How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Various Surfaces!

Our content may have affiliate links that can result in commissions for qualifying purchases, full details in our privacy policy.

The popularity of acrylic paint has skyrocketed in recent years as more and more people have realised how cheap, easy, and relaxing painting with acrylics actually are. On top of this, acrylic paint can be a great way to keep children of all ages entertained too while also being used increasingly for home decor rather than just arts and crafts.

With there being so many beginners to using acrylic paints out there right now, there has been a drastic increase in the number of people that we see reaching out and asking questions about getting the best possible performance from their paint set. One of the more common questions that we have noticed people asking is how long does it take for acrylic paints to dry on different surfaces.

The majority of people seem to expect a quick and easy answer when it comes to the time required for their acrylic paints to dry but the actual surface that you are painting does come into play more than most people initially think. This is why there is no generic answer that can be applied to the drying times of acrylic paints so we have gone over a full breakdown on the more popular surfaces that we see people asking about below.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry!

The majority of artist grade acrylic paints should dry within thirty minutes on many surfaces but low quality acrylic paints can take considerably more on different types of porous and non-porous surfaces. External factors such as the ambient temperature where you live as well as the humidity can also come into play when it comes to acrylic paints drying quickly too.

There are also a number of very common problems that we see people, especially beginners making over and over again that will slow down the drying times of your acrylic paints. We have a dedicated article going over why your acrylic paint is not drying and how to fix the various problems that should be able to help you avoid this mistakes though and get your acrylic paints drying as quickly as possible.

We also have a dedicated article going over a number of ways that you are able to make your acrylic paint dry faster too helping to drastically reduce the drying times of acrylic paints from home decor and arts and crafts. If you are new to using acrylic paints or are on a tight budget then a set of high quality acrylic paint doesn’t have to break the bank either but can help to reduce the required drying time for your paints after use too.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Fabric!

Acrylic paint can take anywhere from thirty minutes to twenty four hours to dry when used on fabric depending on the formula of the paint used. You are able to drastically reduce these drying times by mixing in a little fabric medium with your acrylic paint prior to applying it to have your paint dry in around thirty minutes to one hour.

We know that acrylic paint is a common option for adding custom artwork to clothes and other types of fabric but some high quality fabric paint is usually around the same price while often being considerably better when used with fabric. Not only does it dry much quicker than acrylic paint in most cases but it will also usually hold its color much better without peeling or flaking too.

Due to acrylic paint drying via the water in the paint formula evaporating, you are often able to reduce the required drying time of the paint on fabric by trying to increase the temperature around it. This will help the water in the acrylic paint to dry as quickly as possible on your fabric no matter the paint formula that you have used for your custom artwork.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Plastic!

Most acrylic paint formulas will dry within thirty minutes on the majority of plastic types but there are actually seven different types of plastic out there with acrylic paint performing poorly on two of them requiring hours to dry. Thankfully, the majority of plastic surfaces that you will need to paint with acrylic paints will be made from plastic that tends to work well with acrylic paint offering a short drying time.

Using acrylic paint with plastic is another area where we constantly se beginners making mistakes and our article going over if your acrylic paint will stick to plastic may be worth reading. It goes over the more common problems that we see during the application process when using acrylic paints with plastic that can end up stretching the required drying time out for hours.

Ideally, you will also be sealing your acrylic paint onto a plastic surface once it has dried too. We have a dedicated article going over how to seal acrylic paint on plastic that covers a number of suitable methods that will help to seal your paint to your plastic surface. The main thing to remember is that you have to ensure that your acrylic paint is fully dry and totally cured prior to trying to add your sealing coat over it though or you will definitely end up running into issues further down the line.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Wood!

Acrylic paint will usually take around 20 minutes to dry on most types of wood. This drying time is consistent for most types of acrylic paint when used on wood allowing you to paint an outdoor fence quickly and have to paint dry before the weather is able to cause problems with it. The fast drying time of acrylic paint on wood can also allow you to apply a sealant to the surface one the paint is dry to offer further protection from the elements too.

Although the majority of people will probably be using an acrylic wood paint on their decking or fences, wood is also used in many forms of arts and crafts too with a slightly different acrylic paint formula usually being used. The 20 minute drying time tends to hold for both types of wood painting though when using an acrylic paint and even cheaper, lower quality acrylic paint formulas usually dry quickly when used on wood.

One potential problem that can cause your drying times for acrylic paint on wood to be longer than usual is if you are painting over an existing coat of paint on the wood. This is due to you actually applying your fresh coat of paint to the old coat of paint rather than the actual wood. This can cause drying times to sky rocket to be many hours in some cases so removing old coats of paint from wood prior to applying a new coat is recommended.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Glass!

Acrylic paint tends to dry in around one hour when applied to glass but some cheaper acrylic paint formulas can take as long as three hours to fully dry. Although the temperature of the glass can play a minor roll in the drying time of the acrylic paint, this really is minimal and won’t change the expected drying time by much unless you are in extreme temperatures.

The longer than average drying time of acrylic paint on glass is due to its non-porous that makes it slightly harder for the paint to dry. This is one of the main reasons that acrylic paint can be watery on some surfaces but this is totally normal for a non-porous surface and nothing to be worried about in most cases.

