How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry?

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry

Do you want to know how long does acrylic paint take to dry? This is an important question for any artist who wants to start a new painting.

In this article, we will discuss the drying times of 20 popular acrylic paints. We will also give you some tips on how to speed up the drying process.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry?

The drying time of acrylic paint depends on several factors. The type of paint, the brand, the thickness of the paint, the weather, and how you apply the paint all affect how long it will take for your painting to dry. It takes 20-30  minutes for a thin layer of acrylic paint to dry. A thicker layer of paint will take longer to dry, usually 30-60 minutes.

Factors that Affect Drying Time

Several factors affect how long it will take for your acrylic paint to dry. The most important factor is the type of paint you use, the brand, the thickness of the paint, the weather, and lastly, how you apply the paint.

Type of paint

There are two types of acrylic paint: student-grade and artist-grade. Student-grade paint is less expensive and has a lower pigment concentration.

Artist-grade paint is more expensive and has a higher pigment concentration. The type of paint you use will affect how long it takes your painting to dry.

Brand

The brand of acrylic paint you use will also affect the drying time. Some brands of acrylic paint dry faster than others.

Thickness of paint

The thickness of the paint affects how long it will take to dry. A thin layer of paint will dry faster than a thick layer.

Weather

The weather can also affect how long your painting will take to dry. If it is humid, your painting will take longer to dry. If it is windy, your painting will dry faster.

How you apply the paint

The way you apply the paint will also affect how long it takes to dry. If you apply a thin layer of paint, it will dry faster than if you apply a thick layer.

If you use a brush, the paint will dry faster than if you use a sponge.

Air circulation

This is also another big factor in how fast your paint will dry. If you work in a well-ventilated room, the paint will dry faster compared to a room with little or no ventilation.

Surface absorbency

The absorbency of the surface you are painting on will also affect how fast your paint dries.

If you are painting on a porous surface, the paint will dry faster than if you are painting on a non-porous surface.

Palettes

The type of palette you use will also affect how long it takes for your paint to dry. If you use a paper palette, the paint will dry faster than if you use a plastic palette.

Also, stay-wet palettes will keep your paint from drying out for a longer period of time. We recommend using the Army Painter’s Wet Palette.

The Actual Drying Times of 20 Popular Acrylic Paints

BrandTypeThicknessDrying Time
LiquitexBasis Student GradeThin20-30 minutes
GoldenOpen Acrylics Artist GradeThin20-30 minutes
GamblinFastMatte Alkyd Oil Artist GradeThin30-60 minutes
Winsor & NewtonGaleria Acrylic Student GradeThin30-60 minutes
Lukas CrylStudio Acrylics Artist GradeThin to Thick30-60 minutes
Blick StudioAcrylics Student GradeThin to Thick30-60 minutes
GoldenHeavy Body Acrylics Artist GradeThin to Thick45-60 minutes
M. Graham & Co.Classic Fine Art Oils Artist GradeThin to Thick45-60 minutes
Windsor & NewtonProfessional Acrylic Artist GradeThin to Thick45-60 minutes
SennelierAbstract Acrylics Artist GradeThin to Thick60 minutes
LiquitexHeavy Body Acrylics Artist GradeThin to Thick60 minutes
GoldenFluid Acrylics Artist GradeThin to Thick60 minutes
Utrecht Artists’Acrylics Student GradeThin to Thick60-90 minutes
GrumbacherPre-tested Oils Artist GradeThin to Thick75-90 minutes
Amsterdam
Professional Acrylic Artist Grade
Thin to ThickThin: 10 – 20 minutes
Thick: 1 hour – several days
Winsor & NewtonProfessional Acrylic Artist GradeThin to ThickThin: 10 – 20 minutes
Thick: 1+ hours
MaimeriFast-dryingThin to ThickThin: 10 – 20 minutes
Thick: 1 hour – several days
MatisseFast-dryingThin10 – 20 minutes
Tri ArtFast-dryingThin to ThickThin: 5 minutes
Thick: Several hours
Daler-RowneyCryla Artists’ Acrylic (fast-drying)Thin5 – 10 minutes

As you can see, the drying time of acrylic paint varies depending on the type of paint, the brand, the thickness of the paint, and how you apply it.

Tips to Speed Up the Drying Time

Follow these tips to speed up the drying time:

  • Use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry your painting.
  • Put your painting in a well-ventilated area.
  • Turn on a fan to help circulate air around your painting.
  • Use a heat lamp to dry your painting.

What’s the Difference Between Dry to the Touch and Fully Cured?

Understanding how acrylic paint dries can be confusing, especially when you’re trying to figure out the difference between “dry to the touch” and “fully cured.”

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know. When acrylic paint is first applied to a surface, it will appear wet.

However, it will actually start to dry within a few minutes. The initial stage of drying is called “surface dry,” and at this point the paint will be dry to the touch.

