30+ Oil Painting Tips for Beginners! {Sketchbook Sunday}

Hi friends! Every time I paint with oils I am filled with a warm pleasant feeling of coming home. Some of this enjoyable nostalgia might come from the fumes but mostly it is because there is nothing quite like the sumptuous feeling of an oil paint loaded brush gliding across the canvas. You have all the time in the world with oils, they won’t dry out on you while you are working no matter where you live and you can build up layers and transparent glazes to get a luminosity that rivals watercolor, only different.

Have you been curious about trying oils? Or maybe you dabble in oil paints but wonder if you might be missing out on a tip or trick that could make your life easier or save you some money? If so check out today’s video where I sake 30+ tips (or oil painting hacks) that will save you time, money and bring more joy to your painting!

Supplies (Affiliate links to Arteza and Amazon used. If shopping on the Arteza website use coupon code PROMO10 for 10% off your order)

Here are the tips (watch the video for ddetailed explanation)

  1. Start with a set of good quality inexpensive paints so you can see what colors you like and replace what you actually use with larger tubes of better paint (and see if oils are for you before spending much) Also, buy an extra tube of white.
  2. Use a limited palette for a more professional look.
  3. Start with loose sketch with a small brush and thinned down paint.
  4. After sketching block in colors in a thin coat.
  5. Use a disposable palette and scrape it off so you can reuse it again (it’s less wasteful than the paper towels you will need to clean a wood palette)
  6. Use paper towels for clean up instead of washable rags *rags used for oil paint can start a fire in your dryer
  7. Use a brush washing jar (or make your own) with a cleaning screen so you don’t waste paint thinner.
  8. Buy good quality paint brushes once. I like inexpensive synthetic hogs by Royal & Langnickle or Creative Mark. Be sure to clean them properly.
  9. How to clean brushes: rinse in thinner, wipe off excess and follow up with soap and air dry.
  10. Let your washed brushes dry before using with oils again.
  11. Follow the “Fat over Lean” rule which means your first layers of paint are thinned with solvent and last layers are thinned with oil to the top layers dry slower than the first layers to avoid cracking.
  12. Practice your drawing skills because with oils you will lose your sketch as you paint. Knowing to draw will let you draw in your minds eye and you know where your lines belong even after they have vanished.
  13. Use an adjustable board or easel to avoid glare and for comfort.
  14. When colors won’t stick let the paint set up overnight and then you can add a new layer with a softer brush. Remember the Fat over Lean Rule.
  15. Scrape off your palette when you are done for the day.
  16. Save big amounts of squeezed out paint by placing your palette in a sealed plastic try (like a Tupperware that you don’t need for food or in a zip lock bag) to keep it fresh for a few days while you work on your painting.
  17. You can also cover your palette with foil and stick it in the freezer according to many artists. The best practice it to only put out when you will use in a day IMHO.
  18. Have dedicated brushes for oil paints as you could deposit oils onto your other mediums if you use the same brushes for everything.
  19. Recycle old watermedia brushes for oils (but don’t use them for watermedia again)
  20. Save details for the end of a painting and use small brushes gently at this stage.
  21. Add linseed oil to dark colors to help it flow, keep the colors dark and keep your lines fine.
  22. Take your time, the paint dries slow so you don’t need to rush. You can paint in layers over days and weeks or paint “Alla Prima” or all at once.
  23. Have a spot to leave your painting to dry where it won’t be in the way or collect dust or pet hair. 
  24. Varnish your painting 6 months after your painting is done to protect it and even out the paint sheen.
  25. How to use oils in a sketchbook: First prime the page with acrylic gesso or you can do an acrylic paint under painting. This protects the paper underneath. Leave the book clipped open until the painting is touch dry.
  26. Save bright whits and dark darks till the end after your paint sets up a bit so it will layer on top.
  27. Use soft, blunt mop brushes for fans to soften and blend edges where needed.
  28. Use a glazing technique for adding depth and rich layers. Mix paint and oil together to make glazes. Glazes are transparent layers of color applied at the end of a painting.
  29. Buy larger tubes of the colors you really like as it costs less over time
  30. Try water mixable oils if you don’t like the smell or cleanup of traditional oils. 
  31. Add interest in a boring area buy adding spots of a complementary color. I added red in the muddy green foreground.
  32. Use warmer colors in areas you want to come forwards and cool colors where you want things to recede.
  33. Add texture and highlights by scraping into the paint film with the end of a brush or palette knife. This is called sgraffito. You can also apply thick physical textures with a palette knife. Thick passages of color will take much longer to dry.

If you enjoyed these tips check out my other free oil painting tutorials here. Til next time happy painting!


Easy Poppy to Draw and Paint! Learn Line & Wash!

