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Paint with patience; Oil-based paints and varnishes tend to dry slowly, but sometimes nothing else will do. Follow Julia Gray's top tips for a durable finish.

Use oil-based paints and varnishes for a tough, durable finish that should last for years.

Oil-based paints and varnishes tend to separate, so you need to stir them really well before you use them, ensuring that you reach right down to the bottom of the tin. They sometimes get a skin on them, which you'll need to remove.

Most dry slowly, so be patient and don't do another coat until the previous one's completely dry. Warmth will speed up the drying time, while cold or damp conditions will slow it down and may even ruin the finish.

Use natural bristle brushes for the best results, and clean them thoroughly after use. You'll need to use white spirit or turpentine substitute for cleaning and you should soak your brushes in between coats. It's very easy to ruin brushes by not cleaning them properly and then leaving them to dry.

Wear rubber gloves and old clothes when using oil-based paints and varnishes, as they're hard to remove from your skin - and anything else you get them on. Remember to protect the surrounding area as well.

Over time, oil-based paints and varnishes tend to yellow, especially if they're white or clear. If you're worried about this, choose water-based alternatives instead, which dry quicker and are nicer to use.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 3, 2011
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