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How long does it take for spray paint to dry? The answer depends on the type of paint, the smoothness of the surface, and the application of the paint.

how long does it take for spray paint to dry

You will have to wait for the spray paint to dry between coats and wait even longer after finishing the last coat.

How Long Does It Take For Spray Paint To Dry?

The paint’s dry time is the length of time it takes for the paint to dry in between painting coats.

There are four stages in the drying process of spray painting:

  1. Surface dry – paint layer will be sticky
  2. Touch dry – you can touch the paint
  3. Hard dry – paint is dry but will take fingerprints
  4. Thorough dry – your painted surface is now ready to use

The two types of “dry” that we are concerned about when it comes to spray paints are “surface dry” and “thorough dry.”

“Surface dry” is dry enough for the next coat of paint. Then there is “thorough dry,” when the object or surface is dry enough for use.

You can check the back of spray paint cans for how long spray paint takes to dry, but most of the time, the first “dry” is around 15 minutes. 

Once you have reached the dry surface stage on the first coat of paint, you can add another coat. But when it comes to being dry enough to use, you will have to wait somewhere between 8 and 24 hours. This depends on a few different things but relies on the thickness of the paint. 

When touching the paint to see if it’s dry, try not to use pressure. Even slight pressure can cause the paint to break and stick to your finger.

How Long it Takes Different Types of Spray Paints to Dry

Final Things To Know About Spray Paint

Spray paint dries faster than just about any other type of paint because it is aerosolized. However, different paint types dry at varying speeds. The type of paint you choose will depend on the paint jobs.

Oil-based Spray Paint

Spray paints based on oil take the longest to dry. Use this type of paint for areas that need extra durability, like trims and handrails.

That first coat of oil-based paint dries in thirty minutes but doesn’t dry to the touch for about eight hours. You shouldn’t add another coat for about a day, however. 

Latex Paint

Latex spray paint is water-based and dries to the touch in less than an hour. Sometimes, it takes just a few minutes to dry.

But for best results, you should wait about four hours to add another coat.

Lacquer Spray Paint

Lacquer paint is one of the quickest paints to dry and needs to be applied fast. The best application for lacquer paint is furniture.

Using lacquer spray paint makes it easy to apply the paint fast and will dry in 20 to 30 minutes.

Acrylic Spray Paint

Acrylic paint is water-resistant and produces a matte finish once dried. You can use this spray paint on most surfaces like wood, metal, plastic, and glass.

Expect acrylic spray paint to be surface dry between 10 to 30 minutes and achieve a thorough dry in 8 hours.

Enamel Paint

Spray paints made from enamel are hard, glossy, and are used for small projects. Enamel paints will adhere to just about anything and hold up to multiple washes.

Dry time for enamel paint is thirty minutes to be dry to the touch and 8 hours for a thorough dry.

Polyurethane Paint

The best projects for polyurethane paint are indoor furniture, cabinets, trim, and doors. It’s a versatile paint that has an excellent finish.

It takes polyurethane paint two hours to be dry to the touch. Wait three whole days for the paint to cure and be ready for use.

Epoxy Paints

Epoxy spray paint application is suitable for appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators. It is scratch and moisture resistant.

Epoxy paints are dry to the touch in two to four hours and are dry for use in 24 hours.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Different Surfaces?

The surface material has a drastic effect on how long it takes paint takes to dry. A smooth surface has the quickest dry times. An uneven, rough surface will require more drying than a smooth surface.

Spray paint on metal surfaces dries fast because it is non-porous and smooth in most cases.

How long does spray paint take to dry on wood?

How long does spray paint take to dry on wood

A porous soft surface, like wood, will take longer to dry and will require more coats as the pores absorb the paint.

Porous materials struggle to dry as the paint seeps down deep into the material, requiring more drying time. Make sure not to use too much paint on the porous surface.

How long does spray paint take to dry on plastic?

