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Why is my acrylic paint not drying

Why is my acrylic paint not drying

Whether it's for DIY or for a hobby, acrylic paint is very popular. Have you painted a wall or a picture with acrylic paint and find that it doesn't dry fast enough? Does it have a sticky, tacky texture even after many minutes?
Acrylic paint is usually known for drying quickly. So it's normal to be concerned that the paint isn't drying as fast as expected.

But don't panic, we are passionate about this subject and know exactly what the reasons are for this phenomenon.

Let's find out right now what the reasons might be. 

Why acrylic paint won't dry

Acrylic paint is mostly made of water. The main reason why acrylic paint doesn't dry is because the air around it is too humid. However, this is not the only possible explanation.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why the paint may not dry.

High humidity in the room

If you are painting in direct sunlight or very high temperatures, the paint dries too quickly and may not adhere properly to the substrate.
Conversely, painting in humid weather or low temperatures causes the opposite effect: the paint does not dry or dries very slowly.
This is a relatively rare occurrence, but if it happens to you, you may want to use a dehumidifier in the room to speed up the process.

You used too much retarder/thinner

Acrylic paint has the advantage of drying quickly. Under certain conditions, the user has to add a retarder so that the paint does not dry too fast.
It can happen that the user adds too much retarder in the paint. This results in a delay in the drying of the paint.

Your paint layers are too thick

Sometimes when you paint a surface, you apply a layer of paint that is too thick. The thicker the coat, the longer the drying time.
When painting on paper or canvas, sometimes (especially for beginners) too much paint is applied. This results in more paint to dry, extending the drying time considerably. To avoid this, simply apply less paint or thinner layers.

Improper paint mixing

It is very important to mix your paint properly before using it, as all the components are important for the paint to hold well to the substrate.
Use a mixer, reach down to the bottom of the can or jar of paint when mixing to get the heavy components that settle there. Some bad mixtures cause paint to stick or tack.

Poor preparation of the painted surface

It is very important to note that a good preparation of the support is the insurance of a paint which hangs. Cleaning and degreasing the surface guarantees that the undercoat will hold and that the paint will dry properly.
Applying acrylic paint on a wet or damp surface will increase the water saturation of the paint and therefore the drying time. It is therefore important to dry the surface you are about to paint before applying paint.

Poor ventilation of the room

Ventilation of the room is very important for the proper drying of acrylic paint. A poorly ventilated room is not conducive to drying.

Too short drying time between each coat

It is obvious that not respecting the drying time between coats of paint leads to a much longer drying time.

Poor quality of the paint

Many beginners start with poor quality acrylic paints, containing the wrong ingredients and the wrong proportions of ingredients.
Using decent quality acrylic paints can be a quick and easy solution to ensure that your paints dry quickly.


As we've seen in this article, there are several explanations for why acrylic paint doesn't dry quickly. So you have the tools to deal with this problem if you are faced with it.

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