How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster?

Learn how you can make your acrylic painting dry faster

Acrylic paint is water-based type of paint which means that it dries relatively fast, especially in comparison to such slow-drying paints as oil paint and some others.

This is one of the reasons why artists prefer using acrylics these days – simply because nobody wants to wait for a few days until a small piece of painting is done drying!

However, even though acrylics dry more or less quickly, people still tend to wonder how it is possible to make this paint dry even faster.

If you are curious about this issue too, then you should definitely read this article!

We will share a few handy tips with you on what tricks can be used in order to make an acrylic painting get dry faster than usual.

Also, you will learn why acrylics may dry slower or not dry at all. In addition, we will remind you why this type of paint is relatively quick-drying. Finally, you will learn how long it usually takes acrylic paint to dry.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster Than It Usually Does?

If you have ever worked with acrylic paints (meaning you used them for painting), you know that this type of paint dries relatively quickly.

This is one of the major reasons why beginner artists and even professionals often prefer acrylics over oil-based paints. Simply because acrylics take less time to dry.

However, anything can happen and maybe, you might need your acrylic painting to dry faster than it would normally do. Is it possible to do it somehow?

This is the question that people ask more frequently than other questions when it comes to acrylic paints. And yes, it is possible to make acrylic paint dry faster!

There are several different ways how this can be done, and below we will describe each of them in detail.

Like this, you will be able to learn more about the possible options and choose which one to make use of in case others did not work well for you.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry? | The Factors That Affect the Way Acrylic Paint DriesHow Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry? | The Factors That Affect the Way Acrylic Paint Dries

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Apply It In Thin Layers

This is the most simple method how you can make acrylic paint dry faster. Another benefit of it is that it is absolutely free! All that you need to do is just make sure that you are applying paint in thinner layers.

This is because of the basic rule of thumb that all the artists use: the thinner the layer of paint is, the faster your painting will dry on canvas or other surface.

But even if you apply thin layers, and you are looking forward to continuing painting, please make sure that a new layer of paint is applied only when the previous one is dry to the touch!

Like this, you will never ruin the painting or mix the layers in a way that you don’t want it to be.

Apply It In Thin Layers
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Provide Warm And Dry Environment

Environment affects the drying process a lot. It is one of the most important factors for paint, as well as for storing and transporting paintings.

By environment, we mean temperature, humidity, and air flows.

This is why, if you want your painting to dry properly and quickly, make sure that you provide it with the best environment. For painting, it is the following:

  • Temperature: 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 24 C).
  • Humidity: 40-50%
  • Well-aired room

In this environment, under such conditions, your acrylic paint will dry for 20-30 minutes. Bit in case you still want to make it dry faster, you can try out the following trick:

  • Work in low humidity warm room. Higher temperatures will speed up the drying time.
  • Place your painting under moderate airflow, or make use of a fan. The air circulation will help to dry the area and prevent paint from being wet.

However, there are also certain precautions that must be followed if you don’t want to screw up your recently made masterpiece!

  1. Don’t overheat the workplace since it can cause bubbles
  2. Don’t use powerful fans. A strong flow of cold air directed on the painting can damage it and lead to cracking.
  3. Direct your fan away from painting
Provide Warm And Dry Environment
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Use Hairdryer Or Heater

A hairdryer is probably something that all of us have at home. But except for being a great hair drying tool, it could be an easy way to make your acrylic paint dry faster!

The only downside that it has is that you need to follow certain precautions if you choose using this method:

  • use only the lowest heat
  • don’t blow air too close to the painting
  • don’t stay in one area for a long time. Otherwise, the heat can cause bubbles or cracks, and affect paint quality and even colors.
  • using a hairdryer, make sure the room is well-aired.

By the way, it is possible to make use of a heat lamp, a heater, or even a heat gun as alternatives to the hairdryer!

But keep in mind that a heat gun, for example, is much hotter than a regular hairdryer. So please be careful.

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Opt For Fast-Drying Paint

This is another, also easy way to make your acrylic masterpiece dry faster. There are fast-drying and slow-drying acrylic paint on the market. As you know, drying fast is normal for acrylics.

So if you want your acrylic paint dry faster, just do not choose slow-drying paint! For example, such a brand as Golden Open Acrylics or Atelier Interactive.

