The use of spray paint is surging at the moment due to more and more people starting to use spray paint for arts and crafts, home decor, custom paint jobs on vehicles as well as a number of other popular use cases too. With so many people moving over to using spray paint on a regular basis, we have noticed more and more questions being asked with each month that passes from the community.
One of the more common questions that we have seen time and time again in recent months is based on how long does spray paint take to dry. Although there would seem to be a large amount of misinformation out there when it comes to how long spray paint takes to dry, much of it is actually correct and the widely varying drying times are simply due to the different variables that you have to take into account when trying to get your spray paint to dry quickly.
This is why we have decided to publish this article to go over how you are able to get your spray paint to dry as quickly as possible without going tacky in a wide range of different situations. We plan to take the various variables into account for each section of our article in the hope that we will be able to help you get a better understanding of how long it will take for your spray paint to dry in your specific situation.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?
The majority of modern acrylic spray paint formulas will usually fully dry within eight to twenty four hours after their initial application to the surface. The majority of modern oil based spray paint formulas will usually fully dry within twenty four to thirty six hours of application to the surface.
This is the first variable that you have to take into account as the formulas used for acrylic (water based) and oil based spray paint formulas dry in different ways to each other. An acrylic spray paint formula will usually dry much quicker due to it only needing the water in the formula to evaporate. An oil based spray paint formula needs the oil in its formula to oxidise usually taking longer before it will be able to fully dry.
The actual quality of your spray paint will also come into play too with cheaper products often taking longer to dry in most situations. Always try to use a decent spray paint when possible as they dry much quicker and usually only cost a dollar or more than their cheaper counter parts. Our article on using a hairdryer to help your spray paint dry quicker may be worth reading too as it can help to drastically reduce the drying time for spray paint in some situations.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry In Cold Weather?
Most spray paint formulas will take longer to dry in cold weather with some formulas taking more than double their listed drying time to fully dry. This is due to the molecules in the spray paint moving considerably slower when cold resulting in a longer drying time for both acrylic and oil based spray paint products.
We go into this in much more detail in our article on if spray paint dries faster in heat or cold that may be worth checking out if you will be using your spray paint in colder temperatures on a regular basis. There are plenty of little tricks that you are able to implement when using your spray paint in colder temperatures to avoid these problems though often keeping your drying times inline with what they would normally be.
Depending on the exact situation, it may actually be worth delaying your painting session if you will have to paint outdoors in the cold though. As the spray paint will take longer to dry in colder conditions it leave the paint open to a number of potential problems for longer during the drying process that can really detract from the final look of the paint.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry In Hot Weather?
Warmer weather is able to help both acrylic and oil based spray paint dry slightly quicker than usual with acrylic based spray paint formulas often drying in as little as four to six hours. Oil based spray paint formulas will still take longer to dry, even in hot weather though due to the heat not having as much of an effect on their drying process.
We have a dedicated article going over if spray paint dries faster in the sun and how the process actually changes when heat is present for the drying process that may be helpful. You also have to keep in mind that leaving your spray paint to dry in the sun to try and reduce drying time also presents some risks to the paint too though, especially if you are using a cheaper spray paint.
The ultra violet light in the suns rays can cause color fade in both acrylic and oil based spray paint formulas if the paint has not been left to dry fully prior to being exposed to the suns light. Even some of the more expensive spray paint formulas can have this same issue due to the pigments used for some colors so it is often recommended that you leave your spray paint to dry fully if possible prior to exposing it to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Various Surfaces?
Most spray paint formulas will tend to dry after twenty four to thirty side hours after being applied to the surface that you are painting. That said, some materials can cause your spray paint to dry quicker than this while others will cause your spray paint to take longer before fully drying.
Some surfaces will cause your spray paint to look and feel sticky or tacky during the drying process too often making people think that there has been a problem and that their spray paint has gone bad. We cover this in more detail in our article going over why your spray paint is sticky though and in most cases, it is nothing to worry about and can be totally normal for some surfaces when using spray paint on them, especially an oil based spray paint.
The majority of our readers will probably only be using their spray paint on regular surfaces that most modern spray paint formulas can handle with minimal issues though. Even in extreme heat or cold, most modern formulas should be able to dry within their recommended drying time periods and not have problems with the spray paint going tacky or sticky.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Wood?
Most modern spray paint formulas will bond well with wood and dry in less than two days with most products taking less than a day to dry fully. Although cold weather can have an effect on this and extend the drying times, this is usually not by more than a day or two due to how well spray paint bonds to wood.