Hi friends! Today’s project has a fun, modern and stylized look! If you have never done a line & wash before this would be a fun project to try. All you need is a waterproof pen and watercolors!

Watch the video to see how!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.


I hope you give this a try. You don’t need anything fancy, a fine point Sharpie and your kids watercolor paints would even do the trick! Have fun and til next time happy crafting!

Get Your Craft On With This Free Printable Card Kit!

Hi friends! You are probably not thinking about Christmas Cards yet but with the heat we have been having it is kinda nice to chill out in my cool craft room and create some! Plus it’s nice to have a few done ahead of time because it gets really busy once the holiday’s roll around!

This video is sponsored by craftsUprint! Snag the free printables for today’s project video here.
*Note, you can download this kit for free. You can also get a free printed version of the 7-page template at the link above. A $4.80 postage & handling fee will apply and they ship worldwide. The printed version will also come with a craft gift worth $4. If you have trouble downloading you can contact CraftsUprint support here.


  • Free craft printable available here
  • Adhesive (strong double-stick tape, foam tape, and glue stick)
  • Ruler
  • Bone folder, stylus or butter knife for scoring

If you enjoyed this tutorial please check out the other On the Shelf cards and other printables CraftsUprint has to offer. These affordable templates are fun, unique and are sure to brighten someone’s day! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Art Deco Inspired Faux Stained Glass Vase

Hi friends! Grab an old jar out of the recycling bin and let’s make a pretty stained glass vase!

I am using this to propagate a begonia and it is so pretty sitting on my windowsill! This project is very easy and you can even do this with kids! Watch the video to see how and check out the end of this post for other DIY ideas to make this project even more affordable!

Sponsored by Smart Art Box. Visit their website to purchase a subscription, see available past boxes and see what countries they ship to. You can purchase the July box here while supplies last.

Frugal Tips!

  • I used store-bought glass paint but you can make glass paint by mixing white glue or glossy Mod-Podge with ink or food coloring. This DIY version may fade eventually but it is a less toxic alternative for kids and cheap too!
  • You can use dimensional fabric paint (like the Tulip puff paint) to draw the leading lines and it’s only about $1 a bottle.
  • You can work directly on the glass instead of using the Duralar film, it will adhere fine, it was just easier for me to trace the design with the film.
  • Another “stained glass” option for little ones is to use bits of cut up colored tissue paper and glue them to jars, it’s pretty!

I hope you enjoyed this project and til next time happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday Fluffy Cat in Gouache

Hi friends! Today’s project was a challenge but it was fun to work through the kinks in this painting.

You can find the real-time version of this tutorial in Critique Club.
Every month you get a new creative prompt, 2 real-time intermediate/advanced tutorials and the ability to upload 2 paintings for an in-depth critique from me to help you grow as an artist. You also get access to previous months tutorials as long as you are a member. Click the link above to learn more or join today! *Some people join just for the tutorials, you only have to upload your work for critique if you want to.

Enjoy the time-lapse version and see how the piece came together.

Supplies (affiliate links to Arteza and Amazon, if shopping on the Arteza website use coupon code PROMO10 for 10% off)

I hope you got a chance to paint or draw today! Happy crafting!

A Project to Practice your Ink Blending!

Hi Friends! This birthday card is fun to make with limited supplies! It comes with an interior pocket that holds a bookmark/tag and would also be handy to hold a gift card! This card can be reused too.

Watch the video to see how!

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry! Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers.



  1. Make an A2 size card and tape it to your workspace. 
  2. Cut a curved line out of a scrap piece of thin paper and cover the bottom half of your card. Cut a circle from a post it note and place in on the paper overlapping the mask.
  3. Use a straight edge of paper as a mask to ink sunbeams protruding from the masked circle in orange ink. Then repeat from the other direction using a different shade of orange or red. Add yellow over it all if desired.
  4. Remove the mask and place the other half of the curvy mask over the sun/sky area and ink the grassy area with shades of green ink.
  5. Stamp the pigs on the hill in black and the roosters towards the bottom. Stamp grass in green and black on the bottom edge and ink around the edges in black.
  6. Remove the tape and add banner to card with foam tape and add enamel dots. 
  7. Use a scrap of paper to make the inside pocket of the card and decorate a tag to go in it. Use the tag for writing so the card can be reused by the recipient!

Feel free to use whatever ink blending tools you like to make this project! The more you practice the better you will get and the more professional your cards will look! Happy crafting!

Try this Refreshing Painting!

Hi friends! Today we are going to pant this refreshing class of strawberry lemonade!

Grab your supplies and follow along!

Supplies (affiliate links used)

I hope you paint something joyful today! Happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: