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How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

Spray paint is an easy way to give anything a new look. The beauty of spray paint is that you can easily use it on almost any surface and give it a unique look. However, to be able to use spray paint like a professional, you need to take care of a few things. 

To get the most professional look on anything you are painting, you need at least three coats of paint. Between these three coats and what material you apply it to, dry time can vary greatly.

Spray paint can take from 10 minutes to 3 days to fully dry. The surface that it’s applied to and how many coats are applied can greatly impact its drying time.

It’s important to wait for the paint to dry fully between coats, as spraying again on a wet surface can make the paint look blotchy and unprofessional. Read till the end to know the dry time as well as many other details to use spray paint like a professional.

Spray Paint Dry Time By Surface

Spray paint works differently on a variety of surfaces.

Here’s the dry time in detail with a variety of surfaces. 


It takes as little as 10 minutes for spray paint to dry on metal. The dry time is short, but to make the paint appear professional and neatly done, you will need 3 to 4 coats of paint. 


Depending on the condition of the plastic surface, the paint can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to dry completely. 

After about 10 minutes, you can touch the paint, but it might leave a print. 

In 20 minutes, you can safely touch it with light pressure. After 30 to 40 minutes, you can apply your second coat. 


The wood surface is tricky to judge since there are so many varieties of woods; the surface thickness and smoothness vary on different kinds. 

However, on average, it may take a minimum of 2 hours for spray paint to dry on wood. 


It takes an hour between coats for fabric, but it can take 72 hours for the paint to cure onto the fabric. 


On foam or styrofoam, it takes 10 to 20 minutes for the paint to dry between coats. You can slightly touch and judge the drying speed if you are doing a quick project or if you are short on time. 


Compared to all the other surfaces, paper is more malleable in nature, so it would take 10 to 15 minutes for the paint to dry on paper. 

The soft texture of the paper helps paint dry faster. You will see a lot of artists preferring paper over other types of canvases. 

hand held paint gun

Factors Affecting Spray Paint’s Dry Time

Temperature, weather, and the room you are working in are a few of the many factors that may affect the drying time of your paint. 

To paint like a professional, you will need to master these factors or at least know how they affect the dry time of your paint. 

1. Humidity

Humidity can affect the paint’s drying and curing time. The more moisture there is, the longer it will take to dry as moisture locks the water inside the paint, making it dry slower. 

Low humidity can speed up the drying process. 

2. The Thickness of the Paint Layers

If you are applying paint in thick layers to work faster, you will only slow yourself down. 

Think layers take more time to dry, so apply thin layers, as it will give you less time to dry between coats and you will be able to finish your project faster. 

3. Air Circulation

If you have ample air circulating in the room or the closed space you are working in, the paint will dry faster. 

For example, placing a fan over or near the drying object helps it dry faster. 

4. Type Of Paint

There is a huge variety of paint available in the market and some dry faster than the others. For instance, water-based paint dries faster than oil-based paint. 

So, if you are looking for a quick project, be mindful of the type of paint you are buying. 

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint To Dry When It’s Cold?

The lower the temperature, the longer it will take to dry. If your room or house is at 75F or above, the paint will dry at a steady speed, but if it is below this point, the paint will take longer to dry. 

It can take as long as 6 hours for a single, thin layer to dry below 50F. 

If you can’t make the room warmer, you can use a hairdryer to hasten the drying process.  

Oil and acrylic paints take even longer to dry in cold weather. 

Does Spray Paint Dry Instantly?

The answer to this isn’t as simple as it may seem. Yes, the paint dries instantly, but only the surface. It may take hours for the paint to fully dry and not transfer when touched. 

It also depends on the type of paint you are using; for example, polyurethane and epoxy spray can dry faster than other types of spray paints.

It will take a mere 5 mins for the paint to be dry to the touch. To let it dry completely, you need to give it an hour at the least. 

Moreover, other types like lacquer spray paint dry in a couple of minutes as they have thermoplastic polymers. The painted surface will be touchable within a few minutes, but it still takes 3 hours or so to dry thoroughly. 

How To Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

There are many ways to make spray paint dry faster. Here are a few easiest ways. 

Option 1. Dehumidifier

When painting for a quick project, use a dehumidifier to eliminate the moisture from the air. The dryer the air, the faster your paint will dry. 

Option 2: Hair Dryer

Another easy but tedious method is using a hairdryer, but hair dryers can only be used for small projects. If you are working on a small object or a medium canvas, you can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. 

Option 3: Fan For Air Circulation

Using a fan can help you dry the paint faster than anything else.

A fan on medium speed will circulate the air evenly in the room, making the object dry faster. 

Option 4: Apply Thin Coats

Another pro tip is to use thin layers. Thin layers mean fewer pigments to dry, and you can work a lot faster if you apply thin layers of paint. 

Can You Let Spray Paint Dry Inside?

Yes, you can let the paint dry indoors; however, it is better to paint in a room with proper ventilation to avoid health problems. 

In addition to that, if your house is adequately heated, the paint will dry at a reasonable speed. If you don’t have a fully heated house, you can also use a room heater to help paint dry faster. 

How Long Should You Wait Between Coats Of Spray Paint?

The wait between coats depends on the type of paint and the surface being painted. 

However, on average, you should wait 10 to 15 minutes between each coat. Again, applying thin layers will cut out the drying time between coats of paint. 

Conclusion to How Long Spray Paint Takes To Dry

Depending on the surface you’re applying the paint to, along with how thick the coats are, how long spray paint takes to dry can drastically vary. Most surfaces only take a few hours for it to dry completely.

If you’re applying multiple layers, make sure that each layer completely dries before applying more spray paint.

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Lindsay Reed

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