Keep in mind that some spray paints are not designed for use with wood though so always use a decent spray paint that is suitable for painting wood. Not only will this help improve the end result and ensure that the wood looks the absolute best it can be once dry but it can also help to reduce the drying time for your spray paint when used on a wooden surface too.
Although you can technically spray paint over old paint or varnish on a wooden surface, the results will almost always be better if you remove any old paint prior to applying your new coat of spray paint too. In addition to this, removing the old coat of paint can also help your spray paint bond to the wood better resulting in a slightly shorter drying time too.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Metal?
The majority of modern spray paint formulas should be able to dry within a day or two on most types of metal. Depending on the type of metal that you are spray painting though, you may want to use a primer prior to applying to your spray paint to reduce the drying time and improve the final result of your spray paint.
You should also try to ensure that you are using a decent spray paint when spray painting a metal surface too as some of the cheaper, entry level paint formulas can struggle to bond to some types of metal. As we touched on n above though, you are able to counter that by using a primer on the metal prior to applying your spray paint but even then, some of the cheaper paint formulas can struggle with color retention, especially if they are constantly exposed to the suns rays due to UV light exposure.
Another thing that can have an effect on the drying time of metals is the actual temperature of the metal during the drying period for your spray paint too. If the ambient temperature is cold then the core temperature of the metal will also be cold and potentially cause acrylic spray paint formulas to take longer to dry then they otherwise would. You are able to offset this by using heat lamps if you have them available but not all of our readers will have access to heat lamps so you will have to factor in the ambient temperature when looking to dry your spray paint as quickly as possible.
How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry On Plastic?
Spray paint usually dries within two or three days on most types of plastic but keep in mind, there are seven different types of plastic with spray paint usually not working very well on two of them. Thankfully, the majority of surfaces that you will be looking to spray paint over are made from higher quality plastics so you shouldn’t have any problems at all.
Even the plastic types that work well with spray paint can sometimes do well to have a primer used on them prior to you applying your spray paint though. Not only does this improve the bonding process and color retention, it can help to get your spray paint to dry quicker on some plastic types while also preventing problems with flaking too.
Many of the entry level spray paint formulas on the market can have problems with bonding to some types of plastic so a decent spray paint that has the proven ability to work well with plastic is highly recommended. If you do use a primer and a decent spray paint then you can expect your paint to dry in as little as a day in some situations, especially if the ambient temperature is warm.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Glass?
Both acrylic and oil based spray paint usually dry within a day when used on a glass surface but some situations may cause an oil based spray paint to take up to two days to dry fully. There are also potential issues with dirt and grease on the glass that can make your spray paint take longer to dry so always ensure that your glass surface is clean prior to applying your spray paint.
The majority of the decent spray paint product on the market do work well with glass right out of the canister but if you are using a cheaper, entry level paint formula then a primer is recommended. Although the ambient temperature can effect the core temperature of glass, it tends not to have too much of an effect on the drying time for acrylic spray paints keeping the drying time at less than 24 hours in most cases.
We know that many people will use a temporary spray paint on their glass windows in their home for events such as Halloween and Christmas and these tend to dry even quicker than conversational spray paints. For example, the fake snow spray paint products can often dry in a few hours but keep in mind, these products are temporary and have not been designed for long term use on your glass surfaces.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Cardboard?
Acrylic spray paint formulas can dry in as little as eight hours when used on cardboard and oil based formulas can dry in as little as a day. Cardboard is actually an ideal surface for spray paint to dry on and will often have a drying time that is considerably shorter than some of the other surface types helping you get your paint dry as soon as possible.
In recent years, using an acrylic or oil based spray paint formula for your background layer on cardboard for arts and crafts has become increasingly popular. This is due to the spray paint being cheap, being very quick and easy to apply to the cardboard while also drying very quickly allowing you to build up the layers of your painting without having to waste time for the spray paint to dry.
Some artists try to speed up the drying time of their spray paint on cardboard by using a hair dryer on it and this can work well for oil based spray paints due to helping to speed up the oxidisation process but spray paint will usually dry quick enough on cardboard anyway. Although there are different types of cardboard on the market, the drying times for spray paint tend to be universal in most cases offer spray paint an advantage over other paint types when used in this way.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Paper?
