How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry?

Thin layers of acrylic take at most 20-30 minutes to dry. But thicker ones might take two to three hours. However, factors like your paint’s quality, the surface, and the method you follow affect the drying duration too. 

Acrylic paint is artists’ favourite due to its versatility, involvement in innovative painting techniques, and pigmentation. But before you can consider acrylic as an option, you need to know everything regarding ‘how long does acrylic paint take to dry.’

This is what we’re here for. In this blog, we’re about to discuss everything that can help speed up your artwork with acrylic while maintaining the exorcism. Let’s get started! 

How Does Acrylic Paint Dry?- Basic Discussion

Most of the acrylic paints use four types of elements. Acrylic Polymer works as a binder for the dye and it holds together the particles of the paint. Pigment provides the colour for the paint. water is used for a carrier for the elements.

It gives the gooey form of raw acrylic paint. Some anti-settling  and dispersing agents help the paint to not thicken itself in the container. Some plasticizers are also used for the paint to dry afterwards. 

Basically what happens when you use the paint is, the added water firstly gets evaporated. The dry-up process may take some time, which varies from brand to brand.

It is possible to boost up the drying process with the manipulation of airflow, humidity and temperature in the air.

When the drying part is done, the acrylic Polymers help to bind the components and pigments to the painting. The shrinking of wet paint causes the particles of the paint to conjoin themselves and create the perfect look for the painting.

Different Drying Times of Different Type Acrylic Paints

One of the greatest reasons why artists are so obsessed with acrylic is its fast-drying capacity. But the duration varies with the types of acrylic. So let’s have a look.

Types of Acrylic PaintDrying Time
Professional Acrylic2 to 3 Hours
Galeria Acrylic10 to 20 Minutes
Heavy Body Acrylic30 to 40 Minutes
Soft Body Acrylic25 to 30 Minutes

Professional Type Acrylic 

Professionals mostly use thin films as they dry quickly. Therefore, 30 minutes is enough for them.

But this professional acrylic can take up to a couple of hours when applied in thick coats. We strongly suggest applying a bunch of thin layers instead of one thick layer for the best results in a faster process.

In case, you want to apply a different type of paint over an acrylic-painted surface, make sure the paint is water-based. For example, you can use latex paint over acrylic but oil paints might not stick to acrylic paint.

Galeria Acrylic Paint

This is the fastest drying acrylic type paint. It usually takes 10 minutes to dry. However, depending on your surface, it can take a maximum of 20 minutes. 

But make sure you go with thin films in this case as well. Thicker films can make the process delayed for an hour or so.

Heavy Body Acrylic

This type of acrylic is a little thicker than the other versions. Therefore, it takes longer to dry than the other ones. But if you use a paint roller and go with thin films, the paint will take 30-40 minutes to dry. Otherwise, it may take up to hours.

Soft Body Acrylic 

This one’s for beginners. It dries within 25-30 minutes. So, there’s neither much pressure to work quickly nor it takes too long to show your desired outcomes. However, this is a perfect match for those who are just stepping into the field. 


While buying acrylic paints, look into their manual for duration details. Then, choose one according to your preferences. 

For professionals, Galeria Acrylic is the best option as it dries rapidly. On the contrary, beginners will feel more comfortable and have enough time to get it done with the paint pallet with soft body acrylic.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster?- A Few Tips That Will Work

Our tips can save your neck if you have missed your preferences and messed up with the acrylic drying duration while buying it. Check out how simply a few hacks can make your acrylic dry faster.

Trick-1: Proper Dilution 

Whether you believe it or not, dilution of the paint affects the drying duration vividly. Too thin paint might dry quickly, but the colour will get faded, and you’ll need too many coats. 

On the contrary, too-thick ones will take hours to dry. This is why the amount of water must be perfect.

Adding 30% water to the paint is what experts suggested. You can slightly increase or decrease the amount depending on what the manual says.

Trick-2: Airbrush Medium

If you want a glossy finish yet want the paint to dry faster, go with an airbrush medium instead of water. They tend to make the paint dry way faster.

Trick-3: Open Area

Consider doing the whole painting task in an open area. This way, the paint dries quickly. At least keep the windows and doors open for proper air circulation if you’re painting inside your house. 

Trick-4: Added Heat

This is the most useful hack. Set the artwork under a heat lamp to promote the drying process. You can use a hair dryer for this as well. 

But make sure you keep the artwork far enough in both cases, as excessive heat can force the paint to break down and crack. So, don’t let the painting get too hot.

The final step of painting a surface should be sealing. It’s good to seal your acrylic paint on almost all surfaces for ensuring longevity. Here’s how you can seal acrylic paint on phone case.


