Oil Glaze Recipe

For those of you who still use oil glaze (like me), here’s my standard oil glaze recipe.  I call it 3 by 1.

It’s a recipe that seems to work for all of my oil glazing needs.  From a small woodgrain panel to an entire room, this recipe will give you enough open time to work the glaze and dry the next day.

  • 3 parts turpentine
  • 1 part linseed oil
  • plus Japan drier (5-10% – until it looks like iced tea)

The turpentine and linseed oil should be the highest, fine-artist quality.  This will make a huge difference in your results.  Japan drier can be purchased at a paint/hardware store.

Oil Glaze recipe by Pierre Finkelstein

3 ingredients to an oil glaze for any project


Oil Glaze recipe by Pierre Finkelstein

Add Japan Drier until the mixture looks like iced tea

From here, you would add your oil paint.  I only use the finest quality oil colors from a tube.  TIP: be sure to disperse your oil paint on a mixing brush first, so as to mix the colors evenly throughout the glaze.

Look for more posts as I write about each product in depth.

!! WARNING:  When mixing turpentine with linseed oil, a combustible formula is created.  Exercise extreme precaution and proper cleaning techniques.  The mixture can cause a huge fire if left on a dry rag or cotton gloves.  Submerge your soiled rags in water and/or stretch them out to prevent a cozy cavern for combustion.



  1. Honor Jolliffe says


    Can you please tell me if your recipe will darken or discolour the colour of the glaze. It looks dark in the jar but perhaps it dries clear? I need a coloured glaze (ie. not for faux antiquing with a darkening glaze) and I’m wondering if this is the recipe I should use, with the addition of artists’ oil paint. It’f for a large Georgian wardrobe and I don’t want to succumb to acrylics. I’d be so grateful for any advice. I live in the UK where oil-based paint is available.

  2. Dannae Howe says

    Just found this info. Is this glaze suitable for applying onto kitchen cabinets that have been sprayed in lacquer ?
    The paint companies are dropping their oil products.

  3. Pierre,
    Can you tell me what type of linseed oil you like to use for this?
    (boiled, white refined, raw,??)

  4. Pierre, I don’t use oil much, but I’m working on a restoring faux bois in an 1880 Victorian house. When I first started talking with the client, I had no reservations about taking on the project, because I knew you would have a recipe and notes on using oil. Thanks for being such a terrific resource.

  5. Barry S Affleck says

    While I have a great respect for you Pierre You leave me perplexed
    As you know the VOC on an oil glaze would prohibit its use in most of the US and Canada as well as all of EUROPE
    ,I personally disagree with the extremes of these regulations I have to obey
    The laws in place.
    What do you think of the regulated alternatives and have you seen the oil base emulsions now on the market

  6. randy packham says

    al, i use what you use and have for aprox. 30 years. pierre’s glaze is a good old standard, but for my purposes the product mentioned in your comment is unequalled as a great all purpose glaze. thanks, randy

  7. Dear Pierre,
    I am on your email list and I read your item for oil glaze recipe and I reviewed your item, to which I was concerned that you use a high VOC mixture risking the associated health fire risk, clean up and disposal problems. We manufacture water borne alkyds coatings http://www.ozonecoatings.com and although you will not find this product on this web site we do make it for the film industry as a simplified open glaze coating. So if you are interested to test something out which is an oil that is water solvent , 85% sustainable and zero VOC. Please email me back as I will need to ask some questions so you get the product you want for this particular application.
    Best Regards

    • Pierre Finkelstein says

      Thanks for your interest Richard. We use so little of the oil glaze these days. It’s the linseed oil that is the fire risk. I’ll check out your website.

  8. Thanks, Pierre. I still use your basic recipe as I’ve yet to find a good water based system (including Proceed which sisses and sets up too fast for me on big walls).

    My only issue with the basic oil glaze is its lack of body. I frequently use Liquin which flows nicely, and holds brush strokes nicely. I also throw in Dorland’s wax medium to dull it down a bit (although that softens the glaze and isn’t the best on high traffic areas like cabinetry, which I varnish instead to dull it after the glaze has dried).



  9. Thank you Pierre for the recipe . Peter owner , EUROPEAN FAUX FINISHES check my page on facebook.

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