Jump to navigation Jump to search


A substance that accelerates the drying of oil-based paints, varnishes and inks. Driers are usually metallic salts of organic acids (i.e., metal soaps). Examples are cobalt linoleate, cobalt oleate, and cobalt naphthenate. Organic acid salts of most heavy metals, such as manganese, cerium, lead, chromium, iron, and zinc, can be effective driers. A prepared liquid drier, or siccative, generally acts as a catalyst to speed the polymerization and oxidation processes involved in the drying of oils and alkyds. Some pigments also act as driers, such as lead oxide and manganese oxide. In recent years nonmetallic driers, such as orthophenathroline, are being used as replacement for the toxic heavy metal driers.

Synonyms and Related Terms

siccative; cobalt drier; drying agent


  • Heavy metal compounds are toxic by ingestion and inhalation.
  • Excess driers dan cause surface skinning and wrinkling.

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996