How long does acrylic paint take to dry?

Drying time for most acrylics is really fast. You must know the difference between paint that is dry to the touch and paint that has completely cured or dried. Marketers often use the term “dry time” to describe a product that is “dry to the touch.” The time it takes for acrylic paint to dry is dependent on the product sheet.

The drying time for acrylic paints ranges from 20 to 30 minutes. Most brands are dry to the touch in 10 to 20 minutes. However, a slew of other variables plays a role in drying time. The paint brand and kind are the most critical concerns. Slow-drying acrylics, for example, might remain wet on a canvas for a considerable amount of time. Because of the extra time, the final product will be of the highest quality.

acrylic paint design
image courtesy: Steve; source:

Environmental factors, including humidity, temperature, air movement, and surface type, impact the exact duration. The drying phase is susceptible to harm until it has thoroughly dried, and the thickness of the application affects how quickly acrylic paint cures. Thin coats of acrylic cure in a few days. On the other hand, applying thick coats of paint may take weeks.

Checkout: acrylic paint vs enamel paint differences

Many individuals pick acrylic paint since it’s flexible and speedy drying. The water-based paint is likewise exceptionally reasonable, making it magnificent for a large number of tasks. You could definitely know how to utilize it, yet is acrylic paint waterproof?

Acrylic paint is to some degree water-safe, yet it isn’t altogether waterproof. Notwithstanding, you can make the paint more waterproof via fixing it. The means you take differ in view of the sort of surface you’re painting. You additionally need to set up the surface ahead of time for the best outcomes.

Acrylic is a water-based paint. This implies that it is speedy drying, modest, and very simple to work with. Numerous craftsmen and crafters are drawn to acrylic paint therefore. In spite of the fact that it is a helpful choice, acrylic paint has its drawbacks concerning its durability and water opposition. 

In this article, we will study the composition of acrylic paints and its water proofing abilities. 

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof When Dry?

A much of the time posed inquiry would be: “Is acrylic paint waterproof?” The short response is no. Be that as it may, there is an insignificant degree of water-obstruction when acrylic paint is dry. To make the paint more impervious to water, you should seal it. The surface you are painting on will decide with regards to how you will accomplish this. 

In any case, when fixed, this paint is as yet not totally waterproof. At the point when wet, acrylic paint can retain any water around it. At the point when dry, it is just somewhat water-safe will in any case chip or strip when wet. Making extra preparatory strides through fixing the paint will assist with improving its life expectancy.

Understanding Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is inconceivably quick drying. This is because of it being a water-based paint, where the water vanishes rapidly. The paint is comprised of a shade (the variety) which is blended into an acrylic polymer emulsion. This emulsion likewise makes the paint so fast drying.

The following are the fundamental highlights that make up acrylic paint:

Acrylic resin – This is the fastener, or what holds the paint onto the surface. The acrylic resin isolates the shade and hold things together when the paint dries.

Shade/Colour – The color gives the paint its tone. Colors happen in a powder structure, thus they should be blended in with something to transform them into paint.

Water – Water is considered the “vehicle” in acrylic paint. Transforms the shade and tar into a liquid paint structure this.

Assuming you have invested energy and exertion making an acrylic craftsmanship that you is content with, perhaps of your biggest apprehension will be – is this painting going to endure?

  • The news is, acrylic paint is one of the most incredible paints for water obstruction. It is entirely tough and quick drying.
  • Thus acrylic paint is utilized on walls, wood, material and most different surfaces, even those that will be outside.
  • In any case, “Waterproof” suggests that the paint can be presented to a lot of water for delayed periods and stay unaltered.
  • Along these lines, no acrylic paint is totally waterproof.
  • However, there are a few simple and modest ways you can shield your work from water.

Painting Outdoors

  • If your work of art is going outside the components, for example, rainfall, wind and dust can cause stripping. UV beams from the Sun will make the tones blur. In detailed shared below
  • Assuming your paint surface is shaky it can cause breaks in the paint.
  • It is significant for this situation that you seal your craftsmanship for its most obvious opportunity with regards to endurance in cruel circumstances!
  • However, grasp the dangers of keeping your craft outside.

For what reason Should I Waterproof My Painting?

Despite the fact that acrylic paints will dry rapidly, and if you don’t waterproof it before it’s dry, your diligent effort could in a split second be obliterated because of a glass of water coincidentally spilling on it or even from certain raindrops assuming you’re working outside.