It’s not all about the brand; working smartly can speed up the acrylic drying procedure. Make sure to have proper air circulation around the artwork, or use smart tricks like heat lamps or hair dryers.

Factors Affecting The Drying Time of Acrylic Paint

As discussed before there are several things to consider when talking about the drying time of acrylic paint. Below are the details.


As it is about the drying process, the airflow is a very significant factor to consider. Stable and controlled airflow will help a long way in the drying process.

Proper ventilation will be another thing to focus on as it will allow the air to circulate. We need to make sure that the air is not directly coming towards the painting.


Humidity will slow down the process as it will fasten the process too much that the painting might get ruined. The humidity level should be lower than 75% around 50%. The humidity level must not be above 85% as it will cause the painting to be damaged from the tiny water particles forming on the painting.

Air Temperature

The temperature of the air will have a huge effect on your painting. Make sure the temperature is controlled if you want to fasten the drying process. Make sure that the temperature is under 32º celsius or 90º Fahrenheit. It should also be above 10º celsius or 32º Fahrenheit. The most ideal temperature for a painting is around 21º to 29º celsius which in Fahrenheit comes from 71º to 85º.

Thickness of The Coating

Simply put, the thicker coating you put on the paint, the longer it will take to dry up. it is suggested that you use a thinner, multiple layer of coating rather than a single very thick layer.

The Surface

Choosing a good surface is also mandatory to use while painting.a non porous surface slows down the drying process as the paint and the particles of the paint cannot go through it.

Possible Drawbacks of Fast-Drying Acrylic Paint

Yes, super-fast acrylic paints can create problems for you. Have a look at those to be prepared. 

  • The paint might get dried up in the pallet when you aren’t done. If your acrylic brand acts like this, consider diluting it with oil, not water. 
  • Fast-drying paints make it harder to fix mistakes on the canvas.

There are solutions to the problem of paints drying up too fast. For example, you can use water for the paint to get a little bit wetter and moist. But be careful as too much water will cause the paint to be ruined.

There are many additives and slow drying mediums available on the market. Using these helps a lot of people using fast drying acrylic. Now as for on the canvas you are painting on, putting a little thicker layer of coating will also help.

What’s The Difference Between Drying Time and Curing Time?

Primarily the stage of drying time is referred to the period when the water and other elements evaporates and leaves the pigment and other necessary chemicals. 

But on the other hand, curing time refers to that exact period when the paint dries up completely for further use or final finishing. In the drying time, the paint feels dry to touch but it is not fully hard whereas curing means the paint has fully hardened.

Acrylic Paint Drying Time on Different Surfaces

Different surfaces means different canvases to paint on. Using a non porous surface to paint on will slow down the drying process for the surface will not let the particles go through and soak up.

Even though the different paints take different amounts of time to dry, let’s get a rough idea.Let’s see how long might the paint take to dry up on different surfaces.

Different SurfacesDrying Time of Acrylic Paint
WoodAround 20 minutes
PlasticFrom 30 minutes to 1 hour
Styrofoam15 to 25 minutes
Glassfrom 1 to 3 hours
Metal1 or 2 days
FabricAround 24 Hours
Ceramicaround 24 hours

Do Different Acrylic Paint Brands Need Different Durations to Dry?

Many different brands of acrylic paint are available on the market. These different brands use different chemicals and also various portions of them. For this reason different brands take different time periods to dry up. 

For example Winsor & Newtons acrylic paint takes 10 to 30 minutes depending on the variation of the paint. M Graham’s acrylic paint takes up to 1 hour to dry where another one takes only 20 to 30 minutes. Keep in mind while buying acrylic paints because different brands also have different variations of paint. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I use to get acrylic paint dry faster? 

Hair drying is the easiest trick to make acrylic dry faster. Make sure you do everything according to the manual. Don’t use maximum heat; keep it medium to avoid cracks. 

Does acrylic paint dry overnight?

Some acrylic paints take less than 10 minutes to dry, while some might require hours. But the whole night is a rare case. It might occur when you apply way too thick coats. Hence, try to apply thinner acrylic layers. 

Does hot or cold air dry acrylic paint faster?

As we all know, acrylic paints are water-based. So, it’s no rocket science that they dry faster in heat. So keep your hair dryer in hot air mode while drying the acrylic paints.

Wrapping Up! 

Acrylic paint is experts’ favourite. And we don’t see why not; they blend well with most mediums, sit well on almost every surface and dry quickly. 

And now that you know every information, tip, and trick about ‘how long does acrylic paint take to dry,’ the whole process is going to seem even more exciting to you. 

Before following the tricks, make sure you go through the manual at least once. Then, see if the paint can stand the heat hack or dilution tricks. Good luck!

Leave a Comment