When using spray paint for a painting project, there is this itch to make the spray paint dry faster.

Most of the time, we just want to finish the painting project and go back to other activities.

To speed up the drying time of spray paint time, you just need to know some pro tips, including coating the surface with wax-based furniture polish, baking the paint in an oven, or changing some aspects of your environment like humidity or airflow.

In this guide, you will also learn how long spray paint takes to dry and the difference between drying time and curing time.

How to make Spray Paint Dry Faster

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry

This is a very general question because the answer will depend on several factors including;

  • The type of paint.
  • The substrate types.
  • The temperature of the area you are painting as well as the.
  • The thickness of each paint coat.

Typically, most spray paints take about 30-50 minutes to dry for re-coating, and for a full cure when you are done painting, it takes about 24 hours.

To be certain, check the label of the spray paint can for the exact estimate of how long the paint will take to dry.

How Does Spray Paint Dry

To properly comprehend how to make spray paint dry faster, you need to understand the different drying stages of spray paint and the distinction between dry time and cure time.

The dry time is the duration of time between painting coats, meaning the time frame between a coat and another coat. This is usually between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the type of paint.

Spray paint goes through different drying stages which include touch dry, hard dry, surface dry, and cure dry.

  • Touch dry: This is when the paint becomes less sticky when you touch it.
  • Hard dry: This is when the top layer of the paint becomes too hard to remove.
  • Surface dry: In this stage, the solvent of the paint begins to evaporate.
  • Cure dry: This is the final stage; it is when the entire surface is dry and your paint project is done.

The cure dry time takes longer than others obviously because the paint only cures after the solvents have evaporated for the paint surface.

How to Speed up Spray Paint Drying Process

Making spray paint dry faster is dependent upon many tips and tricks which I will show you forthwith.

Tip 1Select a fast-dry spray paint.
Tip 2Use thin coats.
Tip 3Reduce humidity.
Tip 4Allow air flow/circulation.
Tip 5Paint outdoor (especially on a sunny day).
Tip 6Use furniture polish.
Tip 7Use hairdryer.
Tip 8Use a heat gun.
Tip 9Use an infrared heat lamp.
Tip 10Use the oven to cure the paint.

1.    Select a Fast-Drying Paint

The greatest trick of all is to choose the right spray paint. More often than not, the spray paint type determines how fast or slow the spray paint will take to dry.

The ingredients of these paint are what makes the difference in their drying time.

Epoxy and polyurethane spray paint dries the fastest, the touch dry of each of these paints is about 5-7 minutes and it is about an hour before it should be fully dry.

Lacquer spray paints too dry quickly enough, it’s touch dry in just between 10-15 minutes, while its cure dry is between 3-4 hours.

The spray paints that take the longest time to dry are enamel and latex paint, these paint types require up to 8 hours to be completely dry.

2.    Use Thin Coats

If you are new to spraying paint, then you should know that you should thin paint before spraying.

Sometimes, you may be tempted to use thicker coats for more viscosity, however, this will only cause the paint to feel tacky.

Using thin coats is the best rule of thumb to follow because the thinner the coat, the faster the drying time. To thin your paint simply use solvents or paint thinners.

When spraying, do not swing your wrist so that you will not overlap too much paint in a section.

Instead, keep a 6-inches distance from the surface you are painting and go from one end to the other.

3.    Reduce Humidity

Another powerful tip for getting spray paint to dry fast is the temperature. For spray paint to quickly dry, the humidity has to be relatively low.

When the humidity level is high, say between 80% to 100%, it will slow down the drying process of the paint and can even damage your paint job by creating drip marks.

The best humidity level to spray paint is between the range of 35% and 70%.

This is why you shouldn’t spray paint on high humidity days, however, if you can’t wait until low humidity days you can either use a dehumidifier or your air conditioner unit.

Simply bring the item you are spray painting inside and run the dehumidifier to extract the moisture from the air.

Modern air conditioners can also serve as an alternative, simply put the air conditioner in dry mode.

It does the same job as a dehumidifier and removes extra moisture from the air.

4.    Keep the Air Flowing

If you must spray paint indoors, then this is a tip that will greatly help you.

Couple with the fact that good air circulation will make the paint dry faster, it also reduces the risk of you inhaling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are hazardous to breathe in.

To create air circulation, open the windows and for the indoor project, you can put on the ceiling fans for more ventilation and quicken the drying process.

If you choose to work in the garage, a box or floor fan at a medium speed will increase the speed to make the spray paint dry faster.

You can as well keep the fan running while the object dries to increase the evaporation of the paint.

Pro Tip

Do not turn on the fan in a dusty or dirty area, the fan may spray dirt on your project, which will ruin your painting.

You also want to keep the fan a little far from where you are spraying, too much proximity might cause the paint to smear.

5.    Paint Outdoor on a Sunny Day

Allowing nature to help us sometimes makes a lot of our jobs easier and faster.

Spray painting outdoors on a warm sunny day is a very nice option, especially in the morning.

