How Long Does it Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry? Can You Speed It Up?

Acrylic paints are one of the favorite paints for artists and art-loving people as theft is easy to deal with and doesn’t make a huge mess. Acrylic paint dries considerably faster than other types of paint. This is due to its composition and characteristics.

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paint To Dry?

The drying of acrylic paint depends upon the type of acrylic paint you use and how porous the surface is. For example, if you are using thin films of professional acrylic paint, it will take about 20 to 30 mins to dry, whereas thick films can take 1 hour to dry.

Acrylic paint may dry when exposed to air, and it can dry even quicker depending on conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind exposure, and more.

If you need to mix colors, this might make a painting with acrylic paint challenging. So, if you’re wondering how long acrylic paint takes to dry, here’s what you should know.

Brief Background On Acrylic Paint

Otto Röhm, one of the founders of the German chemical firm Röhm and Haas, is credited with developing the first acrylic paint. Acrylic resin, a thermoplastic material developed by Röhm, was later utilized in numerous paintings.

This is due to its stain-resistant, water-resistant, adhesive, weatherproof, and anti-cracking characteristics.

After that, the acrylic resin had converted into acrylic paint. It developed from 1934 to the late 1940s. Acrylic paint was available in the market by the 1950s.

Before this, painters had to mix their own paint to achieve the right hue and thickness. Because of the fast-drying nature of paint, this proved challenging.

It was simpler to modify the hardness, flexibility, texture, and other properties of acrylic paint by adding water. Acrylic paint is water-soluble when wet, yet it dries water-resistant.

How Long Do Acrylic Paints Take To Dry?

Depending on how porous the surface is, a thicker coating may take up to 30 minutes to an hour.

Acrylic paint dries quickly in most cases. It will dry considerably quicker than watercolor or gouache on canvas in a perfect atmosphere. A thin coat of acrylic paint applied to the surface can be dry in one to two minutes.

However, simply because it is dry to the touch does not imply that it is entirely dry. Depending on how much water is required, how porous the surface is, and the climate during painting (acrylic paint dries faster in hot conditions with low humidity), it may still contain moisture.

As a result, it’s advisable to let the paint dry for at least overnight in a dry and bright area before varnishing or framing your painting. It’s also a good idea to prepare your canvas with gesso to keep it from collecting too much moisture.

Retarders & Other Anti-Drying Effects

Acrylic paint’s quick drying time might be an issue for individuals who utilize traditional art palettes. As a result, artists have devised several methods for preventing acrylic paint from drying.

However, some of these may have an influence on how long acrylic paint takes to dry when applied to a surface.

Some people use a spray bottle or a mister to wet their palette in order to keep it moist. Too much water can alter the texture and, on unprimed canvas, add extra moisture as it dries.

In this instance, you may want to leave it for an extra two hours (or perhaps overnight) to ensure that all moisture has evaporated.

Acrylic gels, sometimes known as a retarder or slow-dry medium, are used by others. This is a white mousse-like material that you use on your palette to combine with acrylic paint. This has no effect on the color or consistency of your acrylic paint (unless you add water).

It will, however, slow down the drying process and allow the acrylic to remain dry for a considerably longer period. You can also purchase acrylic gel from a craft store, an art supply store, or online. You should let your painting dry for 24 hours if you have mixed it with retarders.

Professional Acrylic Paint Drying Time

In general, professional-level acrylic paint may dry in 30 minutes if applied thinly and under perfect conditions. It might take up to two hours for thicker coats of acrylic paint to dry.

Professional acrylic paints that take significantly longer to dry may be available at your local craft or art supply store. They are more costly than normal acrylic paints, indicating that they are professional-grade acrylic paint.

These take significantly longer to dry, resulting in less wastage on the palette and allowing experienced painters to leave acrylic on their palette for much longer periods.

This, however, implies that acrylic on canvas may take considerably longer to cure. If you use retarders, this can be considerably longer.

Factors That Can Affect Drying Time

Use of Acrylic Gel

Using retarders, acrylic gels, professional acrylic paints, and other items to slow down the natural drying qualities of acrylic will most certainly continue to impact the paint even after you have painted it.

It’s better to let this dry overnight or for 24 hours to ensure it’s totally dry.

Use of Water

It will take considerably longer if you use pure acrylic paint without adding water than if you combine acrylic paint with some water. This is due to the fact that pure acrylic paint has a thicker viscosity that takes longer to dry, whereas water may typically evaporate.

However, too much water on a porous surface, such as an unprimed canvas or cardboard, may take an extra two hours or more to thoroughly dry.

Thickness of Paint

The thickness of your paint coat might impact how quickly it dries. Because a thin coat of acrylic paint may dry in a minute, putting it on carefully can result in a reduced wait time.

Using heavier coats of paint, on the other hand, may take significantly longer, approximately 30 minutes.

Environmental Factors 

Fast-drying acrylic paint requires a warm, low-humidity environment with adequate ventilation so that the acrylic has exposure to air.

A chilly and damp environment with no exposure to the breeze, on the other hand, might cause the paint to dry slowly.

Final Verdict

Acrylic paints dry very quickly, which is a positive thing that it lessens the chances of your painting getting ruined. But if you want to blend different colors, you may face drying problems.

So, you should follow the tricks mentioned above to elongate the trying time of your paints and enjoy your art!

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