Plastic surfaces also dry fast due to their smooth finish. Plastic is easy to paint on and has a nice finish once dry. Allow painted plastic surfaces about half an hour of drying time before touching.

How long does spray paint take to dry on glass?

Although glass isn’t porous and is smooth, it is difficult to get paint to adhere. Glass needs a lot of drying time, and you shouldn’t touch the surface for at least two to three hours.

Wipe down the glass with a wet cloth before applying paint to remove any dust or debris.

Factors That Affect How Long Spray Paint Takes To Dry

Factors In How Long It Takes Paint To Dry

Spray paint dries fast no matter what, but a few things will affect the drying time. Make sure to spray paint in optimal weather conditions so your project isn’t ruined by inclement weather.


Temperature affects how long it takes paint to dry. Hotter temperatures are the worst. Paint in hot temperatures will take much longer to dry than paint in cooler temperatures. 

If it is too cold, there is a slight chance that the wet paint can freeze. But this depends on the exact temperature. If it is above 32-degrees Fahrenheit or 0-degrees Celsius, the paint should not freeze. 

If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, store your paint where it will be safe from below-freezing temperatures. Garages may get too cold, so opt for an interior closet or under the kitchen sink.

Warmer temperatures are better for the drying process and help paint dry faster. The optimal temperature for applying most paints is between 65 and 85 degrees.


Moisture in the air affects drying time. The more humidity in the room or outside, the more difficult it will be for the paint to dry.

When there is a lot of moisture in the air, it keeps the paint moist and can take several more hours to dry or may not dry until there is low humidity.

The same goes for condensation. If it is cold and humid, the water can drip on the surface and mix with the paint. Humidity can also leave streaks in the paint. 

Air Circulation 

The air is constantly in motion when you are outside, so paint dries fast. But when you are inside, paint drying time increases because there is little air circulation. Make sure that air is circulating, or else the paint will become stagnant. 

Without air circulation, the paint suffocates and will take forever to dry. Not to mention that no circulation makes for an even more humid room. So keep a fan going and open a window.

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster

Helping your spray paint dry fast will save you time when applying multiple coats and could prevent smudges. Here are some simple steps to help spray paint dry faster.

  • Reduce air moisture. Spray painting in humid climates is challenging to control, so wait for low humidity or paint indoors. When spray painting indoors, you can control the environment better by using a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air and reduce drying time.
  • Make air circulation. Place a fan in the room and direct it to blow on the painted surface. The blowing air will help spray paint dry faster and keep bugs and debris from falling on the fresh paint.
  • Cure spray paint. You can cure spray paint on small objects by placing them into a toaster oven. Do not use the oven for anything other than paint curing after using it.Baking your painted project is an effective method to dry spray-painted dishes, glasses, candle holders, or any small object that can fit into the toaster oven.
  • Paint thin layers. Thick coats of paint will affect drying time. Therefore, always use a thin coat of paint with every pass. Thin coats will speed up the drying process, and you will achieve a smoother and better paint coverage.
  • Use wax-based furniture polish. Furniture polish will help spray paint dry quicker. It also helps prevent drip marks. Get a sprayable wax-based furniture polish and spray a thin layer on your project. Wait about five minutes, and then spray another layer for a good seal. Wipe excess polish with a soft cloth.
  • Proper painting application.The spray paint dry time is contingent upon the thickness of the paint. Applying thin coats ensures a quicker drying time. You can apply the next coat once the paint’s surface is semi-dry, which is about five minutes in most cases, as long as the layers are thin enough.Using a spray gun is an alternative and allows for quick, easy thin coats of paint.

Inspiration For Your Spray Paint Project

Inspiration For Your Spray Paint Project

Although there are thousands of spray painting projects online, you may still struggle with inspiration.

These creative ideas using spray paint will inspire you to create your next project and are super easy to accomplish.

