A Look At If Spray Paint Dries Faster In The Sun!

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Although spray paint has always been a popular option for a number of tasks ranging from arts and crafts to re-sprays of vehicles, its popularity really has shot up over the last few years. This has resulted in a number of beginners experimenting with spray paint and reaching out to try and ensure that they are getting the best performance possible when using it.

Although we have noticed more and more questions being asked about spray paint, we have noticed more and more people specifically reaching out to ask if spray paint dry faster in the sun or not. Due to there being a number of variables that you have to consider for this one, we have decided to publish this article to try and ensure that our readers get the best end result from their spray paint while also getting it to dry as quickly as possible.

You have to also realise that factors such as the time of the day, your location, and the season will also come into play as the heat and amount of direct UV light from the sun can change. This means that just because you had success at one point in a year, it does not mean you will always get the same results.

Does Spray Paint Dry Faster In The Sun?

Although many spray paint formulas will dry quicker if left outside, this is not actually due to the sun but the wind. This is because the majority of popular spray paint formulas are oil based and will dry quicker from increased air flow speeding up their oxidisation process when drying.

The heat from the sun is able to help ensure that water based spray paints dry quicker but these water based spray paint formulas make up a very small amount of total spray paint usage. There are also some very specific industrial spray paints that are technically chemical based and should be kept out of sunlight we doubt many of our readers will ever use them.

It is a common belief that leaving a surface that you have applied spray paint to will dry quicker in sunlight but this is not the actual reason the paint dries quicker. Oil based paints dry via oxidisation rather than evaporation meaning that more air flow will help them dry quicker so even a slight breeze can help most spray paints dry quickly. This is one of the reasons some people will actually use a hairdryer to make their spray paint dry quicker.

Are There Any Side Effects For Spray Paint From The Sun?

Sunlight has a surprisingly high amount of UV light in it, especially the closer you get to the equator. UV light can cause issues with color fade for some spray paint formulas, especially the more budget friendly options on the market.

Some of the more niche spray paint formulas from repeatable brands will have ingredients in them for their unique use case that should be kept away from UV light until dry too. Thankfully, these products will clearly say something along the lines of “keep out of sunlight” on their label.

If you live in most parts of Europe or North America apart from the states on the US/Mexico boarder then the UV light from the sun will be a small issue and probably not result in any side effects. That said, it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you are doing client work rather than personal arts and crafts so always check the labels of your spray paints.

How Does Spray Paint Dry?

Oil based spray paints dry via the process of oxidisation. This is when the oils in the spray paint react with the air around them and oxidise causing the oil to leave the paint and leave the pigment and any protective sealant ingredients behind.

Water based spray paints dry via the process of evaporation. This is where the water in the spray paint evaporates due to heat and leaves the paint formula leaving the pigment and any protective pigment behind.

All spray paint products should clearly say if they are water based or oil based on the back of them so it shouldn’t be hard to workout what type you are using. Just remember that if you are using oil based spray paint, it is not the sun making it dry quicker but the breeze or wind and there are safer ways that you can artificially create these conditions to get your paint to dry quicker too.

What Are The Best Drying Conditions For Spray paint?

The best drying conditions for spray paint will depend on your location and what you are actually doing. For example, if you are using your spray paint for arts and crafts you will often be working will small surface you can leave somewhere in your home to dry. If you are working with vehicles then this will not be suitable and you will need a much larger space for your spray paint to dry.

There are additional things that you have to factor in too with vehicles as you may not have any other option but to leave them outdoors exposed to the sun light due to their size. The majority of professional level spray paint that has been designed for vehicle use should have protective agents in its formula to reduce the chance of having problems with the UV light from the sun though.

If you are using your spray paint for smaller arts and crafts jobs then you are able to use a number of quick and easy tricks to dry your paint as quickly as possible without leaving it in the sun. For example, using a hairdryer to dry your spray paint is a very common trick for the arts and crafts space.


That brings our article going over if spray paint will dry faster in the sun or not to an end. We can understand where the misconception comes from that leaving a freshly spray painted surface out in direct sunlight can make it dry quicker but the faster drying time is almost always down to another reason rather than the actual sunlight.