How To Speed Up Spray Paint Drying

Do you always wonder how long it will take for spray paint to dry before using it on a project? It takes a lot of patience waiting for spray paint to dry especially when you have to fix things and up and get moving. Luckily there are several ways that you can use to speed up the drying time of spray paint as we will discover in this article.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

Generally and depending on the brand, spray paint takes a few hours to 24 hours to dry thoroughly. In most cases, you can handle and apply an additional coat to the paint after a few hours. However, it takes 24 hours or more for the paint to cure fully.

Most brands have a label on the exact estimate of how long the spray paint will take to dry. But even with this, there are a lot of o factors that influence the amount of time it will take for the spray paint to dry including the surface you are painting, air circulation, and humidity.

Is there a Difference Between Dry Time and Cure Time?

The dry time of painting refers to the length of time between painting and applying a recoat while cure time refers to the amount of time the paint takes to dry allowing you to use the object in question.

Spray paint goes through 4 drying stages:

  • Surface dry – At this stage, the paint’s solvent evaporates.
  • Touch dry – When you touch the paint it doesn’t stick to your fingers.
  • Hard dry – The paint’s top layer is hard enough and unlikely to come off.
  • Fully cured – Project is complete, object can be used.

How To Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

There are several methods you can employ to make spray paint dry faster. The easiest involves altering the environmental conditions around the object that is drying such as heat, humidity, and air circulation. On the other hand, how you apply the paint can greatly influence the amount of time it takes for the paint to dry. Here are several ways you can use to speed up the drying time of spray paint.

1. Using Thin Coats

Using thin paint coats when painting is a sure accelerator on the time it takes for the paint to dry. For the best result, use your entire hand and not the wrist alone when applying paint. This will help avoid overlapping too much paint in one area and thus ensuring that the paint dries faster. Additionally, we recommend the use of paint thinner to alter the thickness of the paint.

2. Lowering the Humidity

High humidity not only slows the drying process but can also damage your paint job. For this reason, you should never paint during humid days. If you live in a humid area, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the air moisture before painting. The ideal humidity levels should range between 40% and 70%.

3. Creating Air Circulation

When working with spray paint, ample ventilation is important for several reasons. To begin with, most paints contain volatile compounds that are dangerous when breathed in. Moreover, free air circulation aids in the evaporation of solvents thus speeding up the dry time of spray paint. If you are working inside, a fan can be handy in increasing air circulation. However, be careful not to use a fan in a dirty or dusty room as it will embed the dust into the paint ruining your project.

4. Running a Heater Nearby

Another excellent way you can employ to speed up paint dry time is by the use o a space heater. A space heater helps create more airflow and combining this with higher temperatures can help cut the drying time by a couple of hours. If you don’t have a space heater, use a hairdryer running it over the painted surface.

5. Coating Spray Paint with Furniture Polish

Using wax-based furniture polish is also another trick that helps spray paint dry faster. Use the spray paint as usual before coating the paint with furniture polish. You may need to apply multiple thin layers allowing 5 minutes of drying time before adding another layer. Ensure to wipe off the extra polish with a piece of cloth. Test to see if the object is dry before handling or using the object or surface.

6. Curing Spray Paint in Oven

You can also cure spray paint in a toaster oven. Once the spray paint is dry to touch, bake it in the oven at 250 degrees F for 2 hours. Some paints may crack or bubble at high temperatures. It is therefore important to use paint that is safe to cure in an oven. Additionally, never use a traditional oven to cure paint as it will release toxic and harmful fumes.

How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Dry on Different Materials?

It is important to also recognize that the time it takes for spray paint to dry up greatly depends on the surface that you have painted on. Therefore, wood, metal, plastic, glass, and other surface types have varied drying times.


Because wood is a porous surface, it requires multiple coats of paint. As such, most wooden surfaces take an hour or two to dry. Water-based paint dries faster on wood when compared to oil-based paints. For quicker drying times, it is recommended that you paint wood during times when the temperature is between 65 to 85 degrees F.


This is the fastest drying surface. When outside conditions are sunny, warm with low humidity, spray paint will dry on metal in as quickly as 10 minutes. Furthermore, you can hasten the dry time of spray paint with warm temperatures.


Cardboard is also quite porous and therefore great care needs to be taken when painting on a cardboard surface. Enough ventilation is an excellent way to hasten drying time to about 15 minutes. In addition, you can use a wax-based polish to quicken the dry time of spray paint on cardboard.


Glass is quite an unusual surface when it comes to spray paint. Its smooth surface makes the paint run, and drip off the surface. For better results, apply spray paint on glass in very light and thin coats. Allow up to 15 minutes of dry time between coats and up to 24 hours to completely cure.


Rubber is also highly porous and therefore takes a considerable time before drying. You may have to wait for up to 24 hours to apply an additional layer of coat. It is, therefore, requires considerable planning if your project requires that your spray paint rubber.

In conclusion, it’s evident that spray paint dry time depends on a lot of variables; material and environmental. However, there are some conditions that you can alter to quicken the drying times and thus finish your project in good time. Most important, you need to plan your project and understand the cure times when using spray paint to avoid frustrations.

Hopefully, you have learned how to speed up spray paint drying.

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