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When it comes to the fast-drying time with a top-notch finish, acrylic paint stands out from other paints. After oil-based and water-based paints, they have got a great reputation in the paint industry in recent years. Besides the quick dry time, they bring many significant features such as affordability, easy application, and so on. However, a question is still mingling in the minds of people: how long does acrylic paint take to dry?

I’m a professional painter and have years of experience in revamping homes with different types of paints. Generally, the dry time (touch) of acrylic paints is about 10-20 minutes on average. I observed this dry time for common acrylic paint brands. Furthermore, some paints take a few hours to dry completely, depending on various conditions. Particularly, thin acrylic paint layers dry quickly in a few hours, but thick paint layers take a few days to a week to dry completely.

This detail guide is all about how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry and everything you need to know about the dry time of acrylic paints.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on wood

how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry

It usually depends on many factors, such as paint concentration, environmental factors, and more. Suppose you have applied it in thin layers; it will hardly take 20-30 minutes to dry. Remember that here the dry time is the touch dry time in craft painting. The dry time differs depending on the tool used for painting, such as a sprayer, brush, and roller.

Furthermore, if the weather is hot, it will make the acrylic paint dry faster and vice versa. However, acrylic paints dry quicker than other paints due to their chemical properties and ingredients. The complete cure of acrylic paints takes up to 6-12 hours if the area is well-ventilated.

How Fast Does Acrylic Paint Dry

how long for acrylic paint to dry (infographics)

No one can exactly define the acrylic paint dry time because it also varies from paint to paint and manufacturer to manufacturer. I have worked with acrylic paints produced by several brands and want to share the dry time with you. Check out the list below, and you will get an idea about the dry timings of individual acrylic paints.

Acrylic Paints Dry Time For Different Brands

BrandDrying Time
Golden Heavy Body Allow 30 minutes for the touch to dry.
Thin films dry within 10 to 30 minutes, and it takes 1 hour to several days for thick film.
LiquitexFor thin applications, it takes 10-12 minutes, and for thick applications, it can take from one hour to several days.
M Graham AcrylicIt takes 30 minutes to 1 hour on average.
Tri-ArtIt dries to the touch in a few minutes, and after several hours, it becomes thicker.
UtrechtIt takes ten to twenty minutes for thin layers and up to 3 days for thicker applications.
Winsor & Newton
Professional Fast Acrylic
20-30 minutes for a thin layer.
For thicker layers, it may take up to two hours.

Drying Stages of Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints have several stages of drying that are necessary to understand. Everyone knows that acrylic paints are water-based paints, and the first step of drying is evaporation. The water evaporates from the paint when you apply it to the surface. Due to this reason, acrylic paints dry quicker than oil-based paints. The wet paint is converted into skinned that further becomes touch dry. After a few hours to days, it gets solid, coalesces (fully cured), and the aging process starts. So, these are the overall drying stages of acrylic paints you use for the interior and exterior.

Factors Affecting The Acrylic Paints Dry Time On Different Surfaces

Acrylic Paints Dry Time On Different Surfaces
Acrylic Paints Dry Time On Different Surfaces

How long for acrylic paint to dry is now in your control. If you control a few environmental factors, the dry time will alter accordingly. I am sharing  a list of the variables influencing acrylic paint dry time.


High temperature causes more evaporation, and acrylic paints dry faster in a high-temperature environment. Many professionals suggest acrylic paints for indoor use as I also found it challenging to use them outdoors due to the high evaporation rate. Let me give you a tip here. Use a wet palette as it prevents the paint from drying quickly. Available in different sizes so choose it according to your needs.


The humidity has a great impact on how long for acrylic paint to dry. When it’s high humidity, the dry time will increase correspondingly. On the other hand, the low humidity will decrease the dry time and let the acrylic paint dry faster.

I have experience of working in arid weather conditions, and the paint dries faster there. I found painting outdoors in such a climate to be a great challenge. I used retarders and wet palettes to increase the dry time of acrylic paints.

Furthermore, if you are painting indoors, you can control the humidity. A quality air conditioning system is significantly helpful in removing high humidity. You can use these remedies according to your working environment, budget, and needs.

Air Flow

Airflow is inversely proportional to the acrylic paint’s dry time. If the airflow is more, the paint will dry quickly and vice versa. Exhaust fans, ventilation, and windows are the culprits that cause paints to dry faster than normal. Remember that we are talking about indoor painting projects here.

