Removing olive oil from a mini
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Thread: Removing olive oil from a mini

  1. #1

    Default Removing olive oil from a mini

    Hi Everyone,

    I need a bit of help in rescuing a mini.

    A couple of weeks ago I ran into the problem of 'frosting' resulting from applying a varnish when it was too humid. I haven't painted in years and never used to varnish my models so this was the first time I'd come across this problem.

    While I was gibbering in the corner my wife jumped onto the interwebs and came up with the solution of spraying the mini with olive oil. It worked like a charm and the horrible frosting disappeared almost immediately… The problem is that the mini is now covered in olive oil residue and considerably is more glossy than I'd like it to be.
    I have left it for a couple of weeks, wiping it as vigorously as I dare every few days, but it hasn't helped.

    The only options that I can think of are trying to wash it with a gentle soap and trying to re-apply the matt varnish over the olive oil residue. I am too nervous to try either though because I don't want to do any more damage to the paint work.
    The model is metal, painted with acrylics (mostly old GW paint).

    I would appreciate it if anyone had any advice for me.


  2. #2


    I can't say for sure, but I think a careful wash in lukewarm soapy water should do the trick. I'd definitely advise against varnishing over the top of oil of any kind. Probably your best bet is a combination of the two: wash it as thoroughly as you can, then re-varnish.
    "Facts are the impregnable bulwark that stands between us and the insidious evil of bullsh*t." - Pikey, over on Nagoyahammer

  3. #3
    Senior Member Niranth's Avatar
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    Instead of olive oil, try using a Gloss varnish. Once that is dry, you can use the Matte again. Getting rid of the olive oil, I'm afraid you will be using a bit of dishsoap in some warm water. Rinse it well and let it dry completely before re-varnishing.
    Member of the Kathryn Loch painting fanclub

  4. #4


    Thanks for the replies. I'll try the dish soap thing and let you know how it worked.

    I'll also remember the gloss varnish method if it happens again.

  5. #5


    If I were to do it I'd probably get a decent degreasing dishsoap. Dunk the mini in it or pour it over and let it settle in to all the folds and details for a minute or two so that it can bind to the oil. Then have a filled sink or bucket of water ready and swirl it around until all the soap is off. I'd avoid any sort of scrubbing with anything as it may damage the finish on the model, or it could even work the oil in to the micro pockets of the finish even more. Repeat the process maybe once or twice if need be. Careful not to let it sit too long or try too many times though as the water could start to work apart the coatings on your mini.

    Good luck!

  6. #6


    Washing up liquid in hot water... Washing up liquid is a fantastic degreasing agent and often overlooked. Bearing in mind that it'll clean baking trays of bacon fat, olive oil shouldn't be an issue. As Zilo says though, be careful as the hot water *may* soften your paint a little.

  7. #7


    Well, I mixed some dish soap in with some warm water to make a very mild solution and applied it with an extremely soft brush (used to use it to clean camera lenses). I dapped it on rather than brushing it per say but I applied it quite generously. I left it for a few minutes then rinsed it off under a very gently running tap.
    (I did this all before before I read Zilo's thread and was a little nervous of submerging the model because I didn't know what it would do to the paint.)
    It is mostly dry now and I must say it is a LOT better. There is still a bit of sheen and a few of the spots are more shiny than others. So I think that I'll let it dry properly then repeat the process, this time I'll try slightly warmer water and submerging it.

    @RuneBrush, I couldn't agree more on the degreasing properties of dish washing liquid. I was just worried about possible paint stripping properties.

    Thanks again for the advice.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by YetiSA View Post
    @RuneBrush, I couldn't agree more on the degreasing properties of dish washing liquid. I was just worried about possible paint stripping properties.

    Thanks again for the advice.
    I'm fairly sure that it should be OK - that said I'd keep going with the dish soap as you know that works

  9. #9


    Simple Green is a degreaser, and strips paint pretty good, after a bit of a soak and some scrubbing. If you only rinse it and don't scrub the surface, it may work... and if not, the mini will be stripped and ready to repaint...

  10. #10


    Well, it's morning, and in the cold light of day I can confirm that the light washing has helped but tere is still a distinct oily sheen over the model, particularly in the recesses which are harder to reach. The good news is that it doesn't seem to have damaged the paintwork at all.
    I think that I'll try a slightly more agressive treatment today with a stronger soap mix and a little more scrubbing with the soft brush. Hopefully after a few applications it will start to come right.

  11. #11


    I would be very careful with any manual agitation, even with a very soft brush as that can quickly damage paint. I would rely more on the soaking and dish soap to break up the oil.

  12. #12


    Hi all,
    I just wanted to give you some feedback.
    It turned out that without scrubbing it takes a very long time to get the oil off. I left him in warm soapy water every night for a week before it really started to make a dent and even then he's still slightly shiny. I suppose that a matt varnish would fix that but I'm a bit nervous of varnishing over any oil that is still there, so I'll live with it as it is.

    Overall I think it's easier just to avoid olive oil on miniatures all together.

    If you are interested, this is the miniature in question:
    Nothing special by this site's standards but it's one of the better jobs that I've done.

    Thanks again for the assistance and advice.

  13. #13


    At least your mini looks clean...
    Beside the joke, the paint is good, more highlight ans shadow will make it pop up and look much better... Using diluted paint, thinned with water.
    Good luck for your next mini!

  14. #14


    Olive oil is what we in the arts call a non-drying oil. That is, it stays "wet" and oily forever.

    The oils that oil paints are made from are "drying" oils. They oxidize to form permanent, dry, plastic-like films.

    It might be possible to put a drying oil on a mini and let it dry, although the films are weaker if they haven't any pigment in them.

    Drying oils include the classic linseed oil, walnut oil (but this turns yellow-brown over time) and safflower oil (which is the clearest and least yellow drying oil but gets brittle when it dries -- probably less of a problem on a metal mini).

    I'm glad this wasn't a catastrophe for you.

  15. #15


    Also on top of what has been mentioned here. In order to not get that frosting again do not varnish a model until its paint is thoroughly dry. Do not varnish a model in bad humidity. Read the varnish instructions and hold the can the proper distance from the figure. Shake the can rigorously before varnishing.

  16. #16


    dust it in baby powder it absorbs all moisture so will take your olive oil up and make it easier to rinse off i use this method to take the shine off latex prosthetics and give them a more matte skin like finish and it has never lifted any paint off with it either you may want to blot the mini dry after with some kitchen roll too just to make sure that none creeps back from dilution of the talc when you rinse it

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