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oil based paint has formed a gel on top

New Contributor

oil based paint has formed a gel on top

Hi everyone

I have half a tin of left over oil-based paint that I opened planning to use today but found that in the 1.5 years since I originally used it, an orangey brown gel layer has formed on top of the paint and it won’t mix through, it has set like jelly but thicker. 
I used a paint sturer to break through to the paint underneath and that is still a liquid. But is it still ok to use, or will the performance of the paint be compromised?


I’d really appreciate any one who knows a bit about the make up of paints. 

Photo below is trying to show the skin that has formed. It was brown but because of mixing the white paint has gone over the top.




Trusted Contributor

Re: oil based paint has formed a gel on top

Hello @sapphi 


Welcome to Bunnings Workshop! Oil based paints have a shelf life of anywhere from 2 to 15 years. Depending how well it was sealed and stored. One of the best ways to tell if your stored paint has gone bad is to test it on a piece of board or timber. If lumping occurs, chunky sized bits of paint has formed despite a vigorous stir. Extreme bad smell like rotten eggs highly concentrated. Even then if it passes these tests the paint itself could be compromised because of mold growth or contamination from the container itself. Sometimes the integrity of the paint has been compromised and does not last as long as you would like. I recommend getting new paint just to be safe. You may bring your current can to the shop to allow the paint specialist to colour match the paint in the can. If you have time we would love to see your diy project here on workshop. If you have any questions or anything else we can help with please post it here on workshop. 





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Re: oil based paint has formed a gel on top

Thanks for your question, @sapphi.


I'm all for using paint if it's possible. Just yesterday, I was stirring up some 6 years old acrylic paint that was full of chunks. I decided not to use it as I couldn't blend it into a smooth consistency. The remaining chunks could contain an essential part of the paint, whether that's pigments or bonding agents.


My concern with you using this paint is although it appears like just a portion of it has solidified, it not quite that simple. Chances are that the portion that has remained a liquid is compromised to some extent, and as @redracer01 has mentioned, this could mean several things. Unless you are using this on something that is not important, I will encourage you to use some new paint.


Please let us know if you have any questions.




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