How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry? (For All Surfaces)

If you have a new DIY project coming up, you might be asking how long will it take for acrylic paint take to dry?

The exact drying time will depend on the brand of the paint and the painting surface. We will cover all the details in this guide so you can easily plan and get painting.

The surface you are painting will affect the drying time. Here are some common surfaces and how long it takes for acrylic paint to dry on them: 

  • Acrylic Paint On Wood
    20 to 30 minutes and fully cured in 6 to 12 hours
  • about 24 hours
  • Acrylic Paint On Canvas
    a common question is, "How long does it take acrylic paint to dry canvas?" It usually takes 10 to 20 minutes on a primed surface. 
  • Acrylic Paint On Glass
    after curing the glass, the paint will dry in about 24 to 72 hours 
  • Acrylic Paint On Metal
    an average of 48 hours 
  • about 15 to 20 minutes 
  • Acrylic Paint On Cardboard
    about 48 hours as long as you sand the surface first
  • Acrylic Paint On Wood
    take an average of about 20 to 30 minutes
acrylic paint on canvas

Factors That Affect The Drying Time Of Acrylic Paint

Humidity 

Humidity will make the paint take longer to dry. When there is more moisture in the air, it will get into the paint and take longer to dry. You might want to consider using a dehumidifier or painting when humidity is under 85% so that the paint dries faster.  

Temperature  

Everyone asks, "Does acrylic paint dry faster in heat or cold?" High temperatures will speed up the drying process. However, you should not paint outside on a very dry day because the paint might crack.

You can paint indoors, though, where there is air conditioning and you can control the room's temperature. 

Air Circulation 

Good air circulation will speed up the paint's drying time. However, you shouldn't have the project directly under air conditioning units or under a heating duct.

Having it in the same room is fine, though. You can also open up some windows and turn on a ceiling fan to get air flowing.  

Paint Thickness 

Thicker paint will always take longer to dry, and thin layers will have shorter drying times. The paint layers also affect the drying time.

If you want to recoat the paint several times, you will have a project with a much longer drying time. Make sure you recoat slowly to have the best-looking project.  

Surface Absorbency 

Absorbent surfaces will always dry faster. The material will absorb the moisture in the paint and cause the paint to dry much faster.

You can always use a primer to get a more efficient drying time and to make the surface more absorbent. Primed surfaces will always dry faster.  

white paint and roller

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry Between Coats?

The amount of time the paint can take to dry between coats depends on the thickness of the coats and the environment you are painting in. Coats of acrylic paint take about 10 to 20 minutes to dry. 

Thicker coats can take an hour or two. Make sure the paint feels dry to the touch before you start applying the next coat.  

If you apply the next coat too soon, the paint underneath might lift up or start to peel away. Allowing the layer to dry before applying the next one will also allow you to put multiple colors on top of one another.  


Popular Acrylic Paint Brands And Their Actual Drying Time 

Every paint brand has different drying times. Here are the most common brands and how long they typically take to dry.  

Paint Brand 

Thick Coat Drying Time  

Thin Coat Drying Time 

Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint 

1 hour to 3 days  

10 to 20 minutes  

Maimeri Acrylic Paint 

1 hour to several days  

10 to 20 minutes  

Blick Studio Acrylic Paint 

1 to 2 hours  

20 to 30 minutes  

Winsor & Newton Acrylic Paint 

1 to 2 hours 

20 to 30 minutes  

Liquitex Acrylic Paint 

1 hour to several days  

10 to 20 minutes  

Utrecht Acrylic Paint 

1 hour to 3 days  

10 to 20 minutes  

Tri-Art Acrylic Paint 

Several hours  

5 minutes  

Can I Speed Up & Slow Down Acrylic Paint Drying Time?

How can I make acrylic paint dry faster? The best way is to paint in a dry and warm location. Low humidity and a slight wind might also help.

Some people also use heat lamps, hairdryers, or heat guns if the weather and humidity are not ideal. You should also avoid thick layers of paint if you want a fast drying time.  

If you want to slow down the drying time, you can paint in a cool and damp location.

Some people need slower drying times because they need to be able to mix paints on the canvas or make certain designs. You should also avoid fans and heaters near your workplace. This will allow you to extend the drying time by a few minutes.  

If you need more than a few minutes for slower drying times, you might want to use a product that can extend drying time.

For example, you add a paint retarder to the paint, or you can keep the paint stored in airtight containers rather than in its original packaging.

painting walls with acrylic paint

Acrylic Paint Drying FAQs

How can you tell if acrylic paint is dry? 

Acrylic paint always dries on the outside first because of evaporation. If you touch the paint and it’s still cold or sticky, then it is not dry. Dry paint will be warm, and it will not be tacky or sticky.   


Does acrylic paint harden? 

Yes, when acrylic paint is completely dry, it will harden. This can take about 24 hours, but it will be dry to the touch in about 2 hours. If the paint is hard and no longer sticky, then it’s dry.  


How long does acrylic paint last? 

Different types of paint have different lifespans. Most acrylic paint will last about 10 years, while oil-based paint will last for about 15 years. If the paint is still in the container, the paint will begin to smell bad because it has aged and has excessive moisture in it.  


How do you seal acrylic paint? 

You will need to apply a varnish, but make sure the paint is completely dry before you apply the sealer. Apply the coat with a wide base coat brush and wait for it to dry before you apply the second one.  


Final Thoughts

Acrylic paint can have various drying times depending on the painting surface and the brand of paint you are using. Some can dry in as little as 10 minutes, and others will take hours to dry if you are using thick coats.