A Study on How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry (20 Examples)

The acrylic paint soon became a paint of choice for many artists due to its fast-drying feature. According to the research, acrylic paint is a new entrant to the art scene that dries fast compared to oil paints that need months to dry. But the question may arise in mind, “how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?” 

Usually, the thin film of acrylic paint needs 20 to 30 minutes to dry, whereas the thicker films need an hour or two. The drying time of acrylic paint varies based on different variables, including paint type, brand, humidity, application, air conditions, the surface, and more. 

Here in this article, we’ll try to reveal every feature that can change the acrylic paints’ dry time. So please continue to read to know the overall case study. 

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry

Expert’s Opinion: How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry? 

K Grace-Lily (Artist, Instructor, Art consultant, Gallery Curator, former Museum Educator)

According to K Grace-Lily, the average drying time of Acrylic Paint varies, and environmental behaviors would influence that.

If you reside in Arizona, you will notice that the paint surface dries quickly there. On the other hand, in Seattle, the drying time is a bit slower than in Arizona. Basically, the presence of moisture in the air changes the drying period. 

However, based on the thickness, the drying time of acrylic paint would be 10 minutes to a few hours, or sometimes it takes 24 hours or more. 

K Grace-Lily recommends a significant point that you should remember, “On the surface, you may find that the acrylic paint is drying fast, but you’ll not get the same result on the underneath.”

So, you may find the paint looks dry, or even you feel it dry to the touch, but underneath, it still needs time to dry thoroughly.

Drying paint has two different conditions: dry and cured. Cured means the paint is 100% dried, or it has reached its ultimate hardness. 

Impasto painting is an example of the thickest paint that may take 6 months to 1-year to dry thoroughly. 

Susan L Stewart, Fine artist (SusanLStewarArt.com)

Another researcher, Susan L Stewart, a fine artist (SusanLStewarArt.com), exposed her thoughts in the following way. 

“It seems to be a difficult question because many things rely on “what if”….

Suppose I live in Denver, Colorado, a dry and desert area, or you reside in Louisiana, and it is April, you will find my palette in Denver is drying quicker than yours in Louisiana. “

Acrylic comes with enough water in it, but due to the presence of polymer in its preparation, it dries faster. (Acrylic shrinks 30% as it dries). 

Chetana, art enthusiast

Chetana reports that the drying time of Acrylic painting depends on two different factors:

1. The texture of the paints (Thicker the painting, longer it needs to dry).

2. Weather conditions (painting in the beach area takes longer to dry. Also, dry winter allows fast drying). 

A painting needs 4-5 hours to dry in average weather conditions (24°). 


Top Brands of acrylic paints and average drying times: A comparison chart

The drying time of acrylic paints varies based on brand. Following are some of the top brands of acrylic paints and their average drying times. 

BrandTypeDrying time
HK Holbein High quality and professional gradeDrying time: 20 to 30 minutes 
Crafts 4 All Quick-drying Drying time: 10 to 20 minutes 
Castle Art SuppliesQuick-drying Drying time: (thick paint): 1 to 72 hours
Drying time: (thin paint):  10 to 20 minutes 
Grumbacher  Artist’s qualityDrying time: 3 to 5 days
Blick StudioIndustrial gradeDrying time (thick paint): 1 to 2 hours
Drying time (thin paint): 20 to 30 minutes 
ArtezaArtist-friendly fast drying 15 to 60 minutes 
MaimeriQuick-drying Drying time (thick paint): 1 hour to a few days
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes
AmsterdamQuick-dryingDrying time (thick paint): 1 hour to a few days
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes
SENNELIERQuick-dryingDrying time (thick paint): 1 hour to a few days
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes

Matisse Acrylic
Quick-dryingDrying time (thick paint): 1 hour to a few days
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes
M. Graham & Co.Quick-dryingDrying time: 30 minutes (average) 

