View Full Version : Using Solvents

02-14-2004, 03:23 PM
I read from the Hall of Fame about using Turpenoid and it sounds great, but I was wondering..is Bestine (rubber cement thinner) equivalent to that? That is what I had purchased because that was what Gary Greene recommended in his book Drawing Radiant Flowers in Colored Pencil.

02-14-2004, 08:32 PM
bestine is highly flammable and dangerous to breathe. i don't recommend it.

02-15-2004, 03:38 AM
Monica, the very nature of a solvent is hazardous to our health. No safe solvent exits, and if it is odorless, it simply doesn't smell so badly, but it is still dangerous to breathe. Bottom line remains to use it with great care and in a well ventilated area. It is safest not to get it on your skin....which is only common sense as it can be absorbed through the skin.
But : use it carefully, selectively and you can enjoy the results!

02-15-2004, 05:06 AM
personally, I prefer odorless mineral spirits as a solvent.
I learn things the hard way-- my first attempt at using solvent occured by accident. My fingers were raw from blending as I was trying to learn how to use colorpencil, lotion was not working so I tried baby oil. And discovered it was giving me a result I really liked. Checkout post Baby Brother. Used all mineral oil for it. Mineral spirits was next as you have to oil down the board or have grease spots with mineral oil. Well found I didn't have the grease spots with mineral spirits, so odorless was just more pleasant to use.
For those who are highly sensitive mineral oil is not bad at all on illustration board. It will however reduce archival peoperties as well as vibrancy. It is much like a thin watercolor wash.

02-15-2004, 10:57 AM
or use a prisma colorless marker. I still would stay away from bestine. I'm not sure of mineral spirits, but glad to know it works.

02-15-2004, 09:37 PM
Thanks, guys for the helpful advice! I'll have to try out the marker and mineral spirits.

02-16-2004, 06:45 PM
I'm appropriating this thread for my own use, now... lol

I got some mineral spirits, but they sure try to scare you off! The bottle says the fumes are highly flammable, and suggests turning off heaters and motors and not smoking. I can deal with that, but what about the computer?

Also, I thought about putting a bit in a film canister or something, to minimize the damage in case of spilling and make it easier to work with, but the bottle says not to put it in another container. Is this because of the risk of some chemical interaction with the plastic, or so they don't get sued when someone mistakes it for water?

Finally, will this stuff warp the paper? Should I stretch the paper first?

Probably should have thought of this before I bought it... :mad:

02-16-2004, 06:56 PM
Decant into a glass bottle....it will (most likely) 'eat' the plastic. I've never had problems with it buckling paper. But just what it does to the archival qualities....I'd consider that carefully if I was to sell an item. In that case the blender marker may be safer to go with.

02-16-2004, 10:33 PM
A glass bottle with a lid, does fine. I have no to damage in archival properties in 10 years, don't know what happens after 50 years etc.
I did a piece called Grandpa on watercolor paper with no buckling. Usually use illustration board on commission pieces. I also use Q-tips dipped in OMS, to blend with.
Not sure if you ment is the fan of the computer safe to be runninng or what if I spill it next to the computer?
As far as spilling, no, not safe.
The fan, usually don't work on small scale so not enough room near computer.
usually has to be dry (which doesn't take long) before scanning.
I am not sure how other people work, most of my blending occurs in the first several layers not the last layers.

Sue Irish
02-17-2004, 05:22 AM
When using solvents please use caution.

All the main solvents used in art, turpentine - mineral spirits - laquer thinner, - benzine, poured into a new jar look exactly the same. They look like water! If you don't take the time to mark the new jar you eventually end up with a shelf full of odd pickle and jelly jars, half full, with no idea of which is which by look. And, if you now have no idea what those jars contain how will your spouse and children know.

These solvents are available today in oderless form. This reduces your chance of identifying what those jar hold. As a solvent lifts some of the media you are using which then gets transferred to those odd jars, the solvent will pick up the smell of the media, i.e. a jar of turpentine, a jar of mineral spirits and a jar of turpeniod will all end up smelling like oil paint if that is the media which you have been using. So now, not only do they all look the same they all smell the same.

Scented solvents as 'orange' smelling turp and laquer thinner add another problem to their use. Even if we ignore the ecological reasons for not just pouring the left overs out on the gravel driveway, getting rid of them can be dangereous and fustrating. Many trash removal services and landfills have specific and 'hard to conform' to guidelines on how and when you can send them to the dumb. So it is tempting to just pour them out somewhere in the backyard. As these smell great to our household pets and children they can be ingested. A housecat will root out old painting rags from the garbage just because of these added smells or will roll on the spot where you poured out that jar of dirty orange turp.

As noted in this thread many solvents interact with plastic. Depending on the plastic composite these can disolve quickly or slowly. You can inadvertently use a plastic jar, which appears to be doing great, then return many days later to learn it has developed a small leak spreading the solvent everywhere. As the plastic disolves it and the solvent can create new and dangereous compounds .... releaseing dangerous and toxic fumes. If you need, as we all do, to transfer it use a glass jar with a tight fitting lid or a coffee can where the lid can be taped closed, put a masking tape label on it with the solvent's name, the media used, and the date ...

As adviced on the labels please use them in a ventalated area that has moving air - a fan, the fumes are toxic and accumlative - especially for laquer thinner. Not only can these solvents enter the body through smell but also through the skin. Using them for a prolonged period without constantly washing your hands allows the solvents to build up on the skin and enter the blood stream. When this happens you can 'taste' the solvent and media in your mouth.

Oh, might as well add here, the paper towels and rags used with these solvents are extremely flamible. Most solvents are oil based - turp is created using pine sap oil - so the solvent does not evaporate completely. There is always a small residue of oil left of these rags.

As a rule of thumb around the studio here we do use solvents in other containers, usually a large empty coffee can. Pour what is needed into the can, use it, then pour a generous amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent onto the solvent ... about two tablespoons full ... add a little water and mix. Next we throw the dirty paper towels in on top, add more water and mix again. Let that mix sit for a few days, drain and throw the can and it's contents away. The Dawn breaks down the oils and solvents making them safer, it adds a soapy smell that children and animals can recognize as undrinkable, and it saturates the towels so they can't catch fire!

I am not meaning to either teach or preach here - I don't wish to sound pessimistic here - but please use your common sense when working with solvents ... During my earlier days I did quite a bit of sign painting and truck lettering. Long, long days in some closed garage filled with deisel fumes working with laquer thinner, mineral spirits, and lead based sign paints .... as a wood carver I work with turp and mineral spirits with my finishes .... as an oil painter its just about all of these plus the odd media dryers-extenders-refined oils ... so I learned this one first hand.


02-17-2004, 07:37 AM
This is one of the best, pieces of material I have ever seen on getting rid of solvent material. Thanks so much for taking time to write it down.

08-14-2008, 09:32 PM
I have another question for those of you experienced with solvents. I'm using Turpenoid from a large square gallon container and am having a terrible time pouring it into my glass container without spilling it all over. I've tried a funnel, but that's almost worse. Any tips? Is there a pouring spout available that fits these Turpenoid cans? Thanks in advance for any advice.

08-15-2008, 02:05 AM
yes at home depot they make one that fits around the top of the turp can. it is red and looks like the same size as the can opening. it is in the solvents row. I use blender tombo brush pens to blend with. just FYI they work good so far.

check out my stuff at brianjohnsonart.com the pencil ones are done with that technique