Starting in the morning will give the job more time to dry, the sunlight also gives the paint a shiny look when you are done.

6.    Coat Spray Paint with Furniture Polish

Furniture polish, a combination of natural wax, petroleum-based ingredients, and synthetic polymers are agelong but powerful aerosol product.

They expedite the drying time of spray paint and act like sealants.

  • To use furniture polish, complete your painting job and make it your last coat.
  • Hold the can containing the polish about 7 inches above the object you painted and spray the entire surface.
  • Oftentimes, a thin layer is enough, however, multiple layers may be required if you are spraying porous surfaces like wood.
  • In the case of spraying more than one coat, wait an interval of 5-6 minutes. When you are done, use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe off any excess polish.
  • Then wait till the surface is dry before you begin to handle the object.

If you are not sure if the paint is dry, gently touch the object with your finger, if it is clean and dry, then you are safe to handle the object.

7.    Use a Hairdryer

You may have properly wondered if it was possible to use a hairdryer to dry spray paint.

You can definitely use a hairdryer you just need to follow the Burke Makes Stuff method; I personally like his method because it will save you 100% of time and stress.

He calls it the “Spray Paint Hot Box”.

  • Just get a box and turn it upside down, a very big box.
  • On the top right corner of the box, drill a hole, big enough to contain the spray drier.
  • While at the bottom left corner of the box, drill another hole, which is where the air will flow.
  • Gently put whatever object you are spraying opposite the side that the air is flowing out of.

This trick will save you from the need to hold the hairdryer while you are drying the paint, you can use the time to do other things.

You can put a timer in the box to tell you to alarm you when the paint is completely dry.

With a hairdryer, 5-7 minutes should suffice.

8.    Use A Heat Gun

Though risky if not properly handled, a heat gun can be used to make spray paint dry faster.

In fact, when it’s on a high setting, it can be used to strip off the paint.

When going down this route;

  • Ensure the heat gun is put on a low setting.
  • Hold the heat gun about 2-3 inches from the surface you are spray painting.
  • Do not spend too much time on one spot, instead, evenly move your hands so the temperature can spread evenly.

Safety Caution

When using a heat gun, make sure you are not near any flammable or combustible material.

Also, ensure to turn off the heat gun and ensure it cools before storing it.

9.    Use an Infrared Heat Lamp

Infrared heat lamps have a lot of health benefits, but aside from that, it is proven to speed up the drying process of a painting job.

Infrared heat lamps do not just warm up the air of the objects, it actually warms up the objects themselves.

The infrared heat lamp is also safe to work with because it does not emit exhaust, nitrogen oxides, ozone, or other toxic emulsions.

For the curing time phase, an infrared lamp is a good option.

10.   Use Oven to Cure Paint

This is by far the most important tip of them all.

Just to be clear, you are not using your regular oven.

Most spray paints emit toxic chemicals that can stick to the oven and these chemicals may be released to your food when you use them next to the oven.

The type of oven you should use is a toaster oven and even this should only be used for a purpose, which is to dry paint.

To use a toaster oven to dry paint;

  • Wait till the paint is touch dry then bake it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1-2 hours.
  • Ensure the paint you are baking is one that is safe to be used in an oven. Some paints are not and can crack at high temperatures.

A toaster oven is for the cure dry stage and not the touch dry stage. We have already discussed these stages above.

Does Spray Paint Dry Differently on Varying Surfaces

Yes, the surface you are spray painting will largely determine the time the spray paint takes to dry.

This table will show how fast spray paint dries on different surfaces.

Surface TypeDrying TimeAiding Item
Metal7-10 minutes.Space heater.
Cardboard15-20 minutes.Box Fan.
Glass10-24 hours.Heat Gun.
Wood1-2 hoursHeater.
Rubber2-3 daysAirflow.
Plastic10-24 hours.Hairdryer.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Metal

It takes roughly about 10 minutes for the touch dry, however for the cure dry, it will take up to 24 hours.

To help expedite the drying process, I recommend you use a space heater or better still paint outside.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Cardboard

Cardboard is an absorbent material, so make sure you do not apply heavy coats when spraying paint on them.

It takes about 15-20 minutes for spray paint to dry on cardboards, but this time can be sped up by placing a box fan near your project.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Wood

It takes about an hour or two hours for spray paint to dry on wood. However, if you use oil-based paint, it might take longer than that.

Using a heater can help you expedite the drying time if you are not painting outdoors.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Glass

It sometimes takes up to 24 hours for spray paint to dry on the glass. This is why I recommend you spray paint on glass in a properly ventilated area.

It also requires a level of expertise to remove spray paint from glass.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Plastic

It takes about 20-30 minutes for spray paint to have a touch dry on plastic surfaces.

For a completely cure dry, it takes about 24 hours. You can always use the hairdryer trick I spoke about above.

Final Thoughts

So far, we have seen how to speed up the drying process of spray paint.

Now if you want to use a hairdryer, an infrared heat lamp, or a heat gun, the choice is really up to you.

I strongly recommend the hairdryer because it’s safer and easier to use than the other options.