils etc to make a great colour that moves well?  I love all this stuff.  Thanks.  
  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 2019

    Mark’s SDM Recipe.

    recipe for slow-dry medium (for all colors except titanium white):

    • 10 parts odorless mineral spirits (any artist-grade odorless mineral spirits will do)
    • 5 parts stand oil or linseed stand oil (this is viscous like honey and is not the same as refined linseed oil)
    • 1 part refined linseed oil
    • 5 parts Venice turpentine *
    • 2 parts oil of cloves †

    For burnt umber, you will need extra clove oil. Please watch this video for instructions on how to incorporate the extra clove oil into burnt umber:

    recipe for slow-dry medium for titanium white:

    • 10 parts odorless mineral spirits
    • 1 part stand oil or linseed stand oil
    • 5 parts refined linseed oil
    • 5 parts Venice turpentine *

    Venice turpentine is not at all the same as what is commonly known as "turpentine", a solvent commonly used by artists many years ago (and still used by some artists today). Venice turpentine, on the other hand, is simply tree sap — a thick resin which is thick like honey.

    † Oil of cloves is sold as "clove leaf oil", "clove bud oil", or simply "clove oil" — any of these forms is fine. You may try looking for it in drug stores, health food stores, or from an online supplier.

    Here is a video tutorial on mixing paint with medium:

  • I've watched many of MC's videos, some multiple times and as some know, I'm trying to assemble everything to begin learning to oil paint.  I had no idea of all the components needed for oil painting.  In for a dime, in for a dollar haha.  But this thread has made me realize I have no brush dip.  I made a brush cleaner from a jar with a screen near the bottom and was going to use walnut oil (read that somewhere).  I guess walnut oil is not slow drying enough?  Or can I go ahead and use it? 
  • JenniferTaylor

    Yes. I use walnut oil with 2% clove oil as a brush dip and general brush cleaner. I often have two or three screw top plastic containers with this solution.

    Tissue wipe off excess paint and grade through progressively cleaner baths.

    Or use as an immersion bath to hold brushes until needed.

    Or segregate brushes into color groups to avoid milking up blacks or greying light colors. I use a stainless steel potscrubber in each to gently agitate the brush.

    For outside work a ziplock bag/s with some brush dip keeps the brushes in good order.

    I use supermarket grade walnut oil as this is not a component in the painting, mostly toweled off before picking up paint.


  • Thanks Denis again for your assistance!  So glad I don't have to buy something else as I JUST finished ordering more supplies, (more than I need right now to get free shipping :) )  On my agenda for next week is building my easel and palette table. 
  • For building your studio furnishings I recommend #12 wood screws with phillips heads instead of drywall screws and a box of BandAids.
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