How to make Oil Paint

Making oil paint is a much easier process than most people imagine. If you already have basic tools such as a palette knife, some linseed oil and a clean flat surface: you can experiment by making small batches of paint.

It doesn't really matter which pigment you start with, although you might want to choose an economical earth pigment, to minimize your initial investment and because earth pigments are easier to work with than the mineral pigments.

1. No matter what amount of paint you are making, always start by pouring a small amount of pigment onto a flat non-porous surface.2. With a palette knife make a small crater in your mound of pigment.3. Next pour a small amount of linseed oil into the crater. Start with a small amount of linseed oil. It takes a lot less than you think.4. As you can see in this picture, there is only about a tablespoon of oil for approximately 30g of pigment.
5. Next, take your palette knife and carefully fold the pigment into the oil, taking care that the oil does get away from the pigment.6. Continue to fold the pigment into the oil and blend the two together by applying pressure downward with the palette knife. This is where a sturdy palette knife is crucial. Flimsy ones tend to snap.7. Once all of the pigment and oil have been blended into a smooth paste, the paint can be used right away. You can use this paint directly on your palette alongside any other pre-made paints you may have.

If you want to make paint for storage, go on to the next steps

8. Take the glass muller and place it on top of your pigment paste. Gently move the muller across the surface in a circular motion. This forces the pigment into a more even suspension.9. Once the paint has been mulled out into a thin layer, collect the paint back into the center of the surface. You will notice that the paint has a runnier consistency.10. In order to thicken the paint again, add a small amount of pigment.11.  Fold the freshly added pigment into the paint.
12. With the muller spread the paint out again. Notice how there are little peaks in the paint. This means that the paint is becoming thicker.13. The mulling process should be repeated two or three times, so that more pigment can be packed into the paint. Once the paint has reached the pictured consistency, it is ready to be stored.14. Paint can be stored in any sort of airtight container. For this example we will show how to put the paint into tubes.15. Flatten the end of the tube, so that the paint can be scraped into the tube with a palette knife.
16. Pick up a small amount of paint onto your palette knife.17. Scrape the paint into the tube.18. Repeat.19. Since the paint has a thick consistency, it will gather at the opening, blocking the way for more paint.
20. In order to force the paint further into the tube, grasp the head of the tube in your palm.21. Next pound your closed fist onto the table, thereby forcing the paint into the tube, without destroying the cap end of the tube.22. Once the tube has been filled 2/3 of the way, flatten the remaining portion of the tube.23. Take your palette knife and place it across the end of the tube.
24. Fold the tube upward, thereby creasing the end of the tube.25. Repeat the folding process once or twice and you are done.
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