"As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products that we have tried!"

You often use spray paint because it’s easy and helps you finish your work without any hassle. But the main problem is when spray paint turns out sticky and you wonder “Will tacky spray paint eventually dry?”. Yes, spray paint usually dries in one to eight hours. 

I know spray paint stickiness can be a nightmare that no one wants to experience, that’s why I’m here to help you!

Instead of a shiny dry finish, if your spray paint is still tacky after 24 hours, it means it has been contaminated and chances of drying out are low. You can use talcum powder, or a hairdryer(to speed up the evaporation rate) or remove the finish and re-apply it to fix the tacky spray paint. 

In this article, I’ll tell you different methods that can help you fix the sticky spray paint at no great expense. Also, I’ll provide you with some tips and tricks that need to follow while painting a spray. Read on!

Tacky vs. Sticky paint

Tacky Paint: When we talk about “tacky paint,” we mean that the paint has partially dried but still feels slightly sticky or adhesive. It’s in a transitional stage between wet and fully dry.

Sticky Paint: The term “sticky paint” can be used synonymously with tacky paint. It describes paint that hasn’t completely dried and still has that adhesive, clingy quality.

What Causes Spray Paint to Become Sticky?

Got Spray Paint Sticky or Tacky on furniture

Are you wondering about, “Why is my spray paint sticky after 24 hours?” Well, there may be many factors behind this issue. Avoiding these factors will help you achieve a non-sticky spray paint look!

The main causes include:

  1. Low-quality or expired paints can cause a sticky finish.
  2. Excess moisture can take longer for spray paint to dry and harden completely. 
  3. It can stay sticky if you don’t let spray paint dry for long enough. 
  4. The most common problem with spray painting is a clogged nozzle, which can also cause stickiness.
  5. If you apply too much paint, it will become sticky and the paint finish will be uneven and distorted.

How to Fix Sticky Spray Paint? easy Methods

If you want to fix spray paint mistakes and achieve a flawless finish, here I’ll discuss different methods that you can follow.

Tacky spray paint eventually dry

Auto wax

  • Sticky residue from spray paint can be a nightmare but don’t worry, there’s a quick fix! With a little auto wax, you can easily remove the stickiness.
  • Simply apply a thin coat of auto wax to the sticky area. Distribute wax evenly. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes. When dry, use a buffing cloth to remove excess wax. 

Shake the paint can

  • You must shake your spray paint can well before using it. The paint is mixed well and comes out evenly. 
  • If you don’t shake the can, it will not make a smooth application and the paint may be sticky when you apply it.

Oil-based paints

  • Oil-based paints dry more slowly compared to others, but they give you a smooth and beautiful finish. They’re also built to last, with scratch- and stain-resistant surfaces.

Use of primer

  • Primer is known as the base coat of paint that you apply before spray painting. Always use a primer before spray painting. It helps the spray paint stick better, last longer, and resist damage.


  • Prior to applying the next coat, allow every coat to dry properly. If you apply too many coats without waiting for them to dry, the paint may become sticky and take longer to dry. 
  • Generally, let the primer dry for 3 hours before applying the spray paint. Wait 5 minutes between coats of spray paint.

Talcum powder

  • Talcum powder works best for removing stickiness, but it’s important to test it on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t affect the colour of the surface. It works by absorbing all the moisture on the surface. 
  • To use talcum powder, simply sprinkle some on your hand and rub it into the sticky area. 

Baking soda

  • Baking soda is a good option to fix tacky spray paint. Apply it on the affected surface with your hands. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess, and let it dry. 
  • To remove stubborn stickiness, sprinkle more baking soda on the surface and wipe it off with a paper towel. Then, apply another thin coat of paint and let it dry.

Hair Dryer

  • Use a hair dryer on low to medium heat to prevent spray paint from staying sticky.
  • Apply heat while gently rubbing the sticky surface.
  • Test periodically until it’s less tacky. Clean with soapy water and a soft brush, then rinse and dry.
  • If stickiness persists, try rubbing alcohol or acetone sparingly.
  • Test on an inconspicuous area first.
  • Finish with a final soapy water clean and thorough drying.

What to Do If Spray Paint Still Tacky After 24 Hours?

1. Dry LongerWait a bit more in a place with good airflow for the paint to dry completely.
2. Check the WeatherPaint on a day with suitable temperature 50°F to 85°F (10°C to 30°C) and low humidity (40 and 70)
3. Use a Fan or DehumidifierEnhance air circulation by using a fan or dehumidifier in the painting area. ( I also tried hair dryer and heater sometimes)
4. Thin LayersSand tacky areas, then apply a thinner coat of paint for even drying.
5. ReapplyIf necessary, strip off tacky paint and start over following instructions.
6. Consider the Paint TypeVerify you’re using the appropriate spray paint type and follow label instructions.
7. Use Proper TechniqueApply paint with the correct spraying technique (distance and angle).
8. Temperature ControlEnsure the paint application occurs within the recommended temperature range.
9. Test in a Small AreaAlways perform a test spray in an inconspicuous spot before painting the entire project.
10. Apply a Clear CoatAfter drying, consider applying a clear coat for protection and to reduce tackiness.

