Even if you're just starting out in your journey to oil painting mastery, using the best oil paint supplies will affect your art, so it's important to keep your studio stocked with the best possible equipment.
Oil painting supplies are more accessible than ever thanks to online retailers, but it's easy to be tempted by cheaper supplies that you'll inevitably end up spending more money replacing sooner than later.
There's more to it than just paints, too; from solvent to palettes and palette knives, it can be pretty overwhelming even for experienced painters. To help, we've looked at the pricing, quality, and selection of all of the various products listed below to give you a headstart. An easel is also crucial for oils, so head over to our guide to the best art easels for that – wooden or metal ones are ideal.
The best oil paint supplies
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The best set of oil paints for starting out
+ Good quality
+ Useful colours
- Cheaper pigments
- Standard-sized white
Instead of buying a wider selection of cheaper paints, we recommend this Winton starter set that contains everything needed to mix a broad range of colours. These paints have good lasting power, but you can explore more options, including higher quality oils, in our guide to the best oil paints.
A quality canvas paper for quick studies and learning to paint
+ Easy to use
- Poor presentation
Especially if you're just starting out, canvases and boards (the traditional surface for oil painting) can be expensive and cumbersome, so oil paint paper like this Canson pad is a convenient starting point. For a better finish and presentation, do see our guide to the best oil paint canvases.
The best starter brush range covering different brush sizes
+ Selection of sizes
+ Good value
+ Hog bristles
- Initially sheds
Traditionally, hog hair brushes like Winton's are used with oils, as they're tough enough to handle solvents and thick paint and retain their shape well. They do occasionally drop bristles, but this usually stops after a few uses. See our guide to the best paintbrushes for oils for more options.
A convenient oil paint palette with a neutral surface for easier mixing
+ Neutral colour
- Not reusable
- Limited sizes
This paper palette provides can be held like a conventional palette, but with tearable sheets. This makes it easy to clean up, and excess paint can be saved and sandwiched between sheets. The grey colour is helpful for mixing, providing a neutral base for comparison, but mixing space is limited.
Sturdy metal palette knives ideal for mixing paint
+ Hard-wearing metal
+ Good for mixing
- Handles can fail
- Slightly thick
These RGM palette knives are a great starting point for mixing paint, as they are made out of metal that won't weaken like plastic, and are generally hard-wearing, so they shouldn't snap easily. However, occasionally the stem of the knife will work loose from the handle and need re-fixing.
The best oil paint supply for getting the most out of a tube
+ Strong and durable
+ Long-term savings
- Fairly expensive
- Hard work
This tube wringer is very strong and will squeeze more paint out of a tube than anyone's bare hands can. Metal tube wringers are more expensive than plastic but are significantly more effective and durable. The amount of paint you can reclaim will soon make up for the cost.
Best oil paint supply for thinning paint effectively and safely
+ Low odour solvent
+ Less toxic
- Needs ventilation
- Quite pricey
Gamsol is an excellent choice of solvent with relatively low odour and lower toxicity compared to some other options, making it suitable for beginners and professional artists alike. It's excellent at cleaning brushes and other equipment. Though it is on the pricier side, it can be reused to reduce wastage.
An excellent medium to help oil paints flow off the brush.
+ Good value
+ Doesn't affect colour
- Tricky cap
- Prone to clogging
A little goes a long way with stand oil. It's good quality for its price, and will leave paintings with a glossy finish that's stable over time. It's fairly light and shouldn't affect paint colour. However, the safety cap is fiddly and can become clogged with residue.
The best design for brush washers that is gentle on bristles
+ Kind to brushes
- Quite pricey
- Leaky lid
This brush washer is a more gentle solution than designs that use a grate, and doesn't damage bristles. The clear jar means you can easily see how dirty the solvent is too. Like most brush washers, this design can leak, so it isn't suitable for storing solvent, especially when travelling.
The best oil paint supply for cleaning and recovering dirty brushes
+ Cleans well
+ Removes dry paint
- Quite expensive
- Goes quickly
This cleaner is great for getting leftover - and even dried-on - paint out of a brush, yet gentle enough to preserve natural bristles. It's a little pricey, and goes quickly if you have lots of brushes, but does an excellent job and can sometimes rescue brushes that might otherwise get condemned.
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