Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Acrylic paint is a top pick for painting! It’s easy to work with, fast-drying and offers a huge range of effects. Plus, it’s wallet-friendly for beginners. You can use acrylic paint on loads of surfaces and it dries quickly – the length of time depends on how you use it.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry


Let’s look at acrylic paint and see how long it takes to dry:

Drying Time Of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint takes different amounts of time to dry. It could be a few minutes or a few hours. This is because it is water-based. So, it needs air to dry.

Let’s find out times for various surfaces and how to make it dry faster:

Factors Affecting Drying Time

Acrylic paint drying time depends on various factors such as how thin/thick it’s applied, the environment’s humidity and temperature, and type/brand of paint. Usually, most acrylic paints dry to touch in 10 minutes and are suitable for another coat in under an hour. However, some specialty paints and effects can take longer. Also, thicker coats take more time to dry than lighter ones.

Factors That Affect The Drying Time Of Acrylic Paint

Temperature has a major effect on drying time – cold slows down drying, while heat decreases it. Similarly, high humidity increases drying time, while low humidity decreases it. It’s best to avoid painting in high humidity/cold temperatures, as these conditions can cause acrylic paints to stick or crack once dried.

Different brands have different formulas that affect drying time. Some are fast-drying, but still require extra time. Check individual labels for more info on drying times for each type of paint.

Drying Time for Different Types of Acrylic Paint

The drying time of acrylic paint depends on the type and thickness of paint, as well as the humidity and temperature. Knowing this is essential to understand how long your project will take to dry.

Traditional acrylics dry faster than other paints, and usually take between 10 minutes and a few hours.

  • Heavy body paints have a thick consistency and can take 2-5 hours to dry.
  • High flow paints dry in only 15 minutes! They can be thinned with water or mediums without losing their colour.
  • Textured gels and mediums are thicker than traditional paints. They take between 1-2 hours to dry. Whereas traditional applications take no more than 10 minutes.

Curing Time

Curing times for acrylic paint are crucial to a successful project. Depending on the surface and humidity, curing can take anywhere from minutes to days.

We will now explore details of curing times, including the factors that can affect drying time and techniques to quicken the process:

What is Curing?

Curing is the process of allowing acrylic paint to dry properly. This means it must lose mass, moisture, and tackiness. It also involves oxidation – a process which increases chemical bonds and creates better adhesion between layers of paint. Without proper curing time, acrylic paints may remain soft or not have enough protection.

To get optimal results, set curing times after using acrylic-based products. This ensures the paint’s visual qualities from both appearance and texture last.

Factors Affecting Curing Time

Acrylic paint drying and curing times are affected by many factors. Temperature, humidity and air circulation are the most important. Generally, drying time is around 10-30 minutes and curing is 1-24 hours.

  • Colder temps slow, while warmer ones speed up the process.
  • High humidity slows the coat, while low humidity accelerates it.
  • Good air circulation helps the water or solvents to evaporate faster, making the paint dry quicker.
  • Poor air circulation can lead to cracking or a film that won’t come off until cured.

Curing Time for Different Types of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is very versatile and can be used on many surfaces, such as canvas, wood, glass and metal. The curing time for different types of acrylic paint depends on the type of paint and the area being painted. Heavy-body acrylic paint will take longer to cure than pourable or ink-like body paints. Thick layers and larger surfaces will take longer to dry than thin layers or small surfaces.

Standard acrylic paint usually takes 20 minutes to dry before applying a second layer, and 24 hours to be touchable without smudging. After two weeks, it should be cured, and ready for light cleaning. Hard nonporous surfaces like metal or ceramics will take longer to cure, while porous materials like cardboard or fabric may need less time. Always check the label for curing times, and with proper care, your project will be perfect!

Tips for Speeding Up Drying and Curing Time

Tinkering with acrylic paints can be a fantastic experience for artists. It’s important to know how long it takes for the paint to dry and cure. So, let us examine some tips to help speed up drying and curing times. These will come in handy with your acrylic paintings!

  • Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
  • Use a fan to circulate air and help the paint dry faster.
  • Increase the temperature of the room to speed up drying time.
  • Add retarder or flow improver to the paint to slow down the drying process.