How to Fix Sticky Spray Paint on Metal?

To resolve this issue on metal surfaces, you can follow these steps:

  1. To remove sticky paint, you can use sandpaper.
  2. Take a clean cloth along with warm water to make the metal surface dust-free.
  3. Then, apply a thin coat of primer, which helps the paint adhere properly. Also, it helps paint to dry faster.
  4. Avoid applying thick coats of paint. Always apply multiple thin paint coats. Before applying the next coat, first allow the previous one to dry properly.
  5. Lastly, you can apply a clear final coat on the dry paint. It will act as a protective layer on the surface of the metal. Additionally, it will prevent the paint from sticking.

How to Fix Spray Paint on Wood?

You can fix this spray paint problem on wood using the same steps as you would for metal. However, if the wood becomes too damaged, you will need to remove all of the paint and start over.

This is because once the wood gets too sticky, the only way to fix it is to sand it down or replace it. Always use good-quality spray paints for wood. Learn more!

Want to know how to fix sticky spray paint on plastic? Here, watch this video.

how to make spray paint not sticky? Tips and life hacks

If you want to get your desired flawless finish, I’m sharing some tips and tricks that you need to follow.

  • If you’re going to paint any surface or object, make sure to clean it properly before painting. It should be dry otherwise moisture can result in tackiness.
  • Always paint in a dry area. You can use a dehumidifier, heater, or fan to reduce moisture.
  • Always buy high-quality paints. Paints like glue spray paint and lighter fluid are examples of inhalants and you should take care while handling them.
  • Generally, a temperature range of 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit is considered suitable for spray painting if you want to get a flawless finish.
  • Always apply a thin layer of paint coat.
  • To avoid stickiness, wait for each coat to dry thoroughly. 
  • If your paint is sticky because of a clogged nozzle, remove the nozzle and soak it in lacquer thinner to clear the blockage.
  • Shake the can well before using it. 

My Personal Experience

Recently, I had a problem with sticky spray paint on my car. I was using a glue spray paint gun and I accidently put too much paint on the surface. As a result, the paint got all sticky, which was not good.

Sticky spray paint car

It was annoying but I wanted to fix it. I tried a few things and eventually, I was able to get the paint to dry and remove the stickiness.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I used a paper towel to wipe off as much of the excess paint as possible.
  2. Then I applied a thin coat of baking soda to the sticky areas for 10 minutes.
  3. I took a wet cloth to wipe off the baking soda and any paint that was left.
  4. Finally, apply a thin layer of adhesive spray paint.

Apart from this, I also used this method to fix my glue spray paint art project. I found that shaking the can for 20 seconds before using it helped. I suggest using a good primer before spray painting. You can try primers from brands like Montana Gold Spray, Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch, and Krylon Color Master. You can also buy spray paint that already contains a primer so, you don’t need to buy it separately.

How To Know if Spray Paint Has Dried?

Touch Test:

Lightly feel the painted surface. If it no longer feels sticky or tacky to the touch, it has probably dried.

Visual Inspection:

Look for a consistent matte finish. Wet paint is glossy, while dry paint has a uniform appearance.


Freshly painted surfaces often have a strong odor. When the paint has dried, the smell should diminish significantly or disappear.


Follow the recommended drying time on the spray paint can, which varies from a few minutes to several hours.

Temperature and Humidity:

Drying time may be influenced by temperature and humidity. Ideal conditions are moderate temperature and low humidity.

Final thoughts On Tacky Sticky Paint

Spray paint is a versatile and user-friendly medium suitable for various projects. However, sometimes it’s annoying when spray paint turns out to be sticky. You must understand the reasons that cause stickiness and how to get rid of them to get the desired finish.

You can use any of the above methods to fix sticky spray paint. Make sure to follow all the instructions and precautions while working with spray paint to ensure a non-sticky finish.

I hope you found this blog post helpful in learning how to prevent spray paint from becoming sticky. 

FAQs On adhesive spray paint

How do you fix tacky spray paint?

Allow the surface to dry completely for 24-48 hours, depending on the temperature, humidity, type of paint and its thickness. If it doesn’t work, rub it with sandpaper and prime it. Then reapply the spray paint.

Will tacky paint eventually dry?

Yes, it usually dries within 1-8 hours. Depending on the reason for tackiness, it can remain tacky for days, weeks, or months. It will eventually dry if you take proper measures to fix it.

How do you make spray paint that sticks?

Clean and dry the painting surface. Then, apply a primer. To achieve a smooth and durable finish, apply thin coats of paint, allowing every coat to dry properly.

What kind of spray paint will stick to anything?

Universal spray paint including Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Spray Paint, Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint, and Montana Black Universal Spray Paint can stick to anything.

What materials does spray paint stick to?

Spray paint can stick to a wide variety of materials, including wood, plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, concrete, fabric, and canvas.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

Similar Posts