It will still be slightly tacky, but you won’t be able to smudge it with your fingers. Surface drying usually takes about 30 minutes.

Once the paint is surface dry, it will enter the second drying stage, which is called “touch dry.”

At this point, the paint will no longer be tacky, but it won’t be completely hard either.

You’ll still be able to make an indentation if you press down on it with your finger.

Touch dry usually takes about 2 hours. The final drying stage is called “fully cured.”

This is when the paint is completely hard and dry, and it can no longer be damaged by water or other chemicals. Fully cured usually takes about 24 hours.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Plastic?

Acrylic paint will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours to dry on plastic, depending on the brand, how thick the paint is, and how many coats you applied.

If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the drying time by using a hairdryer on the low setting or placing the plastic in a well-ventilated area.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Fabric?

Most fabrics will be dry to the touch within about two hours, although it may take up to 24 hours for the paint to cure completely.

In general, thicker fabrics like denim will take longer to dry than thinner fabrics like cotton or linen.

You can speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer on a low setting, but be sure not to overheat the fabric, as this can cause the paint to crack.

Once the paint is dry, you can heat-set it by ironing the fabric on a medium-high setting for two minutes.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Canvas?

The answer to this question can vary depending on a few different factors. For example, the thickness of the paint, the type of canvas, and the humidity levels can all affect how long it takes for the paint to dry.

However, acrylic paint will generally take between two and four hours to dry on a canvas. Once the paint is dry, it will be very durable and will not fade over time.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Wood?

How long it takes for acrylic paint to dry on wood will depend on a few factors, including the type of wood and the thickness of the paint.

For example, thicker paint will take longer to dry than thinner paint. Similarly, denser woods like oak will take longer to dry than lighter woods like balsa.

In general, you can expect acrylic paint to start drying within 30 minutes to an hour.

However, it’s important to wait at least 24 hours before applying a varnish or sealant. Otherwise, your paint job may not be as durable as you’d like.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Styrofoam?

It really depends on how thick the paint is, how much ventilation there is, and the temperature.

If you’re working in a hot, stuffy room, the paint will probably dry more slowly. But if you’re working in a cool, well-ventilated space, the paint will probably dry more quickly.

Another factor to consider is how thick the paint is. A thin layer of paint will dry more quickly than a thick layer.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Paper?

The drying time of acrylic paint depends on the thickness of the paint and the type of paper.

Thin layers of acrylic paint will dry more quickly than thick layers, and absorbent papers will dry more quickly than non-absorbent papers.

In general, thin layers of acrylic paint will take about 30 minutes to dry on absorbent paper, while thick layers may take up to 24 hours.

On non-absorbent paper, thin layers of acrylic paint will take about 2 hours to dry, while thick layers may take up to 48 hours.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Metal?

How long it takes for the paint to dry can vary depending on the type of metal, the thickness of the paint, and the environmental conditions.

In general, thin layers of acrylic paint will take about 30 minutes to dry on most metals, while thicker layers may take up to 24 hours.

Additionally, paint applied in warm or humid conditions will take longer to dry than in cooler, drier conditions.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on Glass?

If you’re working with a standard acrylic paint and a basic glass surface, you can expect it to take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour for the paint to cure fully.

Of course, there are a number of factors that can affect how long it takes for your specific project to dry, including the type of paint you’re using, the thickness of the paint layer.

Also, as the climate and humidity levels in your workspace and the type of glass surface you’re painting on.

In general, though, you can expect most acrylic paint projects on glass to be dry to the touch within about 30 minutes.

Read more on using acrylic paint on glass.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take to Dry on a Pumpkin?

Drying time will vary depending on how thick the paint is, how much ventilation there is, and the temperature.

If you’re working in a hot, stuffy room, the paint will probably dry more slowly.

But if you’re working in a cool, well-ventilated space, the paint will probably dry more quickly.

Another factor to consider is how thick the paint is. A thin layer of paint will dry more quickly than a thick layer.

With all that being said, you can expect most acrylic paint projects on pumpkins to be dry to the touch within about 30 minutes.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster

You can do a few things to make acrylic paint dry faster.

  • Use a thinner paint to begin with. This will help the paint to dry more quickly and evenly.
  • You can also apply a light layer of paint rather than a thick one. Again, this will help the paint to dry more quickly.
  • Use a hair dryer or fan to help speed up the drying process. Simply point the hairdryer or fan at the painting and allow the air to circulate around it.
  • Also, make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated space. This will help the paint to dry more quickly.
  • Finally, use a faster-drying acrylic paint. These are specially formulated to dry more quickly than standard acrylic paints.

You should find that the acrylic paint dries much faster than it would without these methods.

How Long Should Acrylic Paint Dry Between Coats?

The good news is that acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, so you won’t have to wait too long before you can add another layer of color.

