How to Make Black Oil Paint

Making black oil paint is a relatively simple process that can be done with just a few household items. This article will show you how to make black oil paint using pigment and linseed oil. This paint can be used for various projects, including painting, drawing, and sculpting. Let’s get started!

To make black oil paint, you need pigment, oil, and wax. The most common pigments used in black oil paint are carbon and bone black. You can use any oil as the base for your paint, but linseed oil is the most commonly used. For the wax, you can use beeswax or paraffin wax. Read on to know more!

How to Make Black Oil Paint

10 Ways on How to Make Black Oil Paint:

1. Acrylic Ground

Use acrylic gesso. Acrylic gesso is available in tubes or in a jar, like craft paint. The kind in the jar is easier to mix, and you’ll need less pigment if you use it instead of the tube version. You can buy this at any art supply store or craft/hobby store that sells supplies for children’s art projects.

2. Gouache or Watercolor Ground

There are two types of gouache, regular and opaque. Regular gouache is just as it sounds with water added; it can be used as an oil paint without being mixed with anything else. Opaque gouache will give a deep black without mixing, but you’ll need to thin it first.

It’s important to use transparent colors instead of opaque colors as the latter will not dry as quickly and may even bleed after drying. Regular gouache can be purchased at any art supply store or children’s craft/hobby store. Opaque gouache is available at some art supply stores or online.

3. Dry Tempera Ground

Tempera paint powder is available at art supply stores, craft stores that sell supplies for children’s projects, and some hardware stores (it may be known as artists’ paints). Mix it with a bit of water to thin the mixture, so it has the consistency of pancake batter or cream. Then, you can mix it to your preferred thickness. After mixing, you will need to let it sit for several hours or overnight.

4. Acrylic Ground with White Gouache Paint

First, paint your surface with white gesso or white acrylic paint and allow this coat to dry completely before beginning the oil painting process. Mix a bit of water with the dry tempera powder until it reaches a pancake batter-like consistency.

Mix in black oil paint pigment from a tube or jar of acrylic paint until you achieve your desired shade of black. The white gouache paint you mix into the mixture, the brighter and less opaque your final product will be. You can purchase these items at any art supply store or craft/hobby store that sells supplies for children’s projects.

5. Newspaper Ground

You will need a sheet of newspaper and a small amount of water. First, you’ll need to crumple up the newspaper without tearing it or smearing ink on your hands or work surface. Next, unfold the paper, lay it flat, and then lightly mist it with water using a spray bottle.

Crumple Up the Newspaper

Next, sprinkle dry tempera paint powder onto the newspaper and mist it with more water to help the powder adhere. After this mixture dries, mix in black oil paint pigment until you reach your desired shade of black. You can purchase these items at any art supply store or craft/hobby store that sells supplies for children’s projects.

6. Crayon Ground

Use oil pastel crayons to create this ground. First, crush up the crayons into powder, then mix this with a bit of oil, either linseed or any other type you desire. You can also use vegetable oil instead of mineral oil if desired. After mixing your pigment and base, heat it in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to help it dry and cure. You can purchase these items at any art supply store or craft/hobby store that sells supplies for children’s projects.

7. Use Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna with a Dark Blue Ground

You can purchase these items from any art supply store or hardware store that sells artist paints. Mix a bit of water with the paint to thin it to apply it to your surface in a continuous layer or in several quick brushstrokes. Allow the mixture to dry for a few hours before beginning the oil painting process.

8. Mix Any White Ground With Ivory Black Pigment Powder

Mix ivory black pigment powder with the white ground until you reach your desired shade of black, then lay the mixture onto a flat surface to let it dry for several hours. This mixture will not dry as quickly as other types of ground, so it may be necessary to place your brushstrokes on the canvas several hours apart if you paint during the drying process. You can purchase these items at any art supply store or craft/hobby store that sells supplies for children’s projects.

9. Skip the Cadmiums

Add raw sienna or raw umber to the white ground instead of the cadmium. It will give a reddish-brown which can be toned down with a glaze of burnt umber or burnt sienna. Instead of using cadmium yellow pale for a light, use a mixture of flake white and a touch of raw sienna. This will make a warmer color more flexible in its tonal value when it mixes with black.

10. Use Lighter Colors

Instead of using cadmium colors, substitute in various shades of yellows and oranges. You can create warm skin tones when painting portraits or still life scenes that include figures. Mixing the paint with the white ground will make it more transparent, allowing for brighter colors that are more true to life.

Mixing the Paint With the White Ground

Some Helpful Tips and Suggestions

Here are some helpful tips on how to make black oil paint.

1. For the best results, use white zinc paint instead of titanium white. Zinc oil paint dries very quickly and is much more opaque than standard titanium white (a combination of other colors). However, if you’re in a pinch and can’t find zinc white, any regular white oil paint will work fine!

2. If your black paint is still wet, you can apply some ivory black to darken it.

3. You can also speed dry your paint by placing the container in front of a fan or air conditioner (make sure not to place it too close to either, you might ruin your appliance). Sealing the lid on tight will also help.

4. Once you have your paint, experiment with it! For example, try to make different shades of black by adding more or less white. You can also try adding a small amount of water and playing around with the consistency (the paint should be semi-transparent when wet but dry completely opaque).

Experiment With Paint

5. Experiment with using different kinds of brushes. For instance, long bristled paint brushes are perfect for large surfaces, and tiny detail work can be done with a brush with many tiny bristles.

6. If you’re using this paint to draw on top of previously painted paper or canvas, it’s best to seal your surface first with gesso (or other sealers). This will help your paint to stick better and give it a smoother finish.

7. Color the paper with a pencil first; then, use either watercolor or oil paints! Watercolor may take you longer to dry (so make sure it’s completely dry before using the black paint) but its soft look makes for beautiful designs. Oil paints take a bit longer to dry but give you much more control over the consistency of your paint.

Why Do Transparent Black Oil Paints Work Better?

There are black oil paints, but they aren’t very well known. The reason is that the pigments (like rutile) are rather expensive. However, if you make your black oil paint at home, you might be able to afford it!

It turns out that a good deal of transparent oils works better than regular black oil paints. This is because the pigment, carbon black, absorbs light to create the color we see. However, this creates a problem in that it also limits how much other colors can be mixed (or reflected) with it. Other transparent pigments like bone black don’t absorb as much, which means they reflect more light, making them more useful for transparent glazes.

Which Is Better: Acrylic or Alkyd Black Oil Paints?

Acrylic paints are water-based, while alkyd paint is made of oil. Alkyds contain reactive resins that can cause a chemical reaction when exposed to moisture from the air or the ground, making them worse for use outside, especially in damp climates.

Acrylics are not subject to this problem, so they’re the better choice. They can be used outside without deteriorating. However, alkyd paints dry faster than acrylics. So if you plan on doing many paintings in a short amount of time, alkyds might work better for you.

Acrylic or Alkyd


The oil paint recipe is simple enough to make at home, but you may want to consider investing in a good-quality palette knife for the best results. With these items on hand and an hour or so of time each week, you can produce your black oil paints with this straightforward recipe!

In this post, we have shared how to make black oil paint. We hope that you found these tips helpful and will be able to take what you learned about the process of making your black oil paint with a few simple ingredients. If so, please let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Branett
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