leaky paints

i recently bought my first set of oil paints and after opening both yellow mid and lemon yellow, they started leaking the oil i guess, from the tube. Even when the tube is closed. It is messy and I also fear the paint would dry up in the long run if it continues to leak the oil. Other colors are fine.

Can I just transfer the paint in a jar to prevent this? What are the disadvantages of doing so. TIA


  • edited September 2021
    Do you mean that they are leaking from the tube itself, as though the tube isn't sealed properly? If it's from the end of the tube, I wonder is it possible to crimp the end of the tube with a pair of pliers or similar?
    The risk with a jar is that it's the exposure to oxygen that causes the oil to oxidise and harden.

    "The linseed oil and pigments oxidize (react with oxygen) and harden, but the oil has a low enough vapor pressure that it doesn't appreciably evaporate. Cross-linking occurs between the relatively small oil molecules, essentially forming a plastic. This isn't really 'drying' since you don't have water evaporating off. Most of the hardening takes place in the first few hours/days/months after the paint has been deposited, but the process never really stops." https://www.vangoghgenova.it/what-happens-when-oil-paint-dries.html

  • Thanks I did not consider the oxidation. So i guess putting it in a jar is not an ideal move. It only leaks from the cap, even when i thought i screwed it close hard enough. maybe ill try putting food wrapper between the lid and the cap

  • Ok. Some paints have some separation of oil in the tube - and with some pigments more than others. People think it's a fault so that makers tend to put in additives to stop it happening (even though the additives are not necessarily good for forming the paint film.) I find Gamblin and apparently Rublev can tend to leak oil initially - both very excellent paints. It sounds more like you may have a faulty cap though.
  • Both Jerry's and Blick sell empty replacement tubes.  I usually buy about a dozen at a time which I use for the problem you describe, or for when a regular tube ruptures, or for when I'm mixing a particular color (in a large quantity) so I don't have to mix it over and over. 
  • My Geneva Burt Umber is very thin and runs out when I invert the tube. The titanium white is thicker than toothpaste.  Not sure why the inconsistency. The recommendation is to massage and mix because the paint may have separated. But that doesn't help with the Burnt Umber.  Anyone else?
  • Welcome to the world of oil painting!  No matter how careful I am, the screw threads of the tube end up coated with paint and oil and the lids never screw back on properly.   I had some that stood for over 10 years like that and I have just started using them again recently.   No problem, the paint is fine.
  • Folks

    Oil paint is about 50/50 pigment and oil. Settlement is inevitable. Mfrs solve this issue with fillers and stabilisers. I don’t want these in my paint.

    Tape paint tubes to a reciprocating saw or random orbital sander from time to time to keep the components combined 

    As the tube screw threads and caps accumulate paint and dry they cause premature drying, oil leakage, cross threading, impossible to close, difficult to open, broken caps and twist breakage on the tube.
    The answer is a quick wipe with oil or solvent on a tissue before each close.

    Teflon tape on the screw thread helps but if not kept clean will hasten the split in the cap.

    I don’t have any of these problems as my paint is detubed into snap caps with SDM, lasts for years.


  • If you put them in jars, which is how our host always painted, you can squirt some Bloxygen into the jar, this is argon, and is inert, and heavier than air.  It will sit on top of your paints and they will not oxidize, unless you pour it out, or with the lid off had enough disturbance that the Bloxygen was driven out.  Bloxygen is sold for this purpose, but also sold for keeping wine.  Unfortunately it is rather expensive, even though argon itself is not, and can be bought in large cylinders for welding.  If you are in reach of a welder, like at a school, you might get a squirt.

    In Canada that cost 50 bucks on Amazon.  You only need enough to cover the paint.  Don't be scared by the tiny weight, it is simply a light gas.

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