This idea was sent to us by a painter who solved a problem. The problem is that the caps on tubes of oil paint get locked onto the tubes when the paint around the top dries. Every artist has probably experienced this at one point or another. The paint may leak out the edge of the cap, or just emerge on the side from the extra paint. When trying to remove a locked cap, it is common to twist the tube itself, and the cap may still resist. Finally, a pair of plyers may be necessary.
Here’s a solution that makes sense and seems to work well: Use a cotton-tip, or even a small piece of cloth dipped in Oil of Clove. Rotate the cotton-tip around the threads and cap of the paint tube. Oil of Clove normally slows the drying of oil paint, even more so when covered and not exposed to air. The next time you need to remove the cap, it should come off easily.
Oil paint dries because of oxidation, not evaporation. When you
remove the cap on a tube of paint, the paint is exposed to air and the
paint begins to harden. Even after the cap is replaced the process
continues. That is why old cans of paint develop a skin on the paint
surface, even when the lid has been kept closed. It is also why old
tubes of paint harden, even when the caps have been left on. This
simple technique could save a great deal of hassle – as well as paint!
Thanks to the artist who suggested this!
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