Artists’ AcrylicsDrying time:20 minutes (average) 
Tri-ArtFast-dryingDrying time (thick paint): A few hours
Drying time (thin paint): 5 minutes
Winsor & NewtonProfessional Acrylic Drying time (thick paint): 1 to 2 hours
Drying time (thin paint): 20 to 30 minutes
UtrechtFast-dryingDrying time (thick paint): 1 to 72 hours
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes
LiquitexFast-dryingDrying time (thick paint): 1 hour to a few days
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes
Golden Artist ColorsOpen Acrylic Modern TheoryLocked down: 14+ days
Dry to touch: 24+ hours
GoldenHeavy Body AcrylicLocked down: 3+ days
Dry to touch: 30 minutes 
Daler-RowneyHeavy bodied acrylic Drying time: 5 to 10 minutes
Winsor & NewtonGaleria Acrylic PaintDrying time (thick paint): 1+ hours
Drying time (thin paint): 10 to 20 minutes

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Take To Dry- What Is My Opinion?

To me, the drying time of Acrylic Paint will depend on the two most crucial variables: a)Paint type and b) Brand. 

a) Paint type – 

You may need to wait for hours in the case of slow-drying acrylics on a canvas. However, it’s natural that thin acrylic layers (dry in a few days) will dry faster than thick layers (it takes weeks to dry).  

Generally, the average drying time of professional, artist quality and thin layers of acrylic paint is 20 to 30 minutes. 

But you will agree with me that, when it comes to the thicker layer, you may need to wait for 1 to 2 hours (environment changes can make the result different). 

On the other hand, if you have a cool and well-aired room, then you may need to wait 6 to 12 hours to dry the acrylic paint. 

b) The brand- 

Most brands of acrylics dry fast, including Liquitex, Maimeri, Amsterdam, Utrecht etc. You may find some brands that even dry within 10 to 20 minutes, for example, Liquitex. 

But if you apply the Liquitex Acrylics in thick coats, you may need to wait hours or even days to get the ultimate results. 

Some companies or brands may apply special formulas with retarders to slow down the dry time. For example, Golden’s Open Acrylics (slow-drying paint) stay wet over 24 hours. 

Besides, there is a chance to slow down or speed up the drying time. For instance, the Atelier interactive  Acrylic paint comes with a unique formula that extends the drying time up to 20 minutes. 

However, below we will try to reveal some key variables that can speed up the drying process of Acrylic painting. Read more.

How do some key variables speed up the drying process of Acrylic painting?

Key featuresDetailed discussion
Higher TemperatureThe higher temperature helps to evaporate the water from acrylic and enables the paint to dry quicker.
HumidityLow humidity will make acrylic paint dry fast, while high humidity will take it longer to dry.Higher the humidity, the longer the drying time, and, on the other hand, lower the moisture faster.
Excessive HeatExcessive heat will faster the drying time of acrylic paint because hot air holds more moisture than cold air.
AirflowAcrylic paint will dry faster than it usually does if you paint outdoors. When air circulates around the surface you are painting, it takes moisture away, and acrylic paint dries.
Surface AbsorbencyAn absorbent surface will make acrylic paint dry faster. Priming can make the surface highly absorbent.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on plastic?

Usually, we know acrylic paint is a fast-drying pigment. But When it comes to “drying time of acrylic paint over plastic,”  then you may need to wait 15 to 20 minutes. 

However, the drying time may change depending on how thick you apply the paint to the plastic. 

So, what layer of acrylic is best on the plastic to dry fast? 

The straightforward answer is: You can try slow layers on the plastic to make sure acrylic paint dries fast. 

 How do you make acrylic paint dry faster on plastic?

You might wonder -How do you make acrylic paint dry faster on plastic? Well, following some tips or techniques can make the drying time of acrylic paint on plastic quicker. Let’s discuss them one by one. 

1. Use the thin layer of acrylic paint on plastic:

The golden rule of painting is that the thinner layer your paint is, the quicker it dries. 

Thankfully, the thin layer of acrylic paint shows results fast on the plastic surface. 

You can control the thickness of acrylic by adding thinner or solvent. 

2. Ventilation system:

Before applying acrylic paint on plastic, ensure the room has a proper ventilation system. Besides, you can set up a fan on your room window to keep an appropriate airflow balance. 

Keep the fan running to reduce the drying period (though you complete the painting session on plastic). 

3. Run a heater:

To make acrylic paint dry faster on plastic, you can set a heater or heat lamp. But remember, if you set the lamp very close to the paint, it could crack or bubble. 

