Linseed is a staple among artists but also among anyone that works with paint. It’s something that is easy to run out of. Also, some people may have an allergy to an ingredient found in linseed oil. Either way, this article will help you find a suitable substitute.
The best linseed oil substitutes are fast-drying oils that dry clear and won’t yellow over time. Some common substitutes even contain linseed oil as an ingredient. Typically, different types of oils are used as a makeshift for linseed oil, yet other substances, such as turpentine, can also suffice.
Let’s take a deeper look into the properties of these oils and the pros and cons of their uses in painting and woodworking. Read on to learn more about them and how they can benefit you in your creative pursuits!
1. Walnut Oil
Walnut oil has been used in painting for centuries now. It was a very widespread and common medium, loved by many painters. Its popularity has dwindled in recent decades, but you can still choose to use it for your paintings.
It’s a good alternative because, unlike linseed oil, it doesn’t turn yellow over time and resists cracking, which can help your painting survive into the future.
However, you have to be careful when storing it. Walnut oil has to be refrigerated and kept away from sunlight. This is to prevent it from going rancid and stinking up your studio.
It’s important to note that walnut oil meant for cooking should be avoided. Cooking oils have additives that prevent them from drying, which makes them unsuitable for painting. Instead, use a brand like this one, found on Amazon.
2. Drying Poppy Oil
Poppy oil, extracted from poppy seeds, is another good linseed oil substitute. It increases the gloss of the painting and resists cracking and yellowing, which can make it a suitable replacement.
However, it takes longer to dry than linseed oil, as it’s a semi-drying oil. If you need an oil that dries quickly, you might want to go for something else. Still, if you’re looking for maximum gloss and you can wait, this can be the right oil for you.
Turpentine is primarily used as a solvent, yet oil painters are known to use it for it’s quick dry-time. The paint is diluted by the turpentine, which rapidly evaporates from the surface. This makes it a good choice if you need your paint to dry quickly.
Keep in mind, turpentine doesn’t exactly smell nice, and it can make painters rather dizzy. If you use it, try to minimize breathing it in by wearing a mask or something similar.
4. Stand Oil
Stand oil isn’t exactly a different kind of oil but rather a different kind of linseed oil. The name comes from the seventeenth century, when people left linseed oil out to “stand”, which eliminated impurities.
It leaves a lovely sheen, and if you use it, you won’t leave any brush marks on your painting. It’s suitable for fine details and glazing.
It can also be mixed with some turpentine to make it dry more quickly, which can be a very good combination, as you get good details in a shorter amount of time.
Liquin is one of the most popular oil painting mediums in the world. Its main advantage is that it dries very fast and gives a silky consistency to your paint, as well as a glossy, rich finish.
However, it may not be ideal for your base layers as you need something that dries even more quickly than liquin for that, like turpentine.
Furthermore, even though it’s often labeled otherwise, it can be toxic, so you have to be careful; store it and use it in a well-ventilated room.
6. Tung Oil
We have covered some good substitutes for linseed oil in painting, and now it’s time to take a look at some suitable replacements when it comes to linseed oil on wood.
Tung oil, or China wood oil, is often seen as the finest and most natural finish for wood. It dries with exposure to air, just like most other oils, and leaves a nice smooth finish that looks a bit like plastic.
It doesn’t yellow with time. Instead, it has a clear finish. It’s also more durable and more water-resistant than linseed oil, so it can be a great alternative.
Tung oil is also more eco-friendly and non-toxic, making it a good finish for objects used for prepping food, like chopping boards.
However, it can be challenging to work with as it requires a different application process. It’s also generally more expensive.
7. Teak Oil
Teak oil is actually a combination of an oil and a varnish. The oil used is usually either tung oil or linseed oil, so it’s more of a variation of linseed oil, rather than a substitute.
However, it can be a better choice than pure linseed oil since it enhances the base oil, makes it more durable, and offers better protection.
The best feature about teak oil is that it dries after a couple of hours on wood, unlike pure linseed oil, which typically requires several days. It’s also more water-resistant and provides better protection. For these reasons, it’s a far better option for outdoor purposes.
The major downside is that it’s costly. Nonetheless, it requires fewer layers, so you end up using less of it.
8. Mineral Oil
Mineral oil, which is actually an umbrella term for different, but very similar oils can be a suitable replacement for linseed oil on wood.
Its main advantages are it’s more affordable than linseed oil and very easy to use, which makes it ideal for someone who’s just starting out with woodworking. You also don’t have to apply as many layers, and it takes less time to dry.
Mineral oil also preserves the natural color of the wood, which helps you show off its actual beauty, unlike linseed oil.
One major downside is that it’s not waterproof and is easily damaged by water, so it’s surely not the right choice for outdoor use. You’d also have to reapply it occasionally to preserve the finish.
9. Hard Wax Oil
Hard wax oil is a combination of an oil and a wax, most often tung oil and carnauba wax, and should provide the benefits of both finishes. Specifically, it provides the gloss of oil and the durability and protection of wax, yet without the hard work normally put into waxing surfaces.
It’s very safe, and it can be used for treating all sorts of indoor wooden surfaces, including floors, furniture, and kitchen worktops.
It can be mixed with different colors, or you can leave it in its natural color, allowing the wood to age naturally.
If you’re looking for a really durable option, hard wax oil far surpasses linseed oil.
10. Danish Oil
Danish oil is a mix of mainly tung oil or linseed oil and a varnish. There’s no universal formula for Danish oil; every manufacturer has a unique formula.
The main positive trait is that it dries very quickly, in around fifteen minutes. However, you must apply a layer every day for a few days to get the right results. Over time, you’ll get a thick, glossy coating, like wood varnish.
Danish oil is also waterproof, unlike linseed oil, which makes it suitable for treating outdoor surfaces. It’s also non-toxic and food-safe, so you can also use it for all sorts of indoor surfaces, including kitchens.
Some downsides to this oil are it requires constant maintenance and is time-consuming. Even though it dries relatively quickly, you’ll need to apply multiple coats, which might take up some time.
Furthermore, it can only be applied to bare wood, so you can’t use it on anything that’s already been coated with something. It can also be flammable, so you’ll need to be extra careful when working with it.
Thanks for reading!
For more, check out The 7 Best Ways To Remove Ink From Paper.
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