How Long Does It Take Spray Paint To Dry? Is The Can Accurate?

You’ve heard the saying, “like watching paint dry,” but have you ever considered just how long it takes paint to dry? Different types of paint dry differently, but most of the time, you are going to have to wait between coats. 

how long does spray paint take to dry

Then you’ll have to wait even longer after you finish the last coat. Because it needs to be 100% dry before you use the item or wall. So how long does it take paint to dry? In particular, spray paint. Let’s take a look. 

How Long Does It Take Spray Paint To Dry?

There are two types of “dry” when it comes to spray paint. There is dry enough for another coat and then there is dry enough to use. You can check the can of spray paint but most of the time the first “dry” is around 15 minutes. 

Then you can apply another coat. But when it comes to being dry enough to use, you will usually have to wait somewhere between 8 and 24 hours. This depends on a few different things, but primarily on the thickness of the paint. 

How Long Does It Take Other Paints To Dry?

How Long Does It Take Other Paints To Dry?View in gallery

Other paints vary when it comes to drying time. Spray paint dries faster than just about any other type of paint. So count on waiting longer for other paints than you do for spray paint. But just how long? 

That first coat of oil-based paint usually dries a good amount in 30 minutes but doesn’t dry to the touch for about eight hours, or a little less. You shouldn’t add another coat for about a day, however. 

Latex paint, or water-based paint, dries to the touch in less than an hour. Sometimes, it only takes a few minutes to dry. But for best results, you should wait about four hours or a little more to add another coat.

Factors In How Long It Takes Paint To Dry

Factors In How Long It Takes Paint To DryView in gallery

It isn’t just latex vs oil-based paint that you need to take into consideration when deciding how long your paint will dry. Spray paint dries fast no matter what but there are a few things that will affect this time. 


Temperature greatly affects how long it takes spray paint to dry. Hot temperatures are the worst. Paint that is applied when it is hot will take much longer to dry than paint that is applied in cooler temperatures. 

That said, if it is too cold, there is a slight chance that the paint can freeze. But this depends on the exact temperature. If it is above 32-degrees Fahrenheit or 0-degrees Celsius, then the paint should not freeze. 


The material also matters here. Because some materials like metal dry fairly quickly. Some plastics dry quickly too. But porous materials sometimes struggle as the paint has seeped down and needs more time to dry. 

Then there are exceptions like glass which isn’t porous but it’s difficult to get something to adhere to. This really needs to dry a long time and shouldn’t be touched. Wood can get by with a touch test but glass will smudge. 


Moisture, of course, affects drying time. The more humidity in the room or outside, the more difficult it will be for the paint to dry. It can take quite a long time for the paint to dry when there is moisture in the air.

The same goes for condensation. If it is cold and humid, then the water can drip on the surface and mix with the paint. Not only will this make it take longer to dry but it can also leave streaks in the paint. 


This is one that people don’t think about often. When you are outside, the subject probably won’t come up. But when you are inside, it definitely will. Make sure that air is circulating or else the paint will become stagnant. 

When this happens, the paint will suffocate and will take forever to dry. Not to mention that no circulation makes for an even more humid room. So keep a fan going and open a window. It’s better for your health anyway. 

Inspiration For Your Spray Paint Project

Inspiration For Your Spray Paint ProjectView in gallery

If you have done things backward and have spray paint that you want to use but don’t know where to start, that’s okay. There are still ways to work with that. We have some examples of projects that look amazing with spray paint.

Although there are thousands of ways to use spray paint, you’ve probably thought about a lot of them and are still not inspired. Hopefully, some of these ideas will inspire you to create your next project. Check them out!

Dipped Rope Basket

Dipped Rope BasketView in gallery

This rope basket looks like it was purchased from an amazing home decor store. But it is actually just some rope that was wound together and spray-painted to look this good. If you can do this, you can start an Etsy store.

And anyone can do it! You can customize it by taping any part of the basket you don’t want to be painted after you wind it up and glue it. Then let it dry and remove the tape. Find your own way to amp it up even further. 

Concrete Coasters

Concrete CoastersView in gallery

It seems like concrete is always trending. But that’s a good thing because it is so customizable that you can turn concrete into absolutely anything and it can look good. And no, it doesn’t have to look industrial.

These coasters were painted the same way that the basket was. The tape was added in places where the paint wasn’t wanted and then it was spray painted. You can leave the background grey or paint it first.

Flamingo Doormat

Flamingo DoormatView in gallery

Again, you can add any stencil that you want. Buy some online or create your own custom stencils. Then, place the stencils on the doormat and paint away. Spray paint is so easy to use if you have stencils.

In fact, it was designed to be used this way. It is fast, leaves even coats, and works wonders on flat surfaces or those with grooves. If you like flamingos, then go ahead and steal this idea because it is adorable. 

Hand-Painted Vase

Hand-Painted VaseView in gallery

This vase is so unique that it’s hard to believe that it’s just a ceramic pitcher that is painted. You can do this any way you like and with any dish that you like. But for this example, we use a spray paint base.

The base is white spray paint and the stripes are hand-painted with latex paint. The lines were purposely painted to give the vase a hand-painted clay look that will match any decor style you can imagine. 

Gorgeous Plywood Art

Gorgeous Plywood ArtView in gallery

Now, this is one beautiful piece of art that deserves to be in an art studio somewhere. Again, you can do this in as many layers with as many details as you like. But let’s talk about what was done here.

First off, the plywood was cut. Then, the plywood was stained. After the stain dried, the tape was added to the plywood to create a stenciled design. Then it was spray painted and the result is unbelievable. 

Painted Glasses

Painted GlassesView in gallery

As in, glasses you drink out of not the kind you wear! For this project, we used an old candle holder and burned the candle wax out, to begin with. But you can use any glass and skip the first step here.

Then you can add tape, spray paint, and then finish off with some gravel or stones of your choice. Thicker round stones followed by loose small-grain pieces look amazing and are what we see here in this project. 

Anything Else To Know About Spray Paint?

Now that you know what it takes for spray paint to dry, you may be wondering about a few more things. Let’s go over a few points that we should mention, and that you are probably wondering about before we wrap this up. 

  • Is Spray Paint Safe? – There are two answers to this. First of all, yes, spray paint is safe if used correctly. But yes, it is also toxic. So always wear a mask when using spray paint to prevent any health problems. 
  • Can I Use Spray Paint Indoors? – No. You should never use spray paint indoors. Always take the item outside and paint it. If you are painting something that cannot be taken outside, use a different kind of paint. 
  • How Long Do I Shake Spray Paint? – Most of the time, you will have to shake the spray paint for a couple of minutes. The way it works is that there is a little metal ball inside that mixes the paint for you.
  • How Many Coats Do I Need? – This depends on your project. Most of the time, you can get by with about two coats. But make sure that you use thin coats, even if it requires more coats. This will have a more even result. 

These are the most important aspects of using spray paint. You want two things when spray painting. You want to stay safe and you want to ensure that you get the best result possible. After that is taken care of, you’re home-free!