4. Hair dryer: 

You can try a hair dryer (on low heat) to speed up the drying time on the plastic surface. But don’t set the hair dryer on high heat on the painting project, especially on the plastic surface.  

5. Warm room; low humidity: 

With low humidity (in a warm room), the drying time of acrylic paint can be improved on any surface (especially on a plastic surface).

6. Additional facts that can facilitate the drying process:

  • Before applying acrylic paint to plastic, make sure you choose the best acrylics from a renowned brand. Also, ensure the paint you choose has fast drying properties. 
  • Do your research before purchasing acrylic paint from local hardware or online stores. 

Does acrylic paint dry faster in heat or cold?

Yes, acrylic paint dries much faster in heat. But On the other hand, the answer is “no”, in cold temperatures and remains wet for a long time. 

Due to excessive heat, the moisture of the paint evaporates and dries fast. Also, as it is made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion, you’ll find it fast drying in the heat. 

But the scenario is different for cold weather- the acrylic takes time to dry due to excessive moisture. 

Can You leave acrylic paintings in the sun to dry faster? 

Technically, yes, but it isn’t a good idea. Drying acrylic paintings in the sun can cause cracking in the paint. Chances are the scorching sun will heat the paintings to a higher temperature that will dry the paint underneath and form cracks. -Professional Art consultant K Grace-deLily

How do I make sure acrylic paint stays on plastic? 

If you ask me how I ensure acrylic paint stays on plastic, then my answer is to prepare the surface first. For example, start with the following steps:

  • Cleaning
  • Sanding and 
  • Priming

Cleaning the plastic surface with lukewarm water and mild dish soap can protect the paint from peeling or contamination. Besides, using a degreaser or cleaner [Items with VOCs (low volatile organic compounds)] could be best for removing super dirt from the plastic surface. 

When it comes to making sure acrylic paint stays on plastic, then sanding is one of the best solutions. Abrasion can remove the film or oxides from the surface and increase the possibility of sticking as well. 

But before painting, ensure you use quality-grain sandpaper to eliminate any loose particles from the surface. You can spray or brush primer to the plastic to lock the paint. 

However, after painting, if you want to add longevity to your paint or add a waterproofing layer, I would suggest you use a clear acrylic sealer. 

Having the best acrylic sealer could be a great solution to keep the paint stuck to the plastic. 

Also, it offers more protection while using acrylic paint on plastic surfaces. The way you use spray paint or primer, the same way you can use this sealer. 

What is the most Popular Acrylic Sealer that helps acrylic paint stay on plastic? 

The most Popular Acrylic Sealer is ALEENE’S Acrylic Sealer. It not just helps acrylic to stay on plastic but also gives the paint a protective coat. 

Choosing this sealer wouldn’t be wrong if you want a smooth and even finish on the plastic surface. 

[Before using a sealer, ensure that the plastic surface is dry enough.]

Can you store acrylic paint in plastic?

Want to store acrylic paint? If so, you need to arrange an airtight container, such as mason jars, plastic carry containers, and jewelry bead boxes. But remember, you don’t try to store acrylic paint in damp areas (because it is water-based paint). 

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on canvas?

The typical dry time of fast-drying acrylic paint on canvas is around 10-20 minutes. But when it comes to slow-drying acrylic paint, it needs hours to dry on canvas (based on the conditions). 

[High pigment and an artist-grade acrylic can take as long as 3 hours to dry on canvas.]

Also, you may need to wait even longer to dry if you use acrylic paint on unprimed canvas. However, the overall drying time on canvas may vary depending on the working environment. 

How do you make acrylic paint dry faster on canvas?

One of the most popular types of paint for painting on canvas is acrylic paint, and this is for good reasons. The common reason is it is fast drying. 

But to make the acrylic paint dry faster on canvas, you need to follow the same ways we discussed above for the plastic surface. 

Best ways to dry acrylic paint dry faster on canvas:

  • Open the window or turn on the fan 
  • lower the humidity
  • Set a heater 
  • Use a thinner layer of paint 
  • Buy heat gun or heat lamp 

How do I make sure acrylic paint stays on canvas?

First of all, you need to confirm that you choose a quality canvas for acrylic painting. For example, to make sure acrylic paint stays on canvas permanently, it is wise to select a cotton canvas. 

