How to Save Oil Paint on a Pallet

Oil paint is a versatile and durable medium that can create beautiful works of art. However, it can be expensive, so it’s essential to protect your investment by taking steps to save as much oil paint as possible. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips for how to save oil paint on a pallet.

When working in oils, it is essential to keep in mind that you will need more than one color to complete your painting. However, if you do not have enough of the desired color, you can mix two colors on your palette and save the mixture for later use.

By following a few simple steps, you can preserve your oil paint mixtures on a pallet so that they will be ready when you need them. Read on to learn more!

How to Save Oil Paint on a Pallet

11 Ways on How to Save Oil Paint on a Pallet:

1. Use the Right Paint Palette for Your Paints. 

Oil paint will dry on just about any surface, including paper plates for cheap disposable palettes. The only problem is that there is little control over how much paint goes onto the palette- and often, too much paint builds up in the corners of the plate, so you get excess paint that is difficult to consolidate.

The right palette for oil paints should have a smooth surface, just large enough to fit all your paint colors with room in between them. A flat section in the middle of the palette is helpful- this area can be used just like any other spot on the palette, with one caveat- it is best not to let the paint dry in this area as it will be challenging to remix.

2. Use a Palette Knife to Load Your Brush.

When painting, use a palette knife to load your brush with paint instead of dipping the bristles directly into the paint on the palette. This way, you can control how much paint goes onto your meeting, and you won’t have to worry about the paint drying on the palette.

3. Wipe Off Excess Paint on the Palette.

If you want to keep your work surface clean, wipe off any excess paint buildup on your palette onto a piece of scrap paper or newspaper before going back in for a second load of paint. This prevents the buildup from transferring to different colors later in the painting process.

4. Wipe Off Excess Paint on the Palette.

When you are finished painting for the day, clean your brush by wiping it off on a piece of paper towel. This will remove any excess paint and help keep your meeting in good condition next time you use it.

Clean Your Brush by Wiping It Off by Paper Towel

5. Use Disposable Brushes for Quick Paintings. 

If you are working on a fast painting project, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your brush between different colors- switch up to a new brush! Then, when you are finished with the painting or if it begins to dry out before completion, pitch the used brushes and start with a new batch.

6. Store Old Brushes Upside Down in the Water. 

If you don’t mind using the same brush for different paints and intend to clean them between colors, take care of your brushes by storing them upside down in the water. This prevents the paint from caking on your bristles, making it easier to clean when the time comes.

7. Let Your Paint Dry Out Before Cleaning.

If you have a particularly stubborn piece of paint that refuses to come off your brush, let the paint dry out and then try cleaning it again. The dried paint will be much easier to remove than fresh paint, and you won’t have to worry about ruining your brush in the process.

8. Soak Your Brushes in Turpentine or Mineral Spirits.

If cleaning your brush doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you can try soaking it in turpentine or mineral spirits for a few minutes before trying again. This usually loosens up paint that is stuck in the bristles. However, if you are using turpentine, be careful to use it outside or in a well-ventilated area with proper ventilation.

9. Try an oil eraser for stubborn paint buildup.

If your brush is gunked up and nothing seems to work, you can try using an oil eraser to clean it. Just rub the bristles up against the abrasive side of the eraser. This is the last resort, though- only use this method if your brush seems completely hopeless!

Using an Oil Eraser to Clean Paint Brush

10. Make Your Disposable Palettes With Paper Plates and Tape.

If you are painting on location, you don’t have to worry about any of the trouble with cleaning your palette. Instead, simply buy a package of paper plates at the grocery store, cut them into squares big enough for one area color, and tape the edges together. This is a great way to make art on location because you can stop whenever you need no cleaning necessary!

11. Paint With the Least Amount of Water Possible.

This may seem counterintuitive when cleaning your brush, but water makes paint harder to remove than oil. If you are trying to clean palette or brushes that have paint caked on them, try working in some mineral spirits or turpentine instead of just plain water- it will make the job a lot easier.

Some Tips and Suggestions:

Here are some tips on how to save oil paint on a pallet.

  1. Keep the paint thinned to the right consistency. This will help it to spread more easily and dry faster.
  2. Spread the paint out in a thin layer. Do not try to put too much paint on the pallet at once.
  3. Use a scraper or palette knife to move the paint around and mix it.
  4. Dip your knife or scraper into the water to help move the paint around and clean it off before storing it away.
  5. Put a lid on the paint before putting it away for storage. This will help prevent drying out and keep dust from collecting on it.
  6. Store the paint vertically. Never stand the paint up horizontally as this can cause air bubbles and keep it from drying well.
  7. Store your oil paint pallet vertically to help prevent air bubble buildup and uneven paint drying.
Store Your Oil Paint Pallet Vertically

Why Should You Save Oil on a Pallet?

You should save oil paint on a pallet to prevent the color from drying out. It can become difficult or impossible to use if the paint dries out. Another reason to save oil paint on a pallet is to keep the paint organized and easy to find. When the paint is stored in this way, it’s easy to identify the color you are looking for. Finally, saving oil paint on a pallet helps protect the paint from dust and other debris.

Can You Reuse Oil Paint on Palette?

Yes, you can reuse your oil paint on a palette if it is in good condition.  And that means that it will need to be clean and free of any debris from the brush. A crusty layer on top means that the paint underneath has dried up and will not come off with just a little bit of solvent. The best way to clean the paint is to scrape it off with a palette or putty knife.

If the paint is in bad condition, you can mix it with solvents to make it usable again. But be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before doing so, as some paints are not meant to be mixed with solvents.


Oil paint is a common medium for artists working in oils. Painting with oil can be challenging when the colors become too dry and thick, making it difficult to work with. It’s essential to conserve your materials by saving them on palettes before they become unusable! The best way to save oil paint on a pallet is by using plastic wrap.

The plastic wrap will protect the paint from drying out and breaking down. This may be an inconvenient solution, but it’s worth considering if you’re trying to preserve your expensive paints for as long as possible. We hope this blog post on how to save oil paint on a pallet has been helpful. If you have any questions on this topic, feel free to comment below!

Jennifer Branett
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