A very common mistake that we see time and time again with people trying to use acrylic paints on glass surfaces is that they glass will be dirty. Although regular dirt shouldn’t cause much of an issue, grease and oils that have build up on the glass surface can be a paint and cause your acrylic paint to take even longer to dry in most cases. Thankfully, you are usually able to quickly and easily clean most glass surfaces to remove these prior to applying your oil paint helping to ensure that you get the fastest possible drying time.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Metal!

Different types of metal react differently to having acrylic paint applied to them so a drying time of between one and two days is normal. The temperature of the metal during the drying process can also come into play with a colder metal causing an acrylic paint to take longer to fully dry so a three day drying time may be required in some areas.

This is due to the non-porous nature of metal as well as how much of an effect temperature changes can have on drying times for paint applied to metal. One work around is to try and apply a suitable paint primer to the metal surface prior to applying your acrylic paint but in most cases, the difference in the actual drying time in minimal and not worth doing.

That said though, although applying a paint primer product to a metal surface may not speed up the drying time of the acrylic paint that you apply above it, it can offer other benefits. The main ones are that the acrylic paint will usually bond better to the metal preventing you from having any major problems with peeling or flaking and the primer can also help you get a smoother coat of paint too.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Rocks!

Rocks can be both non-porous and porous depending on the mineral that forms the bulk of the rock meaning that drying times for acrylic paint can range from as little as 20 minutes to as much as 24 hours. Unfortunately, there are just too many mineral types out there that make up rocks to offer a more specific drying time than that in most cases so a “wait and see” approach is usually recommended.

One thing that you are able to do to try and improve the drying time of your acrylic paints on rocks is to ensure that you are using a high quality acrylic paint or a suitable acrylic paint pen to ensure that the paint will dry as quickly as possible. Even then though, some minerals will require much longer for your acrylic paint to dry than others so simply applying your acrylic paint and waiting to see how long it takes for the paint to dry is often the only option available.

As many people keep their rock art outdoors, we would highly recommend that you learn how to seal painted rocks to make them waterproof too. Some acrylic paint formulas can easily rehydrate once dry and wash off your rocks or cause the colors in the paint to fade rapidly. Sealing your rock art is quick and easy in most cases and will be able to drastically reduce the chances of these problems from occurring.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Terracotta!

Acrylic paint will usually dry on terracotta within the first 24 hours after being applied with some acrylic paint formulas drying in as little as 30 minutes. The thicker the coat of acrylic paint on the terracotta, the longer it will take to fully dry with low quality acrylic paint formulas taking longer to dry then the better paint formulas.

The glaze that some terracotta pots have on them can also effect the drying time of your acrylic paint on terracotta too. Unfortunately, there are a range of different products used for these glaze finishes with some helping to reduce the drying time while others will extend it. Glaze free terracotta pots often offer a more reliable drying time allowing you to plan your arts and crafts sessions better, especially if you want to apply multiple layers of acrylic paint or seal the paint once dry.

If you are wanting to paint used terracotta then be sure to clean it prior to painting it, especially if it is a terracotta plant pot. The dirt, grease, and oil build up on the terracotta can cause your paint to take much longer to dry than it otherwise would. In most cases, you can clean a terracotta pot within minutes resulting in a considerably quicker drying time for the paint.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Canvas!

Most acrylic paint formulas will dry in as little as 20 minutes when applied to canvas but artist grade, high pigment acrylics can take as long as three hours to dry. Unlike some other surfaces, the thickness of the canvas tends not to have much of an effect on the drying times for acrylic paints applied to it.

We know that the majority of our readers will be wanting to know the drying to for using acrylic paints on a traditional, stretched canvas for painting but custom canvas shoe art with acrylic paint is becoming increasingly popular. Mostly acrylic paints will dry in as little as 20 minutes when used on canvas shoes offering a quick and easy way to customise your shoes.

When it comes to painting, a traditional, brush applied acrylic paint tends to be the best option for your canvas but when it comes to canvas shoes, more and more people are starting to use a suitable acrylic paint pen due to it offering much better performance and control. Due to the release of the acrylic paint from the pens nib being controlled, it is difficult to accidentally add too much acrylic paint using this method too helping to keep drying times minimal.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Ceramic!

The majority of modern acrylic paint formulas will often dry within around 24 hours when applied to ceramic surfaces. That said though, some finishes that are applied to certain types of ceramic products such as glazes can have a direct effect on the drying time of acrylic paint causing it to take longer to fully dry.

We have a dedicated article going over if acrylic paint is food safe or not that might be worth checking out if your ceramic surfaces are intended for food and drink. Much of the custom ceramic artwork that we see people doing is more for a decorative or creative process rather than to add custom artwork to their plates though.

If you are looking to apply acrylic paint to a piece of pre-furnaces ceramic then double check with the staff who run the furnace facility as to what paints you can and can’t use. The vast majority of the time, this type of arts and crafts session is done onsite at the place where your ceramics will be furnaces though with the paints being supplied for you.


That brings our article going over how long it takes for acrylic paint to dry on different surfaces to an end. In most cases, your acrylic paint should dry in as little as an hour but as we have explained above, there are a number of specific situations where it can take days for your acrylic paint to dry. There are multiple tips and tricks that you are able to take advantage of when it comes to your acrylic paint on various surface types though helping you rapidly dry your paint in the shortest possible time frame.