While acrylics are an extreme paint, implying that once they are dry water can’t actually hurt them, waterproofing your painting is still great.

This should be possible with a stain, which is a unique sort of acrylic shine available in market.

What distinguishes Dry to the Touch from Fully Cured?

Understanding the difference between dry to the touch and fully cured is essential for determining how long paint will take to dry. First, let’s discuss how acrylics dry. The foundation of acrylic paint is water. The water in the paint evaporates as it dries. A thick paint layer results from the water molecules evaporating.

It’s dry to the touch. At the time of writing, acrylic paint can be drying. The paint is still susceptible to harm in this period. Unintentionally removing the top coat of paint is a possibility. Retarders, which are additives in certain acrylics, are meant to impede the drying process. Most acrylics that dry slowly need at least 30 days to dry.

Factors Affecting Acrylic Paint Dry Time

The atmosphere has an impact on how quickly acrylic paint dries. Consequently, you may change your workstation to alter the paint’s drying time. A lot of things can impact how quickly acrylic paint dries like solvent used for acrylic paint to make it look different on various surfaces etc. Let’s examine these in further detail below.

acrylic paint dry time

Type of Paint

The viscosity of some paints is greater than that of others. Usually, thicker paint takes longer to cure. Quick-drying formulas dry instantly, but slow-drying formulations take longer to dry. solvent like water, oil, spirits also determine how much time does it take to dry based on viscosity of solvent.


How acrylic paint is applied affects how long it takes to dry. Use a roller, brush, or spray to apply paint. The consistency and thinness of spray paint frequently enable it to dry to the touch in 30 minutes and be prepared for a second coat in an hour.

The paint is thicker when it is applied using a roller or brush. The most extended drying times are needed between applications for these treatments. Additionally, it is recommended to wait until the prior applications are thoroughly dried before applying the subsequent ones.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature and humidity in the air affect how quickly acrylic paint’s water dries off. High humidity can shorten the procedure, while high temperatures may speed it up. The humidity level in the air is what governs everything. For instance, painting using acrylics in drier conditions may reduce drying periods.

It’s challenging to paint outside since the paint dries too rapidly and develops cracks. Retarders may be applied to the paint to prevent excessive drying. Better control over humidity and temperature is possible while painting inside. The central heating and air conditioning system removes the moisture in the space. On the other hand, some heating systems have a humidifier to keep the air moist.

Your location affects the relative humidity levels. The temperature and humidity levels in each room in your house differ. Compared to the rest of the home, the basement frequently feels damper and cooler. Using a dehumidifier while painting a cellar could be crucial to prevent mould growth in some areas.

A moist palette could be necessary on warm days to prevent your paints from drying out. Similarly, a humidifier could be helpful if the air in your home is dehydrated. When estimating how long it will take for paint to harden, you might need to consider the season and your region’s environment.

Paint Thickness

The thicker the paint, the longer it takes to dry completely. You’ll find that labels whose colour coats are applied more thinly dry in a shorter time. The durability of a painting is also impacted by the number of coats of paint applied to its surface.

A thin layer of paint applied with a paint that dries rapidly could be dry in approximately a minute. Make sure the acrylic paint dries quickly by using it in thin layers.

Air Circulation

Paint drying time may be accelerated by airflow. Keep clear from draughts, so your artwork doesn’t dry up too quickly. Locate your workspace away from heating and cooling ducts. Additionally, open windows and ceiling fans may slow the rate at which your paint dries. If you paint outside on a windy day, your paints will dry rapidly. Place your easel close to a wind barrier if you need to lessen the wind.

Surface Absorbency

Acrylic paint dries more quickly when applied on an absorbent surface, like a ready-made canvas. Painting on unprimed canvas or paper takes longer to dry than painting on a gesso primer’s porous surface. The component draws out moisture, allowing the paint to dry before mixing.

Even paper explicitly made for acrylic paint holds onto moisture from the initial paint application. The paper is shielded by the primer, which also gives the paint time to cure completely and distribute evenly.

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on various surfaces?

Practically all acrylics are quick drying. At the point when we get some information about drying time, we ought to remember that there is a distinction between acrylic paint dried to contact and completely relieved or dried paint. Dry time, referenced by brands, presumably signifies “dry to contact”. At the point when we read item sheets we will see a scope of drying times for acrylic paint.