Some arts and crafts spray paint formulas can dry within an hour when used on paper but the majority of acrylic formulas will need around eight hours to fully dry with oil based formulas usually needing around a day. If you are wanting to fasted possible drying times for arts and crafts then be sure to go with a spray paint formula that has specifically been designed for use with paper rather than a general use spray paint formula.
As the majority of people who will be using a spray paint on paper will be doing so as a part of an arts and crafts project, you will usually be better off going with a specialist spray paint that has been designed for use with paper. Not only does this drastically reduce the drying times of the paint formula when used on paper but it can help to improve the performance when other types of paint are used on it during the layering process.
General use spray paint formulas are designed to last for as long as possible with many of them having ingredients designed to protect the paint when outdoors and exposed to the elements too. This keeps their drying time much longer than a specialist spray paint formula that has been designed for use for paper with some taking as long as a day to fully dry.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Fabric?
Spray paint will usually dry extremely quickly on most fabrics with acrylic formulas often drying within an hour or two and oil formulas drying within around twelve hours. If you are looking to spray paint a fabric such as leather then these drying times can be considerably longer though and may take as long as a day or even more in some cases.
Some fabrics such as leather can do better if you use a paint primer on the leather fabric prior to applying your spray paint too. This can reduce the drying time and ensure that the paint bonds well with the surface with minimal issues. Ensuring that you are using a decent spray paint that has a proven track record of working well when used on fabric can also help reduce the drying time too.
One quick and easy tip that you can use to help spray paint dry quicker when used on fabric is to increase the airflow as much as possible. For example, if you are spray painting a t-shirt for a party then put the t-shirt on a coat hanger and try to bulk it out so it has as much air flow on the inside and outside of the fabric as possible. This can reduce the drying time for both acrylic and oil based spray paints on fabric considerably and help the paint dry much quicker than it otherwise would.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Canvas?
Most spray paint formulas will tend to dry fully within a day or two when used on canvas. Some acrylic spray paint formulas can dry in as little as six hours though but oil based spray paint formulas usually take longer than their acrylic counterparts when used on canvas.
This is accurate for both stretched canvas for painted as well as canvas shoes for custom paint jobs on your shoes too. Over the last two to three years, the use of spray paint on both types of canvas has sky rocketed resulting in more and more people reaching out trying to work out how they are able to get their spray paint to dry on canvas as quickly as possible.
In most cases, simply leave the spray paint to dry naturally is the best course of action with a canvas. That said, you can try to use a hair dryer or fan to increase the air flow over an oil based spray paint to help it dry quicker by increasing the oxidisation rate of the oils in the paint formula. This will do little to nothing for an acrylic spray paint though but can work wonders for the drying time of an oil based formula in most cases.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Rubber?
Spray paint tends not to have a set drying time when used with rubber as the individual differences in each brands paint formula can result in a drastic change in drying time. Some formulas can take as long as three days to fully dry when applied to rubber and even then the results can be questionable.
There are some specific paint primers that can work well with rubber to give your spray paint an easier time with both bonding and drying but if the rubber will be moving and flexed then flaking and cracking can still occur. Both acrylic and oil based spray paint will have these issues but although an oil based formula will take longer to dry, it does tend to offer marginally better performance than an acrylic spray paint when used on rubber.
If you are looking to do some serious, long term artwork on a rubber surface then a high quality primer that is suitable for rubber as well as a high quality spray paint is highly recommended. Even then though, drying times will still be over two days but the end result will be better than if you had used low quality products on your rubber surface.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry On Rims?
Spray paint can take as little as six hours to dry when applied to rims but some formulas can take as long as three days to fully dry. This is due to the different formulas of spray paint with the ones that tend to offer the best end result taking longer to dry due to their better ingredients.
As many of the spray paint formulas that will be used on rims offer protection from the elements in the paint formula, the drying time will always be longer. Although some people do use a weaker spray paint formula on their rims and then apply clear coat over the top of their spray paint once it has dried, we still recommend that you use the best spray paint possible.
Although the drying time can be longer, the actual color retention is considerably better and the paint should not fade due to exposure to UV light from the sun. Although there are some clear coat formulas that offer UV protection, we always recommend that you try to have native UV protection in your actual spray paint formula for use with rims too.
That brings our article going over how long spray paint takes to dry on various surfaces to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you understand the different variables that all come into play when trying to get your spray paint to dry as quickly as possible. As we touched on back at the start of the article, the surface you are painting as well as the spray paint formula that you are using will all come into play with regards to the paint drying time and there is no one size fits all answer.