Spray painting can be a quick and easy way to achieve a smooth finish on your project. However, if you do not take the proper precautions, it can also be messy and time-consuming.

And if you’re like me, your impatient side would want spray paint to dry as soon as possible.

In this post, we will share with you some tips on how to make spray paint dry faster. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to get your project finished in no time!

So without further ado, let’s get started!

How Long Does it take for Spray Paint to Dry?

It takes about 10 minutes for spray paint to become dry to touch but to dry completely can take up to 24 hours. However, this depends on the surface on which it was applied, but it roughly takes about a day to dry.

So many factors determine how long spray paint finishes for wood take to dry, which is why there is no specific amount of time. You might read a thing or two on the body of the can to know the drying time for a particular brand of spray paint.

However, for spray paint to fully cure, that is, become 100% dry, it takes up to 24 hours, which entirely depends on the type of surface the spray paint is used on, the kind of paint used, and the temperature of the environment where it was applied.

Now the fact that you might have to wait an entire day to let the paint fully dry on its own could discourage you from even spray painting in the first place.

The good news is you do not have to wait forever as there are several tips you would find helpful, so continue reading to know what some of your options are.

How to Make Spray Paint Dry Faster – 11 Ways

You can make spray paint dry faster by applying thin coats and introducing heat which helps reduce dry time. This can be done by ensuring the first coat of spray paint is relatively light and using a heat source such as heat lamps to dry it.

Irrespective of any spray paint’s cure time or time it takes to become dry to touch, there is always something you can do to speed up the process, especially when it is not fast-drying spray paint. Below are some of the other things you can do.

1. Apply thin coats

You often hear “ Less is more, “ well, this applies while spray painting. This is because the thinner the paint coats, the quicker it dries to the surface.

It is usually advised, especially if you are using spray paint for the first time, applying a thin coat first so you do not do a tacky job of painting, especially when it requires multiple coats.

Thin layers of paint help reduce spray paint drying time before another coat is applied to give a better finish. Thick coats, however, make the drying process slower, and it could already take up to a day for spray paint to dry completely.

A thin coat on the hand will make the spray paint dry faster and give you much better control while painting.

How to apply thin coats of spray paint

There is no particular step-by-step process to do this, but you can use some of these tips:

  • Ensure you have good control of the spray paint can, securing it firmly with your hands and using your index finger to spray.
  • Hold the can at about 8 inches away from the surface being sprayed
  • Avoid moving only your wrist while spray painting
  • Move your hands slowly, ensuring you apply the same pressure across all surfaces so the paint evens out.
  • This might require some practice, though, so do not get frustrated if, on the first attempt, the coat does not look as nice as it should.

2. Coat with wax-based furniture polish

Furniture polish is a wood finish that gives wooden surfaces a good luster. It also comes as a spray can, just like spray paint. Getting a wax-based kind can be hard to come by, but it does a good job of making spray paint dry instantly!

It works like a regular mattifier women have in their makeup purses to absorb any excess oil and leaves the face looking dry. So, after using spray paint, coating with a wax-based furniture polish helps seal the paint and gives it a matte finish.

How to do this

  • Step 1: Apply the spray paint normally (remember as a thin coat)
  • Step 2: Immediately spray the furniture polish over the painted surface, applying little pressure
  • Step 3: Use a soft rag to wipe off the excess polish gently
  • Step 4: Wait for about 5 minutes before another coat is added
  • Step 5: Use your pinky finger to gently pat the surface to see if it is dry before applying more coats.

However, this method needs a good knowledge of using wax-based polish and spray paint, so one does not end up affecting the work of another since they are both sprays.

3. Use a hair dryer

You might wonder how a hair dryer used for blow-drying hair can help in drying paint. Surprisingly, it effectively uses the hot air it produces to dry spray paint.

It is considered a preferred option in the home as a hair dryer is always present, so it is not rare to access or use.

Tips to follow while using a hair dryer

  • You do not have to go for an expensive one; a cheap hair dryer, preferably the cordless type, will do the job, so you do not have to be restricted to spray painting close to a power outlet.
  • Hold your hair dryer at arm’s length to the sprayed surface. If held too close, the air blown out could degrade the paint. So the farther it is, the wider the area it will cover in drying.
  • Increase the temperature of the hair dryer, especially if you are trying to dry up water-based spray paint. The downside is that using the hair dryer at a very high temperature could be risky for the spray paint.
  • Increase the airflow instead when drying oil-based spray paint. This means using the hair dryer at its lowest temperature rather than introducing heat.

4. Use a box fan

Due to the nature of the compounds spray paints are made from, it is always advised to use them in a well-ventilated area with enough air circulation.

Do you know this also helps the spray paint dry faster? When painting in an enclosed space, getting enough ventilation could be difficult, which is why a box fan can produce more air in circulation.

This fan should be kept running even after spray painting is completed as it helps reduce drying time and will not make the spray paint sticky.

