Acrylic Paint is known for fast drying and decorative finishes. Users can apply this paint on objects like pumpkins, Walls, Styrofoam, metal and others. After drying, this pigment becomes excellent water resistant. Short-term drying makes this paint convenient and easy to transport overnight. So how long does acrylic paint take to dry?
On average, thin acrylic paint films can dry within ten to thirty minutes. It is the professional conducting paint layering on their jobs. On the other hand, thicker layers can take two to four hours to dry. For complete drying, Acrylic paint takes 24 hours.
Additionally, acrylic paint’s drying time depends on paint thickness, type, temperature, humidity, and other factors. Besides, it also varies on the materials you use to paint. So, we have explained acrylic paint drying time, stages, factors, and other valuable information in this article.
Acrylic Paint Dry Time For Different Surfaces
Acrylic paint includes water-based content that evaporates faster than others. Acrylic paint can be ready in 10 minutes, depending on the materials. Still, it is much faster than oil-based paint, which takes a minimum of 6-8 hours to dry.
The dry time of color is also called “dry to touch” by brands. Different brands of acrylic paint take different times before extra coating or touching. Later, we will take a brief look at it. First, take a brief reminder of the acrylic paint drying time
- Professional grade thin layer takes 10-30 minutes to dry
- When you paint a thick layer in an unusual environment, acrylic paint takes 2-4 hours to dry
- To fully cure, the paint takes 24 hours
Drying time also varies when you paint different materials with acrylic paint. Surface texture plays a vital role in influencing the drying time. Still, the quality and faster drying make this paint versatile on different surfaces. Below are some common materials with the drying time of acrylic paint.
Metal or Rock Surface
Acrylic paint takes 48 hours to dry completely on metal or rocks. Indeed these are hard surfaces that include many dust and curves. Professionals always use paint brushes to decorate these surfaces with acrylic paint. You should also apply primer and sealer over the coating to make the surface more water-resistant.
Acrylic paint takes 20-30 minutes to dry on wood surfaces before touching. However, the time can extend to 12 hours if you paint in humid weather. Indeed, certain temperatures keep the wood surfaces moist for a long time.
On average acrylic paint takes 15-20 minutes to dry on plastic materials. However, water-based paint faces difficulty on smooth surfaces. So you have to apply varnish after the paint coating. It will help to prevent flaking or peeling.
Depending on the layers, acrylic paint can dry on fabric within three to four days. However, you can touch the fabric surface after 24 hours of painting. It is recommended to wash, dry, and heat the paint before applying it. The process will extend the lifespan of acrylic paint on fabric surfaces.
Acrylic paint is an ideal pigment to decorate glass surfaces. On average, the paint takes 24 to 72 hours to dry properly. However, you need to protect the paint by using a primer. It will help to boost the longevity of the paint.
On cardboard, the acrylic paint takes 24 hours to dry. You should use a primer to keep the moisture for an effective result. You can also wrap and seal the coating for a stimulating effect.
Acrylic paint dries faster on most canvases, within 10-20 minutes. An unprimed and thick layer of paint may take more time to dry. Besides, the duration also depends on your surrounding environment.
On average acrylic paint takes 24 hours to dry on a pumpkin. Multiple layers of paint create thick layers and extend the drying time. It is recommended to cover the surface after applying the pigment.
Acrylic paints are highly preferred to paint Styrofoam because other regular paints disintegrate the styrofoam. In addition to it, styrofoam requires several coats to paint properly due to its porous properties. So, it roughly takes 10 minutes to dry the acrylic paint on styrofoam and ready for a second coat.
Note: – Try to apply Acrylic paint on wax or oil-free surfaces for effective results.
Difference Between “Dry to Touch” VS “Fully Cured”
Till now, we have mentioned the terms “dry to touch / fully cured” many times. So, what do exactly the terms mean? And, what’s the difference between them?
Acrylic paint is a water-based pigment that leaves a solid paint film by evaporating the water molecules. Drying to touch is an under-processing stage when you can touch the paint layer. One wrong move or nourishment can damage the top layers of your paint.
On the other hand, fully cured paint ensures the moisture is gone and left behind the solid paint film. There are no wet layers left that can be removed within seconds. Now we discuss the dry stages of acrylic paint to understand the process. Here you can learn in detail about dry-to-touch and cured paint.
Dry Stages of Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paint is a water-based pigment that is prepared with different ingredients.
- First comes pigment that gives color to the paint.
- Second is a binder or polymer that ensures water resistance, glossiness, and fast drying,
- Water and binder mixture that works to evaporate the water content and leaves solid paint film
- Additional compounds provide the durability to make acrylic paint more effective than others.
Now the catch: Acrylic paint dries in two stages.
Dry to touch: The under-processing stage is when a soft paint film is developed on the surface. Water starts evaporating and no longer dilutes the paint. Still, the layer is too sensitive to give pressure.
Fully Cured: After certain times, the water and other molecules completely evaporate. Only pigment and binder are stuck to each other and left behind a solid paint film. This is the stage when the surface becomes water-resistant, protective, decorative, and long-lasting.
Note: – Visible difference between dry-to-touch and fully cured is almost non-existent. So consider time over the visual appearance.
Drying Time of Some Popular Acrylic Paint Brands
Every acrylic paint brand promotes dry-to-touch time on product packaging. Besides, they also include various technical information related to the paint. So below are the popular acrylic paint brands and their drying time.
