How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry?

Spray paint drying times can vary quite a bit depending on the specific paint and application method. Here is a detailed look at the factors that influence spray paint dry times and how long you can expect spray paint to take to fully cure.

What Affects Spray Paint Drying Time?

The following key factors affect how quickly spray paint will dry:

Paint Type

  • Enamel paints – Slowest drying, can take 24-48 hours to fully cure.
  • Lacquer paints – Very fast drying, usually touch dry within 30 minutes.
  • Urethane paints – Drying time usually 1-2 hours.
  • Acrylic paints – Drying time typically 1 hour.

So oil-based enamels will have the longest spray paint drying times, while lacquer spray paints will dry the quickest.

Paint Thickness

Thicker coats of spray paint will take longer to fully cure than lighter coats. Applying multiple coats on top of each other will also increase drying times.

Humidity and Temperature

Higher humidity or cooler temperatures will slow down the evaporation of the paint solvents, increasing drying times. Ideal conditions are around 70°F with moderate humidity.

Surface Being Painted

Non-porous surfaces like metal or glass will cause spray paint to dry slower compared to porous surfaces like wood or concrete that absorb the paint.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

With those factors in mind, here are some general timelines for how long it takes major types of spray paint to dry:

  • Touch Dry: The fastest drying spray paints will become tack-free and feel dry to the touch within 15-30 minutes. More common drying times are 1-2 hours.
  • Recoat Time: After initial dry to the touch, spray paint needs to cure more before recoating. Typical recoat times are 2-4 hours for acrylic, 4-6 hours for enamels.
  • Through Dry: Full hardening through the paint layer takes around 12-24 hours for most spray paints. Oil-based enamels take up to 48 hours to fully harden.
  • Fully Cured: This is when spray paint reaches maximum hardness, durability, and chemical resistance. Expect at least 5-7 days for full curing, and up to 2 weeks for enamels.

So as a very general guideline, spray paint will be touch dry within an hour or two, hard enough to recoat within several hours, but needs days to weeks to fully cure. Actual dry times depend heavily on the type of paint and conditions.

Tips for Drying Spray Paint Faster

If you need to speed up spray paint drying times, here are some useful tips:

  • Use quicker drying paints like lacquer or acrylics instead of enamels.
  • Opt for lighter coats instead of thick, wet coats.
  • Spray in warm indoor temperatures around 70°F.
  • Use a portable heater or heat lamp to apply gentle warmth to the painted object.
  • Allow for maximum air circulation around the drying paint.
  • Use a spray paint specifically formulated for faster drying.
  • Add a spray paint drying accelerator to hasten cure times.

How to Tell if Spray Paint is Dry

Here are some simple ways to test if spray paint has cured enough for the next steps:

  • Touch the surface gently with your fingertips to see if it still feels tacky.
  • Press down lightly with a clean rag to check if it leaves any imprint.
  • See if another coat of spray paint applied on top stays wet and blends together or beads up.
  • Check if a fingernail gently scraped against the paint causes any marring.
  • Confirm if tape applied to the painted surface peels the paint when removed.

Once spray paint passes these tests without any issues, it should be sufficiently dried and cured for light use or adding any final coats. Still allow extra time for full hardness and durability to develop.

Spray Paint Drying FAQs

How long does it take spray paint to dry before applying another coat?

Most spray paint types will need 2-4 hours between coats for proper recoating once touch dry. Enamels take longer at 4-6 hours between coats.

Can you speed up spray paint drying?

Using proper spray paint formulated for fast drying and creating ideal curing conditions can significantly speed up drying compared to normal times.

How long should you wait before touching spray paint?

It’s best to allow spray paint to dry for at least 24 hours before handling the painted object. Oil-based enamels take up to 48 hours for full hardening before touching up.

What happens if you spray paint too thick?

Overly thick coats of spray paint can take much longer to fully cure, be prone to running and sagging, and decrease the quality and durability of the paint job.

Can you use a hair dryer to dry spray paint faster?

Yes, using a hair dryer on a low, cool setting can gently speed up drying times. Keep it moving constantly to prevent excessive heat buildup.


Drying and curing times for spray paint can range anywhere from 30 minutes to a week depending on the specific paint type and application conditions. With the right products and techniques, spray paint can dry quickly enough for most purposes. Allowing adequate drying time is crucial though for achieving the best looking and most durable results from spray painting.

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint to Dry?

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