How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint To Dry?

Guides and Tips

Acrylic paint is one of the easiest art materials to find in stores out there and easy to use too. It’s so versatile it could be used in canvas, for home décor, DIY arts and crafts. And because it can be used on almost everything, many are wondering about how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?    

In common, it will take 20 - 120 minutes but the exact time will depend on the types, the drying time of the paint, plus more other factors. I will show you my experiences when using this paint. 

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic is a water-based type of paint, it’s water resistant, polymer-based, making it very suitable for projects, such as paintings on a canvass, for home décor, and arts and crafts. It can be applied to various surfaces, and can easily be blended or layered to other acrylic paint films and quickly dries without problems or side effects. 

They are also lightfast, which means the paint will not fade easily when exposed to light. Another unique property of an acrylic paint is that it is not reliant on solvents so you could use it as it is, but you can still modify the paint’s consistency with the variety of gels, pastes, and mediums.

How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint To Dry

Depending on my experiences, thin films of acrylic paint would dry as fast in 10-20 minutes, whereas the thicker films could take up to an hour or more, and some would take days before it becomes fully dry to touch. Let me show the drying time of Acrylic Paint in details: 

Types of Acrylic Paint  

There are three types of acrylic paint, the fluid, Heavy-Bodied Acrylics and Slow-Drying Acrylics

1. Fluid is mainly used in acrylic pouring which has a watery and runny consistency. The Fluid type of acrylic is best-suited for pouring techniques, and if you would add enough water, it could be used like a watercolor, which is amazing for painting as a wall décor in your home.

Because its film or consistency is thin, it will dry just as quickly, about 5-10 minutes. LIQUITEX BASICS ACRYLIC is one of the best choice for this quick drying paint. 

2. Heavy-Bodied Acrylics: This type of acrylic paint has a thick and buttery consistency that resembles oil paints. Its thickness helps the paint maintain brushstrokes, and make the blending or mixing of colors smooth and flawless.

You can buy Heavy body acrylics in either tubes or jars - paints that are in tubes are paste-like, while paints that are in jars are thick but flattens out eventually when it's poured on the palette. Heavy body acrylics can be workable after 10 minutes after application, then dry to the touch in 30 minutes, and “locked down” in 3 days or so. 

3. Open Acrylics are a slow-drying paint, but it has slightly softer consistency than our Heavy Body paints. This paint takes long time to dry, can remain wet for 60 minutes after using. 

Factors That Affect Acrylic Paint’s Drying Time

There are some main factors at Affect Acrylic Paint Drying Time, you should check them before using it in order to get the best results: 

  • The consistency or thickness of the paint also plays an important role in the paint’s drying time. The thicker consistency will need more time to become touch dry, and two types of Acrylic has different viscosity or consistency. The thicker the paint, the longer it needs to dry.
  • Your environment can also affect the drying time of your piece, you must take note of the temperature, humidity, and airflow. These are environmental factors could influence the drying of the acrylic paint. 

Tips to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster

One of the unique properties of acrylic paint is its fast-drying ability, but just like what I stated above, there are types of acrylics that need more time to become touch dry. But here are some few ways that you could practice to naturally reduce the drying period of your acrylic paint.

  • Place your acrylic-painted piece in a warm room, make sure that the humidity is low, or place it near a fan. This helps draw the moisture from the surface of your piece. 
  • Make acrylic paint dry faster is by placing the piece under a heat lamp, or a lamp with an incandescent bulb. Make sure that the lamp is not to hot and not too close to the paint, for the painting might bubble or crack. 
  • Dry your acrylic paint faster naturally, by blow-drying it. Set your hair dryer on low heat setting, but you must be careful not to get the painting too hot to prevent the paint from cracking.

You may follow these tips if you want your acrylic paint to dry quickly and naturally, but make sure to do this with caution, so as not to damage or ruin your painting, or project.

There are a lot of factors that could affect your acrylic paint’s drying time, it depends on the type of paint, the viscosity or consistency, and more once you add a medium to the paint and how thick your paint film is. But aside from these paint properties, some other things could also be a component of the paint’s drying period. 

There’s heat, humidity, airflow, materials used, painting surface, that can negatively or positively affect your acrylic paint’s drying time. You should also be mindful with how long you are going to expose your paint, for there are circumstances that your paint might crack or form bubbles.

It is very important to get as much information and tips as you could to further help you properly use your acrylic and successfully dry your project. On the other hand, you may seek assistance, tips, and more information from the personnel at your local art supplies store, for they are more knowledgeable of the materials you’ll be needing.