It takes craftsman grade acrylic paint 10-30 minutes whenever painted in slender layers. Assuming you’re painting thick layers, utilizing open acrylics, or in an unseemly climate, it can take acrylic paint up to 1-2 hours to dry.

The most critical contemplations are the brand and paint type. For instance, slow-drying acrylics stay wet on a material for quite a long time. The more drawn out time permits you to accomplish smooth mixing and delicate edges. A few producers likewise make remarkable recipes with retarders in them to broaden the time your paint is useful.

The specific time additionally relies upon the circumstances when you paint, like the dampness, temperature, air dissemination, and surface sort.

The dry time is powerless to harm until it fixes completely, and the fix time for acrylic paint changes in view of the thickness you apply the paint too. Flimsy layers of acrylic can fix in a couple of days. However, thick layers of paint could require weeks.

Most acrylic paint brands dry to the touch quickly. Notwithstanding, you’ll see from the table over that there are varieties in drying time. Liquitex is a quick drying paint with a typical dry season of 10 to 20 minutes. In any case, when you apply it in thick covers, the paint could require hours or even days to totally dry.

They come with shorter dry time, but you can fog them to keep them wet. You can go from contact dry to useful paint in minutes. When the paint fixes, you can’t reset them.

Most producing companies make use of a retarder to slow down the dry time. This fixing is useful if you have any desire to save money on the time you would be spending by adding a quality retarder to your paint before you can get to your personal work. Slow drying paints like Golden’s Open acrylics stay wet for north of 24 hours. For examination, their weighty body acrylics dry shortly and fix in around three days.

The type of surface on which you paint has a considerable impact. Certain surfaces are more porous than others. The roughness of the surface may cause the acrylic paint to take longer to dry. acrylic paint and latex paint paint advantages can be seen here for better understanding.


On canvas, fast-drying acrylic paints often dry to the touch in ten to twenty minutes after being applied. Paints with a slow drying time and canvas that has not been primed might take many hours to dry completely. These timings may look quite different for you if you work in a different location.

acrylic-paint on canvas


On average, the drying time for acrylic paint is between 15 and 20 minutes. On the other hand, paint doesn’t stick as well to smooth surfaces as it does to rougher ones. The use of varnish will protect the surface of the paint from peeling or flaking if it is applied.


Acrylic paint takes typically 20 to 30 minutes to dry to the touch on a wood surface. For six to twelve hours, the paint needs to cure thoroughly. The amount of layers utilised affects the drying time, though. Particularly humid conditions will also make wood stay damp for longer, extending the dry period.


Acrylic paint takes typically between 24 and 72 hours to cure after being applied to glass. The painted glass must be adequately prepared and cured before providing the most significant effects. A paint that is designed specifically for use on glass surfaces is another option.


Depending on the composition, most acrylic paints dry on fabric in three to four days. You can touch it in 24 hours. Before painting, wash and dry the fabric and heat set the acrylic paint for durability.


Acrylics take about 24 hours to cure on cardboard when applied. To prevent the paint’s moisture from warping the cardboard, it must be primed first, and then the paint must be sealed once it has been painted. After it has been fully dry, the cardboard ought to become flattered.


Acrylic paint applied to metal requires a drying time of forty-eight hours. If you did not use exterior paint on your product, you would probably need a primer and sealer to make it waterproof. Sanding the area before applying paint is usually a good idea, especially if you want the paint to adhere well to a smooth surface.

How Long Should Acrylic Paint Dry Between Coats?

How much should time pass between acrylic paint applications? The atmosphere, paint type, and coating thickness all affect how long it takes for paint to cure between layers. Your wait time will vary based on the desired outcome. The painting’s durability is ensured by waiting until the first acrylic coat has dried before adding the second. It prevents the paint underneath from peeling or lifting.

You may layer several colours on top of one another by letting each coat of paint dry before adding the next. Acrylic paint dries in 10 to 20 minutes for thin coats. Between thicker coats, acrylic paint dries in approximately an hour or two. If the previous coat feels dry to the touch, apply the subsequent coat.

How Can I Slow Down The Drying Time of Acrylic Paint?

