Paint Thinner

Paint thinner

Paint thinner or Mineral Spirits is a solvent for oil based paint.  There are many different grades and suppliers of this widely used product.  It seems like the prominent brand changes from state to state.  I always try to use a product in the mid to upper range of quality.  The cheaper formulas often have noxious chemicals added to warn people of the poor quality.  I like to keep the chemical odors down on my jobsites.

cuff mark

In decorative painting, we use paint thinner for the following instances:

  • to thin down oil paint / alkyd paint
  • to thin down oil varnish – although I prefer turpentine
  • to thin down paste wax to make it more liquid
  • to clean your soiled oil brushes before washing with soap and water
  • removing wax off furniture or walls
  • good, greasy cleaner for black scuff marks on baseboard
  •  for “opening up” oil glaze


Since paint thinner “eats” oil, it is very effective at dispersing glaze to create organic effects like fisheyes on Shagreen or texture on certain marbles.

paint thinner technique

fisheye look on Shagreen


marble - paint thinner

Red griotte faux marble


  1. Judy Schell says

    Thanks for good information.

  2. Great technique and thanks for sharing.

  3. Pierre,

    Bravo, excellent idea! If you continue to put this much energy into your blog, you will eventually be “King of all Painters”! I am very pleased to see this resource for the rest of us, and thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge.

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