Styrenation of air-blown linseed oil by a nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization (NMRP) technique is described. In this technique, air-blown linseed oil bearing hydroperoxide groups was used as a macroinitiator in NMRP of styrene in the presence of 2,2',6,6'-tetramethylpiperidinyl-1-oxy (TEMPO). The effects of various parameters, such as the amount of TEMPO and hydroperoxide groups, were investigated in terms of molecular weight and polydispersity. For comparison, a copolymer sample of air-blown linseed oil with styrene was also prepared in the absence of TEMPO. The film properties of all samples were determined according to the related standards and were compared with respect to surface protection. Samples prepared by the NMRP technique exhibited relatively narrow polydispersity and better film properties compared to those of the samples obtained by the conventional method. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.