How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry

Acrylic paint has a reputation to dry faster than any other media, like watercolor or Gouache. Using the normal amount of water with that, it would take a minimum of 1 minute or maximum 2 to 3 minutes to get dry. Though it is generally fast drying in an ideal environment, using a thick layer may take around 30 minutes to an hour to dry.
Basically, painting is not like drawing and its drying time depends on, how porous the surface is. Sometimes it could be a bit difficult to determine the exact time of drying the paint because it also depends on the humidity, temperature, airflow, and absorbency of the substrate. Even the brand & quality of the paint will affect the drying period of Acrylic paints.
But however it is dry to touch, doesn’t mean it’s properly dry. Normally acrylics dry faster in hot weather & low humidity. Even depending on the uses of water, how porous the surface is, and the environment while painting, it may have some moisture on it and still looks dry. So the better way is to let the painting dry overnight in a dry & light place before framing.

Professional Acrylic pains drying period:

If you can find any professional acrylic paint, it could take much longer to dry than regular paint. You may say they are professional grade paints & much more expensive than any other regular acrylics.

Professional acrylics take longer to dry, that’s why it ensures less wastage on the painting palette & the painter can keep the paint much longer. Adding retarders can make the drying time much longer for acrylic on canvas.

Usually, Professional acrylic paints take 30 minutes to dry themselves, if the layer of paints, uses of water, & conditions are ideal. Otherwise, it could take up to 2 to 3 hours to dry with the thick layer of paints.

Acrylic Paints Drying Time:

To make Acrylic Dry faster:

  •  Decrease Humidity
  •  Increase Temperature
  • Increase Airflow
  • Thin Layer Painting
  • Paint on Absorbent surface
  • Use regular acrylic without adding retarders

To make Acrylic Dry slower:

  • Increase Humidity
  • Avoidance of high temperature
  • Decrease Airflow
  • Paint in a thick layer
  • Non-absorbent surface
  • Using retarders with the paint

Factors that can affect the drying time of Acrylic Paints:


Humidity in the air dramatically affects how long it would take to dry Acrylic paint. The higher amount of humidity usually extends the drying period, & lowering the humidity makes the paints dry faster.
In arid climates Acrylic paints dry faster, so painting outside is very difficult & challenging as well. Then you will be needed to add retarders in paint & wet platters the prevention of quick drying of the paints.
Working Inside is more eraser for having control over Humidity in the air. Also, the heating system & air conditioning system helps to reduce humidity. However, some of the heating systems increase the amount of moisture in the air as well.
So need to make sure the heating system is as you need it. The different areas of your working station may have different humidity levels.
You can use a Dehumidifier to lower the Humidity level, & if you have the opposite problem of too much dry air, you can also use A Humidifier for your workplace or studio.


The high temperature will evaporate the water from the paint faster, & that will make acrylic paint dry faster than a normal time period. So working or painting outside could be more challenging in hot weather.
On a very hot day, you could use a wet palette for preventing fast drying out of the paints on the palette. On the other hand, Lowering the temperature will extend the time period of drying the Acrylics.

Using of Acrylic gel:

Using an Acrylic medium like Gel, Retarders, Professional acrylic paints, & other products may slow down the drying time of Acrylic paints. So when you will use this kind of Gel or any other product which makes acrylic paint dry slowly, you should leave the paint for at least overnight or 24 hours to dry properly.

Uses of Water:

Using pure Acrylic paints without adding water in it takes much longer to dry than you mix some water in the paint, just because pure Acrylics have a thicker consistency which will take a longer time period to dry.
Because water could normally evaporate. On the other hand, on a porous surface, adding too much water will extend the time off additional 2 hours or more to dry.

Thin Or Thick Layers of Paint:

Since the Acrylics have a thicker consistency, the drying time depends on the thickness of the layers of the paintings. How thick you will apply the layers, can affect how fast it dries.
Using thin layers of Acrylics may take a minute or 2 minutes to dry, so it can ensure a shorter waiting time to dry the paint. However, using thicker layers of paint will extend the drying time from 2 hours or above.

Environmental Issues :

For Fast-drying Acrylic paints, you need to make sure a warm, Low humidity room or work station, with enough ventilation, so that the air flows can make the Acrylic exposed. Otherwise, a Cold & Humid room with no airflow will make the paint dry slower.
Basically, Acrylic paint is much more popular than any other media for creating art. But on the other hand, its fast-drying characteristics are really difficult to work with. Though there are a vast of solutions available for speeding up or making slower the drying process.

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