Acrylic paint faster dry
Ready to touch within 30 minutes.
artist-grade, fast-drying Acrylics paint
Ready to touch within 10-20 minutes
artist-grade, fast-drying Acrylics paint
Thick layer ready to touch within 30 minutes
Student grade fast drying Acrylic paint
Thick layer ready to touch within 10 minutes
artist-grade, slow-drying Acrylics paint
Thick layer ready to touch within 24 hours
Galeria Acrylic paint (fast-drying)
Thick layer ready to touch within 1 hour
Artist-grade Acrylic paint, fast-drying
Thick layer ready to touch within 5-10
artist-grade, fast-drying Acrylics paint
Ready to touch within 30 minutes
Artist-grade Acrylic paint (fast-drying)5
Ready to touch within 10 minutes
Ready to touch within 20 minutes
Also Read: Can You Paint Over Flex Seal? How To do?
Factors That Impact Acrylic Paint Dry Time
Till now, you have an idea about the average drying time of acrylic paint. The “dry to touch” and fully cured time depend on factors. So you don’t have any option to determine the duration of your paint task. Check out the common factors that impact Acrylic Paint dry time.
Temperature and Humidity
These are the most vital factors that control acrylic paint drying time. Temperature and Humidity determine how quickly or slowly water content will evaporate. The high temperature will boost the drying time while Humidity slows the process. The catch is the amount of moisture available in the air.
For example, painting outdoors on summer days causes overdrying and cracks on the paint layer. In this case, you must use retarders to slow the acrylic paint drying. Certain indoor rooms, like the basement, create difficulty in fast drying. Indeed, these rooms are more humid and colder than others. So you have to select a paint-friendly environment for the desired drying. Later we discussed how to make acrylic paint dry faster and slower, so keep reading.
Professional grade paints can be dry within 10 to 30 minutes. Besides, the way you paint determines the drying time. You have three options to paint surfaces: roller, brush, or sprayer. Each tool has different benefits and drying time.
- Acrylic paint spray carries a thin layer that can be touched within minutes. For the next coating, you have to wait for hours.
- Painting with a roller or brush added a firm layer of paint. This is a heavier paint film that needs more time to dry.
Air circulation to your surroundings also causes faster or slow drying. It is recommended to keep your painting task far from air conditioning vents or heating devices. Ceiling fans, open windows, and humidifiers can also affect the drying time of acrylic paint.
Type of paint
Paint thickness is also a vital factor for paint drying. Brands prepared different types of Acrylic paint for users. Some include thick layers, and firm films, while others promote fast and slow drying. As we know, multi-layer paint takes more time to dry than thick film.
Type of Surface
Absorbance surface dry paint much faster than others. Stretched cotton canvas is the most absorbent material for acrylic paint. Certain materials absorb moisture faster and cause fast drying before you even blend the paint.
How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster?
Undoubtedly, acrylic paints dry faster than many oil-based paints. If you want to boost the time, below are the tricks.
- Try to apply thin layers which can absorb and evaporate water quickly.
- Paint in warm rooms and dry locations for better air circulation
- Windy air and low humidity levels are ideal for faster drying.
- For indoor painting, work near an open window. It will help to pull moisture quickly from the paint
- Use a hair dryer, fans, or heater to dry efficiently for winter paint.
- Try to mix slow-drying paint with regular acrylic
- Apply fast-drying paint
- Always start with a thin layer and wait for the next coating until the thicker film is ready to touch.
- For faster drying, the climate should be 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 24 C), Humidity at 40-50%, and Well-aired in surrounding
- Avoid overheating the paint, which will cause bubbles or crack on the layer.
- Avoid using powerful fans and cold air directly on the paint.
- Ensure the room is well aired before using the hair dryer or heater
How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Slower?
Acrylic paint is known for faster drying and water resistance. Making the paint slow drying also has additional benefits. Professionals mostly used these techniques to make the paint surface more colorful, smooth, and buttery. So below are the steps to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Slower.
- Paint in a cooler environment and keep the humidity 50%+. It is better to do the job in the basement.
- Use an air conditioner or fan to cool the room and make the paint dry slowly
- If you work outdoors paint under a protective place like the shade
- Use primer to slow the drying time of your acrylic paint
- Using a wet palette is the easiest way to work with the color for hours or days
- Apply artistic grade acrylic paint which added a higher ratio of pigment to binder
FAQs Related to Acrylic Paint Dry Time
Does Acrylic Paint Dry Overnight?
Depending on the paint type and coating, acrylic paint can dry overnight. Slow drying or high pigment to binder formulated paint can wet for hours. Besides, you can use multiple layers to let it dry overnight.
How Can You Tell if Acrylic Paint is Dry?
There are two drying stages for acrylic paint: dry to touch and fully cured. The Professional says to touch the back of the painting support and ensure the temperature. If it is cold, water molecules need to be evaporated. So wait a specific time to tell the acrylic paint is completely dry.
How Long Should You Wait Between Coats of Acrylic Paint?
Latex, water-based, or acrylic paint takes hours before the next coating. It is recommended to wait at least 4-8 hours before applying the next layer. You can speed up the drying process or ensure the paint’s strength by checking the temperature.
What Happens if You Apply a Second Coat of Paint Too Soon?
Streaks, peeling paint, and uneven color would be your final result for early coating on the surface. This can damage the paint task and may cost additional dollars. So it’s better to wait and ensure the layer strength before the second coat of paint.
Is One Coat of Acrylic Paint Enough?
Professionals suggest giving at least two coatings on the wall, ceiling, and other surfaces. You rarely get the desired finish in one layer of paint. Remember, covering is one of many rules in paint jobs. You have to complete the task for longevity which comes from multi-layering.
Remember, acrylic paints are available in different types and brands. Depending on factors, the drying time on various surfaces can fluctuate. Try to follow our recommended steps to make acrylic paint dry faster or slower. Still, the paint is versatile, water resistant, and quickly dries within 10 minutes to 24 hours.