How to do this effectively

  • Do not keep the fan too close to the painted surface as the intensity of the air could smear and move the paint, ruining your work.
  • Keep the fan running at medium speed.
  • Use the fan in a clean place devoid of flying dirt particles or debris that the fan could make stick to the painted surface.
  • Avoid using a box fan when it gets particularly windy, so the circulated air is more controlled.

5. Run a small space heater nearby

A space heater works just like a box fan in creating more airflow. It does this with increased temperature to speed up the drying process. It is particularly useful when spray painting on cold and humid days like during winter or when it is raining.

You can use a small space heater by running it close to your work area as you spray paint or run the heater near the surface after you are done.

The standard heater in your home, too, can do this effectively by just turning it up. This will make the entire surface dry to touch in minutes.

Note: The heater does not reduce the drying time drastically or make it dry instantly; it just saves you a few hours of waiting and helps the spray paint dry quickly.

6. Create enough air circulation

The importance of natural air in drying spray paint cannot be overemphasized. If you are not painting outdoors, it is essential to create enough ventilation indoors.

The first step is to open the windows to allow airflow into the room where spray painting is being carried out so the paint fumes can go out into the open air.

If the room or place has no windows, the door can be left open, even if it is a roof opening, anything to circulate air. The more air there is in circulation, the faster the drying process.  A fan, as well as an air conditioner, can also be used to do this.

7. Paint outside on warm, bright days

Planning the day when you want to carry out spray painting also helps speed up the drying process. While spraying paint under direct sunlight is not wise, it helps when done outside on sunny, dry days.

The warmth and brightness of the environment help dry up the paint quickly. You would agree summertime fits this description, making it a great time to spray paint.

So, you can check what the weather forecast is saying, start early in the morning, and by evening, you have a completely dried surface.

8. Spray paint under low humidity

It is vital to ensure the air is not humid where you want to leave your spray paint to dry. Humidity has a way of slowing down the drying process.

Hence, when you cannot wait for the air moisture to reduce after using spray paint, you can shut the windows of the place where the objects are to dry as this will restrict humid air from entering the area.

This is always the case during winter; hence you should find a cool, dry place to carry out your spray painting.

Another thing you can do is to get a dehumidifier or turn on the dry mode of your A/C unit and keep it running in the room where the spray paint is drying.

The dehumidifier draws air from the room and cools it to a very low temperature when humidity levels are high.

It might take up to two days for a dehumidifier to completely dry out a space; however, you can be sure you have a fully cured spray paint before then.

9. Cure spray paint in a toaster oven

This is one of the fastest ways to completely cure spray paint in very few hours. A toaster oven can be used to achieve this. It is suitable for enamel paints as other paints might crack at such a high temperature.

  • Step 1: Use your spray paint on your desired piece of wood, applying several coats as desired
  • Step 2: Wait for about an hour till the coats of spray paint are dry to touch.
  • Step 3: Put the spray-painted material in a toaster oven and bake it at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about two hours after ensuring the kind of paint is safe for curing spray paint in the oven.
  • Step 4: Allow it to cool down, and you can safely bring it out.

Note: A conventional oven used for cooking or baking should not be used; remember, spray paint contains VOCs that could stick to the inside of the oven and contaminate any food it is used for. So get a toaster oven specifically for only drying spray paint; this is better used industrially or if you use spray paint many times.

10. Use a heat gun

A heat gun is probably the first option anyone that wants to speed up drying time would go for. Asides from the fact that you can reach very high temperatures, even at its lower temperature setting, it still gets the job done.

It is better suited for bigger projects where a hair dryer might be too slow. Although it does not dry the paint instantly as you might think, it makes it faster.

How to use it

Step 1: Turn on the heat gun and start at a lower temperature range so you do not end up creasing the paint.

Step 2: Hold the heat gun at a distance of at least 2 inches from the paint, ensuring you do not go closer so your work does not get ruined.

Step 3: Continuously move the heat gun nozzle around the surface back and forth with spray paint, making sure the hot air is directly going towards the painted object you want to dry.

Step 4: When the paint is dry enough, you can stop. However, it might take longer to completely dry the paint, which you would find very stressful, so you can leave the paint to dry on its own after using a heat gun for some minutes. At least you would have cut back on many hours of drying time.

Follow the safety precautions mentioned below while using:

  • Make sure the area you want to use a heat gun contains no flammable material as this could result in an explosion.
  • Be careful not to touch the nozzle or direct the gun to your skin, as this could lead to serious burns.
  • Wear respiratory masks to avoid the fumes. By any chance, should you inhale the fumes, be quick to clear spray paint in your lungs.

11. Use fast-drying spray paints

There are several spray paint brands, and they all have different drying times. One way to ensure spray paint dries fast is to use one that quickly dries.

An example of this kind of spray paint is the Rustoleum 2x coverage spray paint which is said to be dry to touch in 20 minutes! So you can be on the lookout or find out how long it takes a particular spray paint to dry before you purchase it.

Read also: Can you spray polycrylic?