Working outdoors increases this problem up to a good extent. I always set up an easel nearer to the working area as it reduces the airflow. You can use other options, too, depending on your location, budget, and other parameters.

Acrylic Paint Thickness

The thin paint layer dries quickly while thick layers take more time. I always prefer thin paint layers as they dry faster and are easy to manage. The thick layers have more water, and it takes time to evaporate. If you have enough time for project completion, you can go with thick layers. The type of layer and application depends on many other factors such as surface type and more.

Paint’s Layer Absorbency

Recall that thin paint layers dry rapidly when you paint on a highly absorbent surface. The primer used before paint is moderately absorbent; therefore, the first coat always dries quickly. Therefore, keep the surface absorbency in mind before applying the acrylic paint.

Is Latex and Acrylic Paint The Same?

No, latex and acrylic paints are different due to different chemical compositions. Generally, acrylic paints are based on chemicals, but latex paints are purely water-based. Acrylic paints are more elastic due to their high chemical properties, and latex paints are less elastic. It means that acrylic paints have higher adhesive power than latex paints when applied to the walls.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry On Metal?

Every metal offers a unique dry time for acrylic paints. On average, acrylic paints take between 1-2 days to dry completely. Metal drying is also influenced by its temperature. If the metal is colder, it will take a long time to dry, and sometimes you need to wait for about 3 days. On the other hand, high-temperature metal dries the acrylic paint quickly.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry On Wood?

The average drying time of acrylic paints on different wood is 20 minutes. I observed this time on most wood painting projects, such as fences. It’s a pretty fast dry time, and you can apply the sealer or primer on the wood before acrylic paint. You consume minimal time but get the best painting results in return.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry On Plastic?

The majority of the plastic types give 30 minutes of dry time for acrylic paints. There are almost seven types of plastics on the market, and only two of them allow the acrylic paint to dry in about 2 hours. In short, most plastics offer quick dry time so that you can finish your painting projects quickly on plastic products.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry On Cardboard?

You must wait about 2 hours to dry the acrylic paint completely on any cardboard. This time is for the first coat you apply on it. The second coat takes less time to dry. The fast drying time for cardboard is significantly 30 minutes or more.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry On Canvas?

It usually depends on several factors and the manufacturing brand. Most acrylic paints dry in a minimal time of 20 minutes, but others take longer. If your chosen acrylic paint has a high amount of pigments, it can take up to 2 hours to dry. The thickness of the paint also affects the dry time; therefore, I always recommend you apply it in thin layers for quick results.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last?

The life of all kinds of paints depends on many factors such as usage, weather conditions, and more. On average, acrylic paints’ life is about 10 years when you choose water-based acrylic paints. If you want to go for oil-based acrylic paints, the life extends up to 15 years. You can also extend the life of paints using different solvents, but that’s not a suggested solution.

How can I make acrylic paint dry faster?

The paint experts recommends using a hair dryer, heat lamp or heater to help your paint dry faster. Use a low heat setting and keep the paint away from the heat source so it doesn’t crack or bubble. Applying your paint in a certain way could also increase the dry time. It is possible to speed up the drying time of slow-drying paints by mixing them with regular acrylic paint. You should avoid thick, heavy paint layers.

FAQs On how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry

How long does acrylic paint take to dry fully?

Acrylic paints start drying in 20-30 minutes. For thick paint layers, the dry time extends up to 2 hours. Likewise, the complete dry time for acrylic paint is approximately 24 hours.

Will a hair dryer dry acrylic paint?

Yes, a hair dryer is a good source to dry the acrylic paint quickly. I don’t suggest using this method for big projects because it will waste a lot of time. However, you can use it for drying canvas, wood, fabric, metal, ceramic, and glass paints.

How long do you wait between coats of acrylic paint?

The average dry time of most acrylic paints is 20-30 minutes, but the paint does not cure completely. Wait approximately 2-3 hours and apply the second coat after that. This time is necessary to get effective paint results.

Does acrylic paint dry fast?

Yes, the likeness of acrylic paints in the market is due to their high ability to dry fast. It can be easily applied in thin layers. You can decrease the dry time using different tools such as hair dryers, heaters, and more.

Final Words On how long does acrylic paint take to dry

So, it’s all about how to dry acrylic paint fast. Acrylic paints are versatile, reliable, and give quick dry time for all painting projects. It’s pretty easy to alter the dry time. Always use acrylic paint in a low humid environment for better results. We believe this guide has cleared all confusion about how long does it take acrylic paint to dry.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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