How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry? – Detailed Guide

How long does it take for spray paint to dry? Last year, I painted the wooden furniture by myself and created a whole mess. In the end, I had to contact an expert for guidance and was able to turn the entire scenario into a blessing. Considering the lesson from last year, I achieved relatively better results this year. Now, coming to the point, what happened last year resulted from my impatience. I applied two coats of spray paint without waiting for the initial coat to dry.

This led to the visible signs of paint drops pooling down the applied surface. I realized that four hours was an absolute minimum for drying the first coat before applying the second one. I usually wait for 60 minutes with the polymer paints that I use. The expert then, later on, told me that different paints take different times to dry and I should take into account multiple factors before proceeding with the second one. I decided to share the tips with all of you, and therefore I have outlined various factors that affect the time frame required for the paint to dry.

How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry?

The ability of the spray paint to dry highly depends upon the chemical composition of the spray paint, the number of coats and their thickness, humidity in the surrounding air temperature of the room, and the surface on which the plant is being applied.

Below I have discussed all the factors that affect the spray paint’s drying rate. All these factors can change the rate at which spray paint dries in general and might leave you waiting for a few hours or, in some cases, for up to a day. I suggest waiting around 24 hours to let the paint dry completely before you begin resettling your furniture and other necessary items in your room.

Material That Is Being Sprayed

The material being sprayed can play a significant role in changing the time it dries. Some materials make it easier for the paint to dry immediately after the application. However, other substances are challenging to paint and take longer to dry after applying multiple coats.


You might be surprised that metal can dry out immediately after it is sprayed with paint. You will generally observe that the paint seems dry upon touching as soon as 10 minutes after its application. However, you will still have to wait at least 24 hours to let the paint settle down properly and dry out after applying multiple coats. I recommend using thin coats of metal spray paints for even faster results.


Wood is different from metal and may affect the drying abilities of the paint. In addition, it is advised to take other factors into consideration. Applying thick coats of paint over the wooden surface can increase the time required to dry correctly. Though it is advised to wait 24 hours before you begin your regular tasks, you can still touch the paint after an hour or two of application. This is because the paint will start drying after almost two hours but will dry completely after 24 hours. Check our guide how long does spray paint take to dry on wood.


Plastic is another material that is worth mentioning in this regard. The paint applied on a plastic material takes about 30 minutes to dry completely. Spray paint requires just thirty minutes for it to set and cure on a plastic surface. It’s safe to touch the painted surface in that amount of time; you can use your finger to test if the paint has attached itself properly. But despite this, I suggest waiting for at least 24 hours before you resume your regular activities for the best results.

Temperature And Humidity In The Surroundings

Temperature and humidity are other factors responsible for changes in the average time required for a specific paint to dry. Let’s discuss the temperature first. Experts suggest warmer temperatures are ideal for quick and efficient spray paint drying. This is because they facilitate the consistency and composition of the paint and allow it to bond better with the surface it has been applied.

Whether painting indoors or outdoors, keeping the temperature between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit will yield the best results. It is not recommended to paint during colder temperatures. This is especially true if the temperature of the surroundings is below the freezing point, as it can affect the consistency of the paint and will also impact the adhesion properties of the paint. Hence, allowing it to dry immediately.

Care must be taken to pay attention to both temperature and humidity levels. Thus, making it difficult for the paint to bond with the surface to which it has been applied. This will increase the time required for drying, and you might have to wait a few days before the paint dries completely.

A humid environment also affects the curing ability of the paint and, thus, contributes to an overall increase in the time required for this purpose. Therefore, it is ideal for painting in less humid environments with negligible moisture content to achieve the best results without affecting the paint’s adhesion properties or curing time.

Chemical Composition

The type of paint and its chemical composition is other factors that will impact the rate at which it will dry. When you’re considering buying spray paints, you’ll have various compositions of chemicals to select from. The most commonly used paints are made of polyurethane and epoxy materials and are more efficient than all their counterparts. It’s important to be mindful of certifications and safety measures when making your choice.

These paints are capable of drying out within five minutes of application. At this time, the paint is safe to touch, and afterwards, it takes about an hour or two to let the paint cure fully. Besides this, you can also find thermoplastic polymers that are used to manufacture paints in combination with Lacquer.

The lacquer-based paints are renowned for their speedy drying time; generally, the paint can dry to touch within 3 to 4 hours of application.You can also touch the paint 15 to 20 minutes after application without worrying about staining your hands. It might take longer than polyurethane paints but it is better than latex paints.