An acrylic painting may take longer to cure if it is left in a chilly, wet space with little air movement. Using fans or heaters close to your place of employment is not advisable. Any of these techniques might add a few minutes to the drying process.

increasing acrylic paint dry time

Consider using a time-extending product if you want to put off a job a bit longer. After it has dried to the touch, the surface may be changed due to the distinct compositions of acrylic paint. Additionally, you may lengthen the drying period by using a wet palette.

They are airtight containers that can maintain paint’s moisture for many days. For taking a break from painting, wet palettes are perfect. Snap the lid on the container, soak the foam layer, and return later. If you want your acrylic paint to dry more slowly, think about adding a retarder. Thanks to acrylic gel and other retardants, you can work with the paint for an extended period of time. Other names for them are palette wetting sprays or slow-drying mediums.


Even while acrylic paint typically dries in a short time, the drying time of many different types of acrylic paint may be altered by additives. The environment and the application method significantly impact any paints. You can change the drying time if you know how these factors interact. know more about satin and gloss finishes of paint for best results as per your requirements.


  • How long should I wait before applying another colour to a canvas?

Everything comes down to the goal in mind. They have a wide range of creative options using acrylic paint. A variety of colours and intensities may be used to create textures. If you don’t want the paint in the inner layer to mix with the paint on the outside layer, you must let it dry. Depending on the paint’s thickness, it may take anywhere from two to thirty minutes.

  • Can acrylic paint be painted over dried paint?

Whether you should paint over dried acrylic paint depends on the desired effect of layering. If you don’t want to disrupt the inner layer, wait until it feels dry to the touch. Apply wet acrylic paint before the inner layer has had time to dry if you want to create glazes. On canvas, this will generate spectacular and sometimes unexpected effects.

  • How can I speed up the drying of acrylic paint?

How to reduce the amount of time that acrylic paint takes to dry is another often asked query. A thin coating may dry quickly in some circumstances, whereas a thick one may take up to 30 minutes to dry. You could, however, sometimes be pressed for time.

Using an air drier is the most apparent action in such circumstances. Make sure it’s on a low setting, then hover it over the paint lightly and uniformly. You may also place the painting in front of a light to hasten the drying process.

  • How long does it normally take for acrylic paint to dry?

The paint’s concentration determines it. A thin coat of acrylic paint will dry in a couple of minutes. It can take 30 minutes to an hour for the paint to fully dry if you apply a thick coating, as is typical when crafting. To thin the paint, use your paintbrush to add water.

  • Does Water Wash Away Acrylic Paint When Dry?

Since acrylic paint isn’t waterproof, you might contemplate whether water or downpour will wash away the variety. Assuming you have a task that you finished utilizing acrylic paint, you should follow the legitimate strides for the surface and seal the paint. In any case, water sprinkles and downpour will demolish it.

Thus, it’s essential to safeguard your undertaking as the paint dries too. Wet acrylic paint on an untreated surface will wash away with water or rains. The paint possibly becomes water-safe when it dries completely.

  • Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Outside?

If the paint isn’t waterproof, is it protected to paint outside? And painting outside objects? You can utilize acrylic paint outside or on open air surfaces as long as you play it safe.

For instance, consider finishing your composition venture and passing on it to dry in a carport. The cover shields your venture from unforeseen downpour showers or spills.

While painting outside objects, consider the surface sort and how you intend to utilize the thing. A metal letter drop would require differing ventures than painting a glass garden globe. Sealer or stain assists the paint with jobbing become more waterproof also.

  • For what reason Should You Waterproof Acrylic Paint?

The #1 motivation to waterproof acrylic paint is life span. Since this paint seems to be water-based, you can thin the paint with water. If you paint furniture or shoes and don’t waterproof the paint work, acrylics might assimilate the water and start to break or chip off.

Any fair measure of water could likewise eliminate the paint. Without a waterproofing component, the thing could undoubtedly demolish.

To make acrylic paint waterproof, you want a sealer or stain. There are many kinds of shower or fluid sealers and stains accessible at workmanship or art stores. They might accompany changing highlights, however their fundamental objective is to safeguard the paint from the components. Search for a sealant or stain made for acrylic paint.

The specific advances you take to make acrylic paint waterproof rely upon the surface sort you’re painting. You may likewise have to set up the surface by cleaning or sanding before you paint for the best outcomes.

Fixing the paint assists the paint with turning out to be more water-safe, yet it additionally holds it back from chipping or stripping from now on. Finding a way the extra ways to seal the paint gets the life expectancy of your paint work.

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