Is Acrylic Easy To Dry

Use a Hairdryer

A hairdryer is great for fast drying and curing of acrylic paint. It is safe for almost all surfaces. You can use it on large paintings, small craft projects, home decor items, etc. With adjustable heat settings, you can decide how intense the heat should be.

Be careful to keep the hairdryer at least 6 inches away from the project. Also, don’t use high settings as it can overheat the paint and cause bubbling or cracking. Make sure you have proper ventilation in place in case the hairdryer produces fumes while being used.

Use a Heat Gun

A heat gun is a great tool for drying and curing. It can reach temperatures from 100 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure your paint doesn’t evaporate or crack, keep the heat gun at least 6 inches away. Move the gun slowly around your project for even heating. Before using, read any safety instructions that come with the device.

Use a Paint Accelerator

To hurry up the drying and curing of acrylic paint, use a paint accelerator! These are additives you can mix in with your paint and use in thin coats. Accelerators contain chemicals, like hexamethlyene triisocyanate. They catalyze the drying process and break down at the same rate as the water-based acrylic compounds. This not only quickens drying, but also lets you control the curing time.

However, not all paints are compatible with all accelerators. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any product.

Use a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a great addition to any paint-filled space! It will reduce moisture in the air and speed up the drying and curing of acrylic paint. You can find them in home improvement stores or online.

When in use, the dehumidifier draws in humid air from the room and cools it down. This causes condensation, which is collected into a reservoir. This reservoir needs to be emptied for the appliance to work effectively. Plus, it reduces odors and health hazards caused by mold or mildew, making the environment healthier.

Remember to keep an eye on the dehumidifier’s reservoir. Don’t let it fill up too much, as this will reduce its efficiency. Make sure to properly insulate the appliance too, to keep water droplets from forming on walls and furniture.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Working with acrylic paint can be tricky. How long it takes to dry can make or break a project. Beginner painters often make mistakes. Here’s a guide to the drying time for acrylic paint and the most common errors to dodge.

  • Drying Time – Acrylic paint takes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to dry, depending on the thickness of the paint and the surface it’s applied to.
  • Common Errors – The most common errors to avoid when working with acrylic paint include:
    • Applying too much paint to the surface
    • Using too much water when mixing the paint
    • Leaving the paint exposed to too much heat or humidity

Applying Too Much Paint

Applying too much acrylic paint can be a mistake. Thick layers of paint may crack or peel while drying, creating an undesirable finish. To avoid this, apply thin layers. When using a brush, drag off excess before beginning strokes. To achieve the perfect outcome, start with one layer of color. Build up slowly and wait for each layer to completely dry before adding another. This will help you get a smooth finish – no crackling or peeling!

Applying Paint in Humid Conditions

Grabbing a can of paint to jazz up your home can be really worthwhile, and it’s really cool to watch the colour come alive. But, there are some usual goofs which could give you a not-so-good result. One of these is painting in humid conditions.

Humidity can mess up the drying process. This can make acrylic paints stay sticky for longer than usual, and this can cause issues like cracking or lifting in the future. To get a better finish and stop any problems later on, it’s important to look into the humidity levels before you start painting.

The best way to dodge painting in high humidity is to check your local climate report before you begin any projects. In humid weather, try doing projects like painting inside, in spaces that have less air circulation and lower humidity levels (you can get a dehumidifier if you need one). If you must paint outdoors, do it in low humidity times like early morning or late evening when moisture levels are lowest. Regardless of where you’re painting, make sure the surfaces are wiped clean of dust and other stuff beforehand–this will help paints stay clear when they touch moisture in the air.

Not Allowing Enough Time for Drying and Curing

Using acrylic paint can be tricky. It takes about 20 mins for it to dry. But that’s not enough for it to be completely cured and durable. This may take up to one week, depending on the thickness, humidity, heat and substrate.

A heat gun or blow-dryer on its lowest setting can help speed up the process. But you should apply sealant no later than three days after finishing your project. This will keep your painting looking great for years!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I speed up the drying time of acrylic paint?

Yes, you can speed up the drying time of acrylic paint. Use a hair dryer on a low heat setting to blow air onto the canvas, or use a heat gun to help speed up the drying process.

Does acrylic paint dry differently on different surfaces?

Yes, acrylic paint can take longer to dry on non-absorbent surfaces such as glass or plastic. On absorbent surfaces such as canvas, it can dry within 10–15 minutes.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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