How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry? [Solved]

Spray paint is a popular medium for artists because it is easy to use and produces stunning results. But how long does it take for spray paint to dry? And what can you do to speed up the process?

There is no exact answer, as it depends on several variables – the amount being used, how thin the coats are applied and even atmospheric conditions. In general, though, users can expect between just 15 to 30 minutes before they can handle the paint without physical contact causing damage. The paint should be left to sit for at least 12 hours to dry fully. 

This article will answer all your questions about spray paint drying times. We will also share some tips on making your artwork look its best. So keep reading to learn more!

How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry?

One of the greatest qualities of spray paint is how quickly it dries.

To give you an example, in most cases, you will be able to touch the artwork only 15 minutes after applying the coats. This means that if you plan to create a masterpiece in one sitting, this will be possible!

Of course, there are some variables to consider, so let’s discuss them in more detail.

The Amount of Spray Paint Used 

As with any art technique – the more paint you use, the longer it will take for the substance to dry. This is especially true of spray paint since no binding agents are present (unlike acrylics or watercolours). For example, if you wanted to create a multi-coloured design on canvas, you would need to apply about 5 or 6 coats (depending on your choice of colours).

Each coat would be allowed 15 minutes before touching. All in all that means that your project could take anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes! But this also depends on how much drying time has passed; ideally, giving it at least 12 hours before you handle it.

The Amount of Coats Applied 

If you want a stronger, more vibrant colour to show through – you can use several coats. This will take a bit longer to dry, so simply allow this extra time. But be careful not to apply too many layers, as this may hurt the result.

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In other words, if too much paint is applied, the colours might become muddled and lose their vibrancy as a result! To avoid that from happening, allow each coat at least 15 minutes before touching, even if you are applying multiple layers.

Environmental Conditions 

In general, spray painting should be done in well-ventilated areas (open garages or outside). The reason for this is that the fumes from the paint may be harmful to your health if inhaled. If you do not have access to a well-ventilated area, follow the manufacturer’s advice and use a mask while spray painting!

Apart from that, keep in mind that spraying should be done on a hot day. Why? Because it will speed up the drying process of the paint! Indirect sunlight, however, you run the risk of causing damage to your project. Ideally, try to work during the early morning or late afternoon when less light and heat exposure.

Material Being Painted 

It depends on what you’re spray painting and how much paint you’re using. If the object is small and you’re only spraying a little bit of spray paint on it, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to dry. If the painting is large and layers of colour are applied, that could take longer to dry.

You also want to ensure adequate ventilation when you’re spray painting because this stuff smells pretty strong, so if the room isn’t ventilated enough, it could be harmful to our health.

Paint Formula Matters

Paint formula is another factor that contributes to how long it takes for spray paint to dry.

Enamels and lacquers take a lot longer than acrylics because these are heavy formulas that are used to create high-quality finishes on furniture, cars, etc. Acrylic paints are water-based, so they’re much safer, quick-drying and easy to clean up.

Method of Applying Paint

And finally, the time it takes to paint, and dry depends on how thickly you’re applying the paint. This is especially true for spray painting because you don’t want it puddling or pooling, so just keep an eye on your work as you go along and try not to make too many layers at once.

The purpose of painting is to make an object look pretty, protect it, and increase its life span, and by following the tips above, you can accomplish that!

What Is the Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time?

Dry time is the amount of time it takes for a layer of paint to dry on top of another layer. Curative time is the amount of time that paint needs to cure or harden completely. It also depends on environmental conditions, painted material, and the formula used.

Cure time can be different from a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks.

One should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and these times should be taken as general guidelines. Also, if you touch your project before it is completely dry, you will distort the paint and cause problems for yourself! It is best to wait until it’s done and to try and resist touching it as much as possible.

The purpose of painting is to make an object look pretty, protect it, and increase its life span, and by following the tips above, you can accomplish that!

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How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry on Varying Materials?

The material you are painting or on will vary the dry time of your paint.

Wood has a lot of pours in them, so they tend to breathe more than most other surfaces, so it is sometimes recommended that you use a primer on wood before adding any colour. It takes at least 2 hours before it dries.

If you are painting on glass, metal or an object with tight corners, then it is best to give your paint 2-3 hours to dry just in case it drips.

