How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry

If you are planning decorative work, then spray paints can be a great option: they are available in a wide range and are inexpensive. Plus, you can easily take them with you. However, due to the specifics of the application, there are a number of points that are important to consider.

Before applying each subsequent layer, be sure to wait for the previous one to dry so that the coating is even – especially if you use a wide range of colors. But how long will the drying process take?

We will tell you how long the paint takes to dry on various types of surfaces – cardboard, metal, glass, plastic, rubber – and share useful tips that will speed up this process if time is running out.

4 drying stages of spray paint

First of all, it is necessary to understand that there is no clear moment dividing the coating into “before drying” and “after drying”. After applying the paint, there are 4 stages of drying:

Surface drying: As the solvent evaporates, you notice that a thin membrane forms on the surface of the paint. At this stage, the coating becomes sticky to the touch.

The touch does not leave marks: At this stage, the paint is most likely to come off the surface if you press lightly on it. If the touch does not leave marks, this does not mean at all that the paint has already dried.

Thorough drying: The paint no longer comes off, but if you hit or press hard enough, the surface can be damaged.

Final drying: If the paint is completely dry and not susceptible to mechanical stress, a second coat can be applied.

How long do spray paints take to dry on different materials?


The choice of cardboard as a coating surface is quite interesting, since it has a relatively soft structure, and the material itself is less resistant to damage than paint. However, on cardboard, spray paint dries fairly quickly. If the work takes place in a well-ventilated area, one coat dries in about 15 minutes.


In warm weather and low humidity, spray paints dry the fastest on the metal surface – in 10 minutes or even faster. It is useful to keep in mind that in general high humidity increases the drying time on any surface.


When painting glass surfaces – food storage jars, windows, and so on – streaks and smudges can appear, so try to apply the paint as thinly as possible. The interval between applying layers can be about 15 minutes, but in order for the spray paints to dry completely, you will need at least 24 hours.


When painting plastic surfaces between applying layers, it is enough to take a break of 30 minutes. For the paint to dry completely, you need to wait about 3 hours.


If you need to paint a rubber surface—like a ball for a particular sporting event—plan ahead. Since the structure of the material is quite porous, spray paints will dry for at least 24 hours.

How weather affects paint drying time

As we have already mentioned, humidity increases the drying time, and high temperature reduces it. But what about low temperatures?

First of all, you need to understand: if you are painting, and the temperature is below zero, you need to ensure good ventilation. Also, make sure that there is no frost on the surface or on the atomizer. In addition, at low temperatures, the consistency of the paint may become thicker, so try to apply the coating as quickly as possible.

Get ready for the fact that at low temperatures the paint will dry longer. If you’re short on time and the item you’re painting is easy to move around, it’s best to do it indoors as you can adjust the temperature to make the paint dry faster.

How to speed up the drying process if you are using spray paints

Here are some tips on how to speed up the drying of the paint:

  • If possible, work outdoors;
  • If you are working indoors, turn on the hood;
  • Apply paint in a thin layer;
  • Dry the surface with a hair dryer;
  • After applying each layer, use furniture varnish.

These simple tips and useful information will help make coloring more productive and faster!

Team ONH
Team ONH
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