How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry?

They say watching paint dry is the most boring thing to do on the planet, but don’t you want to know how long it takes?

Spray painting can make life a lot easier, and it can speed things up a lot, but there are a lot of nuances involved that many of us aren’t equipped to deal with.

If you are using a paintbrush or roller, chances are you know what it will take hours to dry, and you still might need a second coat. When it comes to spray paint, we like to think that the drying time is cut in half, but is it?

In this post, we’re going to go through spray-painting and everything you need to know before you get started. We will take a look at how long it will take for your spray paint to dry, and what can have an effect on the time it takes.

To make your life a little easier, we will also go through some things you can do to speed up the process. No one deserves to be staring at walls (or any other object) waiting for their paint to dry.

Figuring Out How Long It Will Take For Your Spray Paint To Dry

Okay, there are a couple of things you need to know in order to determine how long your spray paint will take to dry. Every material and formula will act differently, so this is only a general rule you can follow.

At the end of this post, we will take a look at how to can check if your paint is dry, just to be sure.

Material You Painted

The first thing you need to consider is the material you are going to, or already have, spray-painted. Let’s take a look at them below to start getting a good idea of how long you need to wait around.

  • Wood – typically, an hour of waiting allows the paint to be dry to the touch. However, because of the porous nature of wood and the textures it could have, this can vary a lot. A lot of other factors will come into play when trying to determine how long you need to give a layer of spray paint on wood to try. We will take a look at those further down.
  • Plastic – after 30-minutes, your spray paint should be dry to the touch on plastic surfaces. After half an hour, if you can touch the paint without leaving any marks or getting paint on your hands, it should be good to go.
  • Metal – spray-paint will dry pretty quickly on metal surfaces. As a general rule, giving it around 10-minutes should be long enough for the paint to be dry to the touch. However, if you have sprayed on a thick layer, this time might not be enough.

It is important to note that these times are only an average, and it is recommended that you give the paint 24-hours to cure.

It is common for paint to be dry to the touch when there are pockets of paint underneath. Although this is very unlikely to happen with spray paint, giving it a decent amount of time to dry and cure is always a good idea to be on the safe side.


Like waiting for anything to try, the environment will play a big factor in how fast the process goes.

Cold and humid climates will slow down the drying process and make it unbearable, but warmer temperatures are ideal. This could vary with different paint brands, but it is a good rule to follow when spray-painting furniture and other bits and pieces.

If you have ever tried to spray paint anything in freezing temperatures, you may be aware that this will not have a good outcome for your paint. The paint may freeze, or the consistency may change (and not in a good way).

If you have the chance, you should spray paint indoors where there is a temperature between 65-85 °F. If you are experiencing good weather, however, it is always recommended to spray paint outside.

The Paint Formula

There are lots of different paints out there, and each of them will behave differently when used. This will depend on what you are spray-painting and what it will be used for, as you need to use the correct type of paint for your project.

If you are using enamel paint, you can expect to be waiting around for some time waiting for it to dry. Epoxy and polyurethane sprays, however, will be a lot quicker, and you won’t have to do a lot of waiting around in between layers.

  • Enamel Paint – enamel paint can take up to 8-hours to dry fully. This time can be extended depending on the surface you are painting, the environment, and how thick the layer of paint is.
  • Lacquers – lacquers will feel dry after only a few minutes, but don’t be fooled. For these paints to completely dry, they will need at least 3-hours.
  • Polyurethane and Epoxy Paints – these paints can be dry to the touch within minutes, and will be fully dry after about 1-hour.

To get the best results, you should always wait until each layer of paint is completely dry. Although this might drag your project out, the results will be worth the time.

If you paint on top of wet paint, the overall look and finish could get ruined, and paint may drip down and make a mess.

How To Speed Up the Process Of Paint Drying

spray painting

Thankfully for the impatient people of the world, there are things we can do to speed up the paint drying process.

Below are the best things you can do to help the paint along so that you can continue with your project. Waiting around is no fun, so why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to reduce it?

Reduce Humidity

As mentioned earlier, humidity is a killer for drying paint. If you want to speed up the drying process, decrease the humidity in the space as much as you can. Use a dehumidifier where you can, and keep windows closed if the weather isn’t suitable.

If you have no choice but to paint outside, it is best to keep an eye on the forecast and try to pick a good day to do it. Paint on a day that isn’t too humid and seems like it would be a good day for the project.

Spray On Thin Coats

Applying thin loads of paint is incredibly important when it comes to the time it takes for it to dry.

The thicker the coat, the longer it will take to dry through. Instead of trying to get full coverage on a single thick coat, spray on several. Thin coats should only take a few minutes to dry, then you can add another and keep building it up.

Doing this will also help you get a smooth finish on your project, and you won’t have to deal with pooling or running paint.

Make The Environment Hotter

Increasing the temperature in the room is an efficient way of speeding up this process. If you can, get a heater or turn on the thermostat if you are indoors.

If you are painting on a small surface, you can use something like a hairdryer to blow-dry the paint. A sunny day will go a long way to speeding up the work, so if the sun is out, and it isn’t too humid, consider putting your painted items outside.

Use A Fan

Air circulation is the final method of speeding up the drying process. Get your fans out and get it blowing on the paint. You should be careful when using the method, though, as any dust or other particles in the area could get blown onto the wet paint.

Make sure the area is free of any small debris before whipping your fan out, or else you will end up with a textured and unpleasant-looking project.

How To Tell If Your Paint Is Dry

To be on the safe side, you should allow your spray paint around 24-hours to fully dry. However, depending on the type of paint, surface, and environment, you should know that your paint is dry to the touch when you can touch it without leaving a park or getting paint on your fingers.

Final Thoughts

Waiting for paint to dry doesn’t have to be boring if there are things you can do to speed it up! Hopefully, this post was helpful, and you are now well-equipped to start (or finish) your latest project.

Be sure to check what kind of spray paint you are using and take into consideration the material you are working on.

If you need to wait a couple of hours until you can spray your next layer of paint on and have done everything you can in the meantime, why not just sit back and chill? You can start thinking about your next project.