In general, you should allow each coat of paint to dry for at least two hours before adding another layer.

However, working in a particularly humid environment might take a bit longer for the paint to fully dry.

Once you’ve added several layers of paint, you’ll need to give the final coat time to cure for at least 24 hours before varnishing or framing the painting.

So, when it comes to acrylic paint, the key is to be patient and allow each coat sufficient time to dry before moving on to the next.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Slower

One of the great things about acrylic paint is that it dries quickly. This can be a plus when you’re trying to complete a project in a timely fashion, but it can be a pain if you accidentally make a mistake.

Fortunately, there are a few easy tricks you can use to slow down the drying time of your paint. One method is to add a retarder to your paint.

Retarders are available at most art supply stores, and they simply need to be mixed in with the paint before you start painting.

Another method is to thin your paint with water. This will obviously make the paint more translucent, but it will also give you more time to work with it before it starts to set.

You can also try painting in layers. Once each layer is dry, you can add another one on top.

This takes a bit more time upfront, but it can give you more flexibility when it comes time to add the finishing touches.

Lastly, use slow drying acrylics. Slow drying mediums help prevent drying for as many as three times longer.

Another effective method is to keep acrylic paint wet for as long as you can.

Can You Paint Over Dried Acrylic Paint?

The short answer is yes! You can paint over dried acrylic paint with oil-based paint or water-based paint, as long as the surface is properly prepared first.

If the surface is not properly prepared, the new paint will not adhere correctly and may peel or chip over time.

To prepare the surface, start by sanding it down to create a smooth, even texture.

Next, wipe away any dust with a damp cloth and then apply a primer specifically designed for use with acrylic paint.

Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting! Just keep in mind that oil-based paints will take longer to dry than water-based paints.

How Long Should I Wait to Varnish an Acrylic Painting?

Many artists varnish their work to protect it from dirt, dust, and UV rays.

Varnish can also enhance the appearance of a painting by making the colors appear brighter and the brushstrokes more defined.

However, varnishing an acrylic painting too soon can cause serious problems.

The paint needs time to cure before it can be properly sealed, so varnishing too soon can result in bubbling or cracking.

For best results, wait at least two weeks before applying varnish to an acrylic painting.

This will give the paint plenty of time to harden and will help ensure that your painting has a smooth, professional finish.

Slow Drying Acrylic Paint

While there are many different types of acrylic paint on the market, slow-drying acrylic paint is ideal for those who want to take their time with their project.

This type of paint dries more slowly than other types of acrylic paint, giving you more time to work with it as it can stay wet for longer.

In addition, slow-drying acrylic paint is more forgiving if you make a mistake. If you need to fix a mistake, you can simply add more paint over top of it and blend it in.

As a result, slow-drying acrylic paint is a great choice for those who are new to painting or who want to have more control over their project. 

FAQs

How long does acrylic paint take to fully dry?

The drying time of acrylic paint can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of paint, the thickness of the paint, the temperature and humidity of the environment, and the type of surface on which the paint is applied. In general, most acrylic paints dry very rapidly; you can expect acrylic paint to take anywhere from two to eight hours to dry fully.

How can I make acrylic paint dry faster?

To dry acrylic paint faster, one way is to add a little bit of flow enhancer to your paint. This will help the paint to flow more evenly and quickly, allowing it to dry faster. Another way to speed up the drying time is to increase the temperature and humidity in your painting environment. This will help the paint to evaporate more quickly, resulting in a faster drying time. Finally, you can always use a hair dryer on low heat to speed up the drying process if you’re in a hurry. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much heat can damage the paint. 

How can I slow down acrylic paint drying time?

There are a few ways to slow down acrylic paint drying time, which will give you more time to work on your painting.

One way to slow down the drying time is to use a retarder. Retarders are acrylic paint additives that help to slow down the drying time. Another way to slow down the drying time is to use thinners or an extender. Thinners are liquids that are used to thin acrylic paint, while extenders are solids that are used to prolong the drying time of acrylic paint. You can also use slow drying paints.

How long does it take for the first coat of acrylic paint to dry?

The answer can vary depending on the type of paint you are using, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and the thickness of your paint application. Generally speaking; however, you can expect the first coat of acrylic paint to take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to dry completely. 

How long do acrylic paints last

When stored properly, acrylic paints can last for years. However, it’s important to note that the resin can eventually break down over time, causing the pigments to separate and making the paint less vibrant. Once this process begins, there is no way to reverse it.

Conclusion

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that can be used for a variety of projects. It dries quickly, making it ideal for those who want to finish their project in a timely manner.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the drying time can be affected by a number of factors.

If you’re unsure how long your paint will take to dry, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and give it more time than you think it needs.

With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that your acrylic painting project turns out exactly the way you want it to.

Do you have any questions about how long acrylic paint should dry?

Let us know in the comments below! And check out our other painting tips and tricks for more helpful information.

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