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How long does acrylic paint take to dry

How long does acrylic paint take to dry

One of the big advantages of acrylic paint is that it dries quickly. This is why it is so popular in arts and crafts.

It is important to know the drying speed especially when you are mixing acrylic paint to get the perfect shade.

The drying time of acrylic paint depends on several parameters such as temperature, humidity, layer thickness, etc. In general, for a thin layer of paint acrylic paint dries between 10-30 minutes, while a thick layer of acrylic paint may take up to 2 hours to dry to the touch. If the coat is really heavy, it takes about 24 hours to dry completely.

In this article, you'll find out everything there is to know about drying acrylic paint.

Let's find out all about it together right now.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry

In order to understand how acrylic paint dries, it is important to know its composition. This paint is composed of:

  • Pigments: which are similar to those in oil paint, of mineral and organic origin, natural (rare) or synthetic.
  • Binders: an emulsion of water and acrylic resin or polymer. A variant is the acrylic-vinyl binder (vinyl paint). The texture of the binder is more or less fluid depending on the manufacturer.

- Other additives that ensure durability.

Since acrylic paint is primarily composed of water, the drying process consists of the evaporation of water molecules and some other agents. The binder and pigment remain and stick together.

Although the drying time of acrylic paint varies between 10 and 30 minutes, certain factors can make this process faster or slower. Below is a non-exhaustive list of factors that influence the drying time:

  • The thickness of the paint layer;
  • The brand of paint you are using;
  • Humidity;
  • Temperature;
  • Air circulation;
  • The addition of additives;

Each factor will be studied later in this development.

However, it is important to distinguish 2 stages of drying of acrylic paint:

  • Quick-drying stage: This is when the paint is dry to the touch. This means that a thin flexible layer has formed on top of the paint. However, the core of the paint layer is not yet dry.
  • The entire paint layer is completely dry or hardened. The water in the paint evaporates completely during this stage. Therefore, the thickness of the paint will affect the drying time. The thicker the coat, the longer it will take for the paint to fully dry.

How to reduce the drying time of acrylic paint

Acrylic paints already dry very quickly, but you can speed up the process by using a few tricks.

Try painting in a warm, dry, ventilated area.

How to slow down the drying time of acrylic paint

You can slow down the drying time if you place your acrylic paint in a cool, damp place with no air circulation. Avoid using fans or heaters near your work area. Using one of these techniques can help you extend the drying time by a few minutes.

Drying time can also be influenced by the brand of paint or the thickness of the paint.

You can also add a retarder to your acrylic paint. The retarders extend the drying time when necessary.

Drying time according to the material of the support

The drying time of acrylic paint can vary depending on the material on which it is applied.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on wood

On average, acrylic paint takes about 20 to 30 minutes to dry to the touch on a wood surface. The paint takes between 6 hours and 12 hours to dry completely. The number of coats of paint influences the drying time.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on canvas

On a canvas, the drying time of acrylic paint varies between 10-20 minutes to the touch. It also depends on the preparation of the canvas.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on plastic

Acrylic paint dries on plastic in 15 to 20 minutes on average. It is important to note that the paint tends to have more difficulty adhering to a smooth surface. It is advisable to seal the paint to the surface with varnish to prevent it from peeling.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on metal

Acrylic paint dries on metal in 48 hours on average. But be careful, before painting the surface, it is necessary to sand the surface to help the paint adhere to the smooth surface.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on glass

Acrylic paint takes an average of 24 to 72 hours to dry on glass.


The drying time of acrylic paint is 10 to 30 minutes depending on several parameters. In addition, the substrate and the number of layers of paint influence the drying time.

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