Also, keep in mind that it is assumed that artist-grade paint can dry a bit slower than student-grade acrylics. Artists grade acrylic paint examples are the following:

  1. Deco Art Traditions Acrylic paints
  2. Chroma Atelier Interactive Artists’ Acrylic Paints
  3. Pebeo Artists’ acrylics
  4. Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Paint
Opt For Fast-Drying Paint
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Avoid Using Certain Mediums

Sometimes acrylic paint can be mixed with different mediums in order to improve the flow, make it thinner or extend the work time.

But if your goal is to make acrylic paint dry faster, there are no specific fast-drying mediums that can be used.

It is ok to make use of flow improvers or mediums that do not affect open time, work time, or evaporation (slow-drying mediums).

In other words, avoid using any retarders, extenders, slow-drying mediums, and wetting sprays if you still want your acrylic paint to dry as quickly as possible.

For example, you should stay away from the following brands:

  1. Golden Acrylic Retarder
  2. Liquitex Wetting Spray
  3. Impresa Acrylic Paint Thinner for Slow Drying Acrylic Paints
  4. Winsor & Newton Galeria Extender

Always read the label carefully to make sure you don’t accidentally slow down drying since it includes the use of both painting products and simple options like hairdryers, we are sure that you will be able to find the solution that suits your needs.

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How Long Does Acrylic Paint Dry?

As you know, acrylic is a pretty quick-drying paint, especially in comparison to oil paints! On average, artist-quality acrylic takes from 20 to 30 minutes to dry to the touch if you use in a thin layer.

Thicker layers will take one or two hours. It usually depends on the environment you are using the paint in. As for the curing time, acrylic paint is fully cured in 6 – 12 hours in a well aired, cool room.

Below, you can find a chart with the reminder on how fast acrylic paint dries based on what theirs brands say:

Brand Dry time

Liquitex 10-20 minutes touch dry

Utrecht

10 -20 min for thin layers, up to 3 days for thicker application
Golden Heavy Body

stays wet for less than 5 min. Touch dry for 30 minutes.

Winsor & Newton Acrylic

up to 30 minutes
Pebeo

no specific time mentioned

Golden OPEN Acrylics

30-60 min. still wet,
24+ h to touch dry,
up to 14 days for fully cured

What Makes Acrylic Paint Dry Fast?

Acrylic paint is water-based which means that it dries pretty fast. Just to give you a bit of theory, the process of acrylic paint drying is the process of evaporation of water and some other agents that the paint consists of.

Based on it, you can assume that the hotter environment is, the faster your acrylics will be able to dry.

It is also essential to keep in mind that acrylic paint goes through several stages of drying:

  • wet paint while you are painting
  • touch dry (20-30 minutes after applying thin layer)
  • fully cured, solid (up to 12-24 hours).

After this, acrylic paint starts its aging process. With this basic understanding, you will be able to better realize why and how your paint works.

Like this, you will feel more confident when working with it and thus more free to experiment.

What Makes Acrylic Paint Dry Fast
VIZAFOTO via crello

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What Makes Acrylic Paint Not Dry Or Dry Slow?

It happens sometimes that acrylic paint dries way slower than it should be, or it does not dry at all!

What does it happen? Environment, surface the paint is applied to, and mediums, as well as the paint you use influence the drying time of the acrylics.

So if you suspect that your paint is drying way too slow, we suggest you check out whether any of these factors took place, and try to avoid them later:

  • paint was applied in thick layers (more than 1 mm)
  • the surface is glossy or non-absorbent
  • you use stay-wet palettes
  • the paint you use is with a longer open time
  • you use extenders, retarders, slow-drying mediums,wetting spray
  • you are used to spraying the back of your canvas or paint while working
  • too much water was added to the paint
  • you paint in high humidity
  • the temperature in your room is below 65F (18C)
  • you used to cover your painting with plastic (it keeps moisture and slows down the drying process)

If you realize that at least one of these factors is present, your paint is likely to dry slower than it could normally.

So, dear artists, now you know how you can make your acrylic paint dry faster without damaging the painting. We provided you with a few handy and simple options so now you have a varied selection to choose from.

And since you are now aware of a few handy tips regarding acrylic drying time and proper paint application, you can feel free to experiment since you will feel way more confident from now on!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐How to make epoxy dry faster?

The best way to make epoxy dry faster is to use a heat gun (or a hairdryer, a heater). If your piece is already cured you can also use the oven.

⭐How can I make puffy paint dry faster?

To make puffy paint dry faster try this: paint outdoors in warm, dry weather, use a heat gun. Do not iron or freeze puffy fabric paint.

⭐If I laquer my acrylic piece, will it take longer for it to dry?

Yes, an additional layer of finish will require more time for drying. This is why make sure you apply it to the paint that’s dry already.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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