Additional Tips

You can also do other things to make spray paint dry faster aside from the tips mentioned above. They include:

Add paint thinner to the mix

This is one hack you can use before using spray paint. Paint thinners are usually used to remove paint from surfaces, but when mixed in the appropriate proportion, they can catalyze to speed up paint drying.

However, this is not the safest method as paint thinners are more difficult to control than the paint itself, so if you do not know the limit, you might waste chemicals and your time.

Apply paint spray evenly across the surface

Another reason your spray paint is not drying as fast as it should is that you did not apply it evenly around the object or surface. This could result from applying too much pressure while spraying, leading to too much paint on some parts.

Also, while adding multiple coats, if a coat is not allowed to dry to some extent before another is applied, it could delay the overall drying time of the spray paint.

Spray Paint Drying Time on Different Surfaces

The drying time of spray paint refers to the time it takes from application to being cured, that is, completely dried.

The surface on which the spray paint was applied goes a long way as a factor in affecting the duration of the drying time. It varies from wood to metal to plastic.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Metal?

It takes about 10 minutes for spray paint to become dry to touch after being applied on a metallic surface, but it could take up to 24 hours to fully cure.

Spray paint is used on metal to prevent rust, and the best kind most frequently used is the hard-wearing enamel paint.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Wood?

It takes about an hour for spray paint to become dry to touch on wood, but it could take up to 24 hours to fully cure.

This entirely depends on the type of wood surface, the temperature of the area where the spray painting was done, and the kind of spray paint used.

How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on Plastic?

It takes about 30 minutes for spray paint to feel dry to touch on plastic surfaces. Also, waiting up to 24 hours for it to fully cure before touching or using it for anything is recommended.

Care should be taken while spray painting plastic so hand impressions while touching the surface are not left behind.


How long for spray paint to cure?

In most cases, spray paint cure time takes up to   24 hours or more to dry and cure completely. Overall, the amount of time you need to wait for the paint to cure fully will depend on the type of spray paint that you use.

How to speed up spray paint drying?

To speed up spray paint drying, use thin coats instead of one thick coat. You can also lower the humidity in the room by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner. Another way to speed up the drying process is to create air circulation by opening windows and doors or using a fan. And finally, you can use a heater to raise the temperature in the room and help the paint dry faster.

Does spray paint dry faster in heat or cold?

Heated temperatures make spray paint dry faster than cold temperatures. However, hotter temperatures will help your paint dry faster but leave it with cracks. Same time,  below-freezing temperatures can freeze and negatively impact your paint. But, how do you tell the paint has dried by looking at its appearance? Does paint get darker or lighter when it dries? The change in appearance upon drying varies depending on the type of paint.

Does spray paint dry faster in the sun?

Yes, the sun makes spray paint dry so fast. However, you should not apply spray paint under direct sunlight. The extreme heat will cause the deck paint to peel and leave marks even though it will definitely dry faster.

What is the best quick-dry spray paint?

The best quick-dry spray paint is Krylon Rust Protector. It dries in 8 minutes, which is much faster than other brands. However, it’s important to note that “fast dry” paint may dry faster, but it may not “cure” any faster. You still have to wait at least a few days before it is ready for use.

How long does spray paint take to dry outside?

It takes 10-30 minutes for spray paint to dry outside.  Yet, the spray paint can last 8 hours for a full dry.  It’s important to avoid applying waterproof wood spray paint under direct sunlight. The sun is likely to dry the spray faster but cause peeling. So, don’t let your object dry under harsh sunlight if you must work outside.

How to cure spray paint fast?

Apply the spray paint in very thin, light coats. This will help the paint dry more evenly and prevent any runs or sags. You can also use paint thinner as well, making sure you ventilate the area well while you’re working and for at least 24 hours.  Allowing enough air flow helps the fumes dissipate and prevents the paint from drying slowly.

How long does Rustoleum take to dry?

Rustoleum typically dries tack-free in 2-4 hours and becomes fully dry after 24 hours. These estimations for the drying time may vary depending on factors such as humidity, temperature, and airflow. For best results, be sure to follow the guidelines on the Rustoleum package.

How long does clear coat spray paint take to dry?

You can expect your clear coat of spray to dry to touch within 12-48 hours. However, the specific amount of time is defined by the temperature and humidity of the environment. Typically,  the 48-hour recommendation only applies if your area is experiencing cold weather.

What to do when spray paint won’t dry on rubber?

One thing to do to make spray paint stick better to rubber is to coat the rubber material with an exterior primer before painting. This will help the paint adhere better for longer life and should prevent it from peeling or flaking off.

How long does Krylon take to dry?

Krylon spray paint dries to the touch in 15 minutes or less, making it a great option for quick projects. You don’t need any sanding or priming to prepare your surface for painting. The paint is a super bond and is great for wood as well as inside and outs on plastics.


Now you know drying times for spray paints can vary and that several things can be done to dry spray paint faster to a good extent.

Hopefully, you were able to learn a hack or two you could use in your next painting job. You do not have to wait an entire day all the time; in a matter of a few hours, your paint job would dry up in no time.

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