Dipped Rope Basket

Dipped Rope Basket
This rope basket looks like it is from a chic home decor store. But it is just some rope that was wound together and spray painted that made it look this good.

You can customize your basket by taping any part you don’t want to have paint on. Then let it dry and remove the tape. Let the spray paint dry for at least 24 hours as the rope surface is porous and uneven.

Concrete Coasters

Concrete Coasters

Concrete is so customizable, and it doesn’t have to look industrial. These concrete coasters use the same technique as the basket project.

Add the tape where you don’t want the paint, and then paint the surface. You can leave the background the natural concrete or paint it first.

Spray paint takes several hours to dry on porous, unsealed concrete.

Flamingo Doormat

Flamingo Doormat

You can add any stencil that you want to any type of doormat. Buy stencils online or create your own custom stencils by cutting shapes into thin plastic or wax paper.

Then, place the stencils on the doormat and paint away. Spray paint is so easy to use if you have stencils.

Spray painting is fast, leaves even coats, and works wonders on flat or uneven surfaces.

Hand-Painted Vase

Hand-Painted Vase

This vase is so unique, but it’s just a plain ceramic pitcher that is spray painted. You can use this painting style for any vessel. Use multiple paint coats for a nice even painting surface.

The base is white paint, and the stripes are hand-painted with latex paint.

The lines give the vase a hand-painted clay look that will match any decor style. 

Gorgeous Plywood Art

Gorgeous Plywood Art
This is one beautiful piece of art that deserves to be in a studio. You can do this with as many layers and details as you like. Let’s look at the process to achieve this style.

First, cut the plywood into a canvas. Then stain the plywood to create a contrasting look. After the stain dries, add masking tape to the plywood and make a stenciled design.

The final step is to paint the entire surface for stunning results.  

Painted Glasses

Painted Glasses

For this project, use an old candle holder and burn the candle wax out by slowly boiling the glass in a pot. Then you mask off sections with tape, spray paint, and then finish off with some gravel or stones of your choice.

Place thicker round stones on the bottom and top with small loose rocks for a modern-looking planter.  

Apply spray paint in light layers to prevent the paint from running down the glass.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Will tacky spray paint ever dry?

Paint that is tacky over several days, weeks, or months will never dry. Tacky paint happens due to not following the proper drying process. You will need to remove paint with paint thinner and restart your painting project using thin coats of spray paint.

How long should spray paint take to dry between coats?

The typical rule of thumb is five minutes between coats, but this will vary based on the type of spray paint you are using. Follow manufacturer directions to ensure proper drying time between coats.

How long should spray paint take to dry before applying a clear coat?

Allow at least thirty minutes between the base coat before applying the clear coat. To get a perfect clear coat finish, paint four thin coats and allow ten minutes of drying time between each coat.

How long is needed for spray paint to dry before it rains?

Do not paint within 24 hours of incoming rain. You could get away with as low as 12 hours, but the humidity of a growing storm could make the paint dry slower.

Final Things To Know About Spray Paint

Now that you know what it takes for spray paint to dry, let’s go over a few final points before we wrap this up. 

  • Is Spray Paint Safe? – There are two answers to this. First of all, yes, spray paint is safe if used in the correct manner. But yes, it is also toxic. So always wear a mask when using spray paint to prevent any health problems. 
  • Can I Use Spray Paint Indoors? – No. You should never use spray paint indoors. Always take the item outside and paint it. If you are painting something that cannot be taken outside, use a different kind of paint. 
  • How Long Do I Shake Spray Paint? – Most of the time, you will have to shake the spray paint for a couple of minutes. A ball bearing inside the can mixes the paint when shaken.
  • How Many Coats Do I Need? – This depends on your project. Most of the time, you can get by with two coats of spray paint. Make sure that you use thin coats, even if it requires more coats.

These are the most important aspects of using spray paint.

You want two things when spray painting. You want to stay safe, and you want to ensure that you get the best result possible. After that is taken care of, you’re home-free.
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