How long does spray paint take to dry
How long does spray paint take to dry

How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?Myth 30 Min Or 24 Hours?

Macarony David
Latest posts by Macarony David (see all)

There is nothing more satisfying than a smooth coat of paint. And as a DIY enthusiast, I enjoy using spray paint for my crafting projects.

These paints are easy to handle, the color is spreadable, and the aerosol bottle makes the whole painting process simple and clean.

While learning spray painting, one of my first questions was, “how long does spray paint take to dry.”  Mastering the art of drying time is a must for aerosol paints.  

Are you confused about how long to wait? Worry not, because I have all the facts laid out for you. Please have a seat and grab a drink; we will dive into the world of spray paints.

How long does spray paint take to dry
Image Credit: Homedit
  • The label

The essential instructions are usually written on the bottle or can of the product. Regardless of the paint’s price or quality, a content logo is attached to the outer cover.  

The spray paints come in aerosol cans. And just as with any other paint, all the information needed is listed on the back label.

Most of the time, reading the user manual provided with the paint will be enough to understand the time it needs to dry the paint.

But this will not be enough to achieve a perfect result. Many different factors influence the amount of time required to get a satisfying result.

Type of spray paints

The category of spray paints available in the market is vast. The type and purpose of the paint can affect how well or fast it dries.

The spray paints have different gas mixed together as bases, making the drying process faster than the regular nonaerosol ones. It starts to dry as the elements evaporate, and it varies around the paint used to do the task.

The spray paints designed for plastic materials need about 30 minutes to feel dry and about 24 hours to fully settle.

Different enamel paints take about ten minutes to start surface drying and 8 hours to dry completely.

  • Curing and dry at the touch

To answer the question “how long does spray paint take to dry?”  we need to know the drying stages.

When the paint is discarded, two things happen.

The paint immediately starts to dry down, and within a few minutes, the paint can be touched by hand without paint getting stuck on the hand. But it takes a little longer for the paint to be completely hardened.

The curing is the thorough drying of the paint. The paint is stiff and will not come off by rubbing. In other words, one hundred percent dry. This can typically take about 24 hours for complete curing.   

  • Dryness felt by touch.

This is the first stage of the drying process. It starts to settle about a few to ten minutes after spraying the paint on the material.

And within this time, the surface of the paint dries down. The surface can be touched by hand without causing any paint transfer. This indicates that dryness by touch stage is achieved.

Hard dryness of the surface

In this stage, the paint starts to dry in all the layers. The middle and surrounding surfaces that did not dry yet start to get hardened in this step. This takes the most time.

This stage takes time, depending on the ambient conditions. If the humidity is extremely high or the air circulation is low, the paint will dry slower.

If the heat and temperature are ideal, the paint will take less time to dry. This drying phase is completed within a few hours, depending on the paint types.

  • Thorough settling of paint

In this stage, the ultimate result is achieved.

Therefore, how long does spray paint take to dry? we can say that the time it takes to settle paint entirely is about 24 hours.

The paint will not come off while touched or smudged. All layers of the paint are permanently settled. And in this stage, we can say the paint is cured.

  • The temperature of the workspace

The temperature is one of the critical factors that can set the time needed to dry the paint. Generally, warmer temperatures are more suitable than colder temperatures.

 Once the paint is sprayed, the ideal drying temperature for settling the paint will be 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature is too high, the paint will sit weirdly on the surface. They will take less time to dry, but the finished result will not be pleasant.

If the temperature is too low, the paint will freeze. And sometimes the paint will not come out of the can properly because of the low temperature.

The coldness will slow down the dry time and also cause damage to the material.

  • Humidity and wind

Humidity also affects how fast the paint dries. When the amount of water vapor present in the air is high, the paint drying time will also increase.

It will take far longer to settle the paint as the air does not have enough space or capacity to take in too much moisture. Hence a low humid day will be favorable.

For quick evaporation, low humidity is ideal. If not possible, using a dehumidifier will be helpful too. Choosing a windy day will be easier to dry the paint.

  • The material used

The time required for drying paint will not be the same for all types of materials.

Some products and things are more suitable for fast drying than others. Usually, materials with porous textures take the most time to dry.

For example, when we are painting a material made of steel, the drying time required for this will not be the same for a material made of paper or wood as the texture and porosity of these are different.

The surface of the products

Some surfaces are more painting friendly than others. They absorb the paint faster.

 Let us consider a situation where we have an art project made of polyurethane foam and another one made of metal that needs to be colored.

If we use spray paint, the time required for the two products to be dried will not be similar. Polyurethane will require a little more time than metal.

Even though the product is made of a specific material, the surface might have different textures and substances. For example, some furniture has a wooden body, but the cover is plastic.