Finally, Latex paints and Enamel paints take considerably longer to dry completely. The drying time of clay projects is variable, depending upon environmental conditions; it typically takes 8-16 hours, though in humid areas or high temperatures, it may take up to 24 hours.

Application Of Coats

The number of coats you apply and the thickness of coats can also affect the rate at which the paint will cure fully. Generally, using thinner coats make it easier for the paint to dry immediately, and you can touch it with your hands after a few minutes of application. Thick coats require a longer drying period.

If you have applied a single coat, you might wait up to 8 hours before doing other activities such as setting furniture. However, in the case of multiple coat applications, it is advised to wait at least 24 hours to let the paint settle and cure properly and prevent it from sticking to other surfaces.

How To Make The Spray Paint Dry Faster?

There are some tips and tricks to decrease the average time required for the spray paint to cure fully, and they will allow you to return to your routine tasks immediately after you have applied the paint to the furniture or other items. Though these techniques are effective, you should wait an hour or two for the best results and avoid staining other objects with the paint.

How to Make the Spray Paint Dry Faster

Use A Fan

A fan near the air sprayed with paint can help increase air circulation. Better air circulation is known to improve evaporation and, therefore, help the paint dry quickly. Using the fan is at the top of our list. But there are some downsides as well.

You should not sit or work near the fan as the increased air circulation will also disperse the fumes and tiny paint particles in the air, which can cause discomfort to the eyes and might also generate a strong odour. Similarly, ensure that the room is free of dust and dirt, as fans can attract dirt and blow dirt on the newly painted surface.

Decrease The Humidity

As mentioned earlier, increased humidity in the surrounding can affect the drying rate of the paint irrespective of its composition and is not recommended if you are using spray paint. Therefore, decreasing the humidity in the workplace can be of great help.

If you are painting indoors, using a dehumidifier in the room can significantly decrease the humidity and reduce the time required to cure the paint. Similarly, reading the weather forecast in outdoor conditions and working on days with low air humidity can help in the long term.

Increase The Heat In The Surroundings

Warmer temperatures are ideal for effectively drying the spray paint; thus, increasing the temperature near the workstation can be the best solution in this case. If you have sprayed a relatively small object, you can use a blow dryer with an intense heat setting to let it dry quickly.

Similarly, for significant substances, using a heater inside the room or increasing the temperature of your inverter air conditioner can keep the room warm and release hot air into the surroundings, effectively drying the paint. These tricks can especially be adopted in the case of Latex paints because of their extended drying periods.

Apply Thin Coats

Apart from the above-mentioned options, you can apply thin coats over the surface to allow the paint to dry quickly. Using thicker and multiple coats can significantly increase the time required for the paint to settle and dry thoroughly. It will also help maintain the consistency of the paint and will prevent it from running downward. You should also wait some time after applying a single coat before applying another, as a consecutive application without any drying time can lead to over-coating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Spray Paint Dry In Two Hours?

On average, the spray paint will dry within one to two hours after application, and you might observe that the painted surface can be touched with your hand after a few minutes of application without staining your hands. However, this is only sometimes the case. The drying time might increase or decrease depending on the paint’s composition and the temperature and humidity in the surroundings.

How Many Coats Of Spray Paint Should I Use?

You can apply as many coats as you want, provided that you offer an adequate drying time for each coat. However, the majority of the experts recommend keeping the coat count to two. Applying two coats with sufficient drying time for each coat can yield the best results and contribute to better paint adhesion to the surface on which it has been applied.

Will Spray Paint Dry In The Cold?

Cold temperatures are not ideal for drying the spray paints. This is because the decrease in the temperature can affect the consistency and adhesion properties of the spray paints, which in turn is responsible for the increase in the average drying period. Therefore, you must take the necessary measures to increase the temperature around your workplace for better paint adhesion and quick drying.

Final Thoughts

The DIY paint application requires a lot of patience, especially if you plan to apply more than one coat of spray paint. This is because you must provide adequate time for the first coating to dry before using another one. Generally, most of the paints available in the market can dry entirely between one to eight hours after application. This prevents the pain from running and avoids over-coating the surface.

However, various factors can affect and increase the time frame required for drying the paint. These include the paint composition, thickness of the coats, material being sprayed, temperature, and humidity in the workspace. Therefore, you should take adequate measures to achieve efficient and desired results.

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