Does Spray Paint Dry Faster in Heat or Cold?

It depends on the material that you are painting.

If you are working with concrete or brick, it is recommended to paint at a warmer temperature because the heat will help the paint dry faster.

On the other hand, if you are painting wood, it is recommended to paint when it is colder out because the cold weather helps to layer the paint to stay flat.

There are too many variables, so it’s really up to you!

Will a Heat Gun Help Spray Paint Dry Faster?

A heat gun can speed up your drying time, but it’s probably unnecessary.

If you decide to use a heat gun, try to keep the distance as close as possible and move slowly around the project.

Don’t hold the heat too long, or it will dry unevenly and start cracking.

You should also avoid using a heat gun on acrylic paints since you don’t want it to get too dry before you even get the chance to use it.

It’s great to access one but using one is not necessary!

Does Spray Paint Dry Faster in the Sun?

No. This is a common misconception, but it will not make your paint dry faster if you leave your project in the sun.

This can damage your surface because the sun can warp and crack many surfaces.

It’s best to keep your spray paint indoors until it has dried completely!

Does Spray Paint Need to Dry Completely Before Adding Another Coat?


If you add another coat of spray paint before it has dried completely, it will affect the quality of your finish so leave each layer for at least 15 minutes and preferably 1 hour.

You also need to wait until your surface is completely dry (at least 24 hours) before sanding or using chemicals on it.

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster?

1. Apply multiple thin coats of spray paint instead of one thick layer

2. Make sure the environment is well ventilated. Open up windows if possible and use an organic respirator mask to avoid inhaling any toxic fumes

3. Spray paint during late evening or early morning when it’s cooler outside to prevent damage from heat exposure

4. Use acrylic paint instead of enamel or lacquer for faster drying time

5. Spray paint outside if you can to increase ventilation

6. Start spraying the paint several feet away from the project; this will give you more control over how much paint ends up on it and, thus, less clumping!

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7. For small projects, allow at least 1 hour drying time before touching

8. Use a hairdryer to speed up the process if necessary (but make sure it’s not too close or it could harm the paint)

Best Fast Drying Spray Painters

Many factors can affect how long it takes for paint to dry. The best way to tell is by testing it yourself.

Pintyplus Evolution Solvent Based Spray Paint

This is a great way to give your objects a metallic finish, and it dries in as little as 15 minutes!

Krylon 1602 Fast-Drying Spray Paint

This can be applied on plastics, metal and even wood, and it dries quickly (in about 2 hours).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you let the spray paint dry inside?

Yes, but only if the ventilation is good.

Make sure you keep your windows open and use an organic respirator mask to avoid inhaling any toxic fumes.

2. How long does Rustoleum spray take to dry?

The time it takes will depend on the temperature and humidity in your environment.

If you’re applying it indoors, expect at least 2 hours before letting people touch it.

3. Can I spray paint in the sun?

It depends. If you want an even finish, don’t spray paint in direct sunlight, or you’ll end up with patchy areas that will require a lot of sanding and touch-ups.

4. How long until I can use my painted project?

Give your object at least 1 hour before touching it and preferably 24 hours before using it outdoors.

5. Can you use hairspray to spray paint?

No, this will clog up your airbrush and ruin your project!

6. What spray does the paint dry the fastest?

Pintyplus spray paint can dry in as little as 15 minutes while Rustoleum dries in 2 hours.

7. Do you need to use a primer before spraying?

It’s unnecessary, but it might be a good idea for your first layer of paint, so the second layer is easier to apply.

However, if you use the right product, you can apply two layers of spray paint in a single day without primer.

8. Can I prime and paint on the same day?

Yes, if the paint you’re using dries quickly.

However, don’t expect a top quality finish if you apply two coats of spray paint in a single day without primer because it will get clumpy and uneven.


Spray paint may come in various finishes like gloss, matte and metallic, but the actual drying time isn’t as varied.

Most spray paints will dry within 20-60 minutes or even faster! 🙂

If you need to speed up your dry time for any reason, I suggest using a hairdryer as it is usually the fastest way.

And don’t forget, always test a small area first before painting your whole project! 🙂

I hope this was helpful for you guys, and good luck! 🙂

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