Here, we will not decide the drying time needed based on the material but on the surface.

The friction on a material surface

When we are spray painting, most of the time, we are painting the surface. So, its texture will be different in the drying process. The porous and bumpy surface with tiny cracks or indents will cause friction.

The friction will result in rough or uneven paint applications. Hence some spots will dry faster than others.

Once the spray paint is out of the can, the paint can not be moved around like other liquid paints. So, there is no chance of spreading the paint to fix the application. Hence, friction will cause messy results. And the time necessary for drying will be high.

  • Priming

Priming the material surface is making the surface ready for perfect painting.

The priming phase will consist of cleaning the painting surface and sanding the surface to reduce any bumpiness the smoother the surface, the better if you want a beautiful result and fast drying.

So a prime surface will dry the paint faster than a raw unfurnished one.

How long does primer take to dry?

The paint primer usually takes about 3-hours to dry, but it varies depending on the temperature and humidity.

In most cases, usually setting a 3-hour time is enough.

Application type

The way you spray your paint will influence the drying process and time.

Spraying even thin coats and gradually building the color up will require a shorter drying time than impulsively painting a surface. Rather than over-spraying, increasing the paint intensity little by little will be the best for fast drying.

The proper way of painting will be to slowly concentrate the color on a specific area to reduce uneven and spottiness of the paint.


A Well ventilated area will give faster drying results.

A properly ventilated room or workspace will have plenty of fresh air circulation. And as we have discussed before, air circulation will minimize the drying time needed.

The ventilation will keep the air changed and the moisture level of the room low. This will encourage a faster paint drying rate.

Outdoor area with sunlight

The outdoor area with sunlight will positively impact the drying period.

The availability of sunlight will mean that the heat of the environment is relatively moderate. The heat will help the paint evaporate faster and dry the paint in no time.

So, choose a sunny day for your painting task.

Heat gun

If there is not enough air circulation or sunlight available, a heat gun will give a rapid drying result.  

Heat gun flows hot air, and the air will take off the moisture and cause drying. It is a great artificial way to ensure paint settling.

But the force and the temperature of airflow should be kept reasonably low as the powerful flow will move and mess up the paint before it starts to dry.

Spray painting on plastic

Plastic has very little friction compared to materials like wood, but it has tiny pores on the surface, hence why it takes a good chunk of time to dry.

Usually, the plastic will feel dry by touch in around 30 minutes, but the curing and settling times are high as it will require about 24 hours.

Even though there are paints made just for plastic products, the drying time will be relatively high because of the behavior of plastic materials.

Wooden objects and spray painting

Depending on the thickness of the wood and how polished the wood surface is, the time will be different. Woods tend to have a rough surface, and therefore the absorbability of the paint is higher than other materials.

Hence the wood will take about 30 minutes to reach the dry by touch stage and need one whole day to cure and settle fully.

Frequently asked questions:

Is it possible to properly paint metal objects with spray paint?

Yes. You can uniformly paint metal using a slow and controlled spraying rate. It would help if you built up the paint intensity bit by bit rather than painting without measure.

What is the maximum time needed to dry spray paint thoroughly?

The maximum time required will depend on the thing you are painting. But generally, the paint is thoroughly dried in 24 hours.

Is paint primer necessary?

In an easy word, yes. Paint primers are crucial if you want a smooth and polished look on your finished craft.

Can I use a fan to dry the paint quickly?

Yes, you absolutely can. Using a fan to dry paint is a modern time-saving life hack. Just make sure the fan is not at high speed as it will move the paint.

What is the first thing to do before spray painting?

First, start with priming and sanding down the surface to achieve a smooth finished result. And make sure the room or place you are using to do your work ticks the box for proper painting environments.  

Does the paint need to be fully dry before spraying another coat?

No. If you plan on putting multiple coatings of paint, add another coat while the previous layer is semi-dry. If you let the paint fully dry before adding another one, the paint will not have anything to grip. Hence use the semi-dry method.

How can you make spray paint dry faster?

By setting a fan, running a heater nearby, or spraying thin coatings of paint, you can make spray paint dry faster.

How do I get a smooth finish with my spray paint?

Prepare the surface by sanding, and use two coatings of primer. Make sure you properly use the paint can and the application is even. You will have a smooth finish.

Final words

Painting is an essential part of making a craft attractive. Whether it is the art on your wall or the DIY mirror in the room, a touch of easy spray paint can beautify them in no time.

However, This process has to be done with time and patience. On this note, the answer to “How long does spray paint take to dry” differs while explaining the facts.

It is always exciting to see a project get colorful from scratch but hurrying the process will result in poor finishing.

Even so, there is no perfect set time required for spray painting. Some factors will always lack quality. We will try our best to minimize the drying time.

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