But if you want to use a ready-made canvas, I suggest you prime it properly with double or triple layers (you can prime with gesso or prime mixture). 

This way, your paint will stay on the canvas properly. One important thing, don’t forget to check its power of absorbance before buying; either it’s better for acrylic (water-based) or oil painting.

Also, don’t use too much water with acrylic paint because it weakens the binder and stops paint from staying on the canvas accordingly. 

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on paper? 

If the paint film is thin, then you need to wait 10 to 20 minutes, while the thick layer of Acrylics needs an hour up to several hours to dry on paper. Acrylic paint dries faster on paper than on a canvas. 

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on fabric?

The drying time of acrylic paints will differ from fabric to fabric. For example, Liquitex Acrylic Paints (dry to the touch) will dry within 5 to 2 hours (based on fabric type and the paint layer). 

On the other hand, You will find many acrylic paints that dry on fabric within 3-4 days. But if the paint is dry to the touch, then you don’t need to wait over 24 hours. 

More details about Fabric paint and its dry time.

Before painting, ensure you wash and dry the fabric. 

How long for acrylic paint to dry on wood?

Acrylic paint dries on wood relatively faster than any other type of paint. But, it isn’t always as fast as you would probably want. On a wood surface, acrylics take on average 20-30 minutes to dry to the touch. 

The paint doesn’t cure thoroughly for anywhere from 6-12 hours. But the dry time relies on the paint layers and weather conditions. 

If the weather is humid, the dry time will extend on the wood surface. (In damp weather, the paint will remain moist for longer)

How can you make acrylic paint dry faster on wood?

If you want to make acrylic paint dry faster on wood, you should choose a warm room or area with low humidity. Besides, you can set a fan close to the painting to draw the moisture from the surface. 

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on glass?

On average, acrylic paint takes an hour to dry on the glass. Sometimes the drying process will take a week, mainly when you use enamel paints. 

But if you use primer, then you need to allow the painting to dry 24 to 72 hours on the glass. 

Tip: You can leave the painted glass in a sunny or warm area because this way, the paint will dry quickly and thoroughly. 

How do I make sure acrylic paint stays on glass?

  • Firstly, to ensure acrylic paint stays on glass, you must confirm that the glass surface is free from any impurities (for example, oil and dirt). 
  • Secondly, you can try a sealer (all-purpose) to help the paint stay on the glass better. 
  • Thirdly, applying varnish could be best if you want to give the painting on the glass prolonged life. 

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on clay and polymer clay?

Clay is an excellent medium for acrylic painting. Usually, the average dry time of acrylic paint on clay is 10 to 20 minutes. Remember, the humid environment can change the drying time of any project. 

On the other hand, most polymer clay is a non-toxic surface that needs 260°F to 280°F temperature to dry. The acrylic paint may need nearly 30 minutes to dry on a polymer clay surface.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on rocks?

Once you paint the rock surface with acrylic paint, then you need to allow the surface to dry for at least several hours or one day. 

The dry time on rocks will change based on the number of paint layers and paint types. 

If you want to increase the drying time on rocks, I suggest using high-quality and fast-drying acrylic paint or the best acrylic paint pen

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on ceramic?

Probably, the average dry time of maximum acrylic paint formulas on ceramic surfaces is around 24 hours. But when it comes to using acrylics on glazed ceramic (such tiles surfaces), it will take longer to dry fully. 

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry On Terracotta!

Usually, the acrylic paint dries on the Terracotta within 24 hours. But some formulas of acrylics will dry for around 30 minutes. 

But if the layer of acrylic is thick enough on the Terracotta, then it may take even longer to dry thoroughly. Choosing the best acrylic paint formulas can increase the drying time on Terracotta.


You will find different types of acrylics such as thin, thick, dry to touch, slow drying, professional-grade, heavy-duty, soft body, etc. Under many additional facts and conditions, these types of acrylic paints will show you different drying times. 

It is indeed a fast-drying paint; you may find many brands that use formulas to change the dry time. 

But to me, what acrylic you will choose, what your environmental condition, medium, and application will be-All will determine the drying time more specifically and individually.

So what do you think now? How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry? Please share your experience with your family and us.