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How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

a bunch of spray paint cans

Spray paint is an excellent and easy way to give your furniture a facelift. One of the best aspects of this tool is that it is so simple just about anyone can use it to get the results they are hoping for.

But even with that said, there is a little bit of a learning curve. For instance, one thing every user will want to understand is how long does spray paint take to dry?

After all, you don’t want to sit down on your freshly painted wicker chair only to realize afterwards that the paint might’ve been a little bit too fresh.

With that in mind, read on to find out how long it takes spray paint to dry.

You may also be interested in reading: how do you get rid of paint smells?

The Answer

The amount of time it takes for spray paint to dry will actually depend on a few factors. Chief among them will be the temperature. If you are painting in mild 65-85 degree conditions your painting project will be semi-dry within five minutes.

Granted, this doesn’t mean you will want to touch the paint yet after five minutes, but it does mean you will be able to add another coat.

That’s the other big factor. How much paint have you put on the working service? In general, it is recommended that you paint with light coats to avoid pooling and running.

Lighter coats will also dry faster, and just look better when the project is all said and done.

The final thing that you will need to keep in mind is that there are different stages of dryness:

The different stages of dryness:

The first stage is the surface dryness. This means that the paint is starting to dry over with a hardened film. However, if you touch it, it will still be wet.

This is the stage where the paint is just starting to set, but you will still be able to paint over it in light coats.

After that, the paint will become dry to the touch. You can feel the work surface, but if you put any sort of pressure on the paint, it will disrupt.

A short time after that the paint will transition into a hardened state in which the paint will not come off on your fingers, but may still be soft enough that you leave fingerprints on it.

Finally, you have the thorough dry. At this stage, the workpiece is completely hardened and can be moved/used safely at your discretion.

From first to final stage it may take up to twenty-four hours so be mindful of that time frame as you begin your painting project.


A little bit more of an answer than you were expecting, right? While the process of paint drying is a little bit more nuanced than most might first expect it, there are only two key things you need to remember. If you need to lay down a second coat of paint, you will need to wait only five minutes. If you are waiting for the workpiece to be completely dried, allow twenty-four hours.

Credit to Mike Mozart, for the image at the top of this post.

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