How Long to Wait Between Coats of Spray Paint

Spray painting is a fantastic way to quickly transform a piece of furniture or paint up a project that you’re really proud of. As it’s such a quick process, you might be wondering how long it actually takes for a coat of spray paint to dry.

You’ll find that many people have different opinions about the optimum time to wait between coats. This is likely as everyone uses a different type of paint from a specific brand, each having its own formula and, therefore, drying time.

In the event you’re experiencing appropriately optimal temperatures (between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, according to experts), then if you’re just applying a quick, light coat, it should take around five minutes to be ready for a second one.

How Long to Wait Between Coat of Spray Paint

That said, most people would recommend that around ten to fifteen minutes is a good estimate for most spray paints, allowing you to err on the side of caution and ensuring that your next few coats will be as smooth as possible.

When you’re painting something with multiple sides, a good trick is to wait until the item is dry to the touch, and then spin it over and paint the next side, continuing until everything has been evenly coated.

Waiting until your paint is totally dry to the touch is the best advice we can give you – if you’re able to place a finger or thumb on to the paint and pull it away clean, then you’re probably good to go ahead with your next coat.

General Rule Of Thumb: You’ll find that paint should feel completely dry to the touch in around thirty minutes and is safe to handle completely in approximately one or two hours. After a full day, whatever you’re painting should be completely bone dry and good to go.

Top Spray Painting Tips for a Perfect Coat, Every Time

Prepare Your Surface

No matter what you’re painting, it’s likely that you’re going to need to ensure it’s ready to absorb spray paint.

Sanding it down with paper of fine grit (above 200 is probably your best bet) will smooth out and scuff off the surface perfectly.

After this, you want to wipe it down with a clean damp cloth, removing any dust – if you’re thorough, you could clean it with a degreaser as well, ensuring that you’ve eradicated any lingering oils that could hinder the appearance of your final coats.

Before you get ready to spray, ensure that the surface or item you’re painting is completely bone dry.

Any water present will only serve to repel the paint and cause it to dry unevenly, so be patient and towel it down if you have to!

Always Shake Your Can!

“I’m just gonna shake shake shake shake shake shake shake… shake it off!” Whatever your feelings about Taylor Swift, she had one thing right – shaking is absolutely key to any success! Okay, not really. But definitely with spray paint!

Every single spray paint has clear instructions to thoroughly shake up your can for at LEAST a minute before you start painting. This is imperative, and often when projects have failed, it’s because the painter skipped this step.

Spray paints are made using propellants, an important ingredient that needs to be thoroughly combined with everything else in order for the spray to work efficiently. Otherwise, you’ll find each spray different, leaving you with a shoddy, clumpy coat.

Continuous Motion is Key

By aiming the spray at one specific spot and spraying continuously, you’ll create a “blotch” which is essentially a very obvious, 3D spot of paint that the eye is immediately drawn to. It’s important to keep moving throughout the whole process!

Continually relocate the spray can, but don’t move too quickly: slow and steady wins the race is definitely applicable to spray painting. This is known as “overspraying” which could sound counterproductive but is actually in your best interest.

Even though you might accidentally spray outside the lines and hit things you don’t intend to, this actually prevents you from spraying too much on an area of the surface or object that you’re actually painting!

Stick to Light Coats

You might think that one very thick, perfect coat of spray paint would be the best for an even finish, but that’s unfortunately incorrect. It’s actually better to stick to light coats and do more of them – prepare to give every project at LEAST two.

The reason you have to be in a very well-ventilated area to safely spray paint is that they contain solvents. Once sprayed, this allows your coat to stick fast to whatever surface it has been applied to, instantly drying as the solvent evaporates.

When you’re too liberal with the spray, you’re actually inhibiting the drying process, as there’s no opportunity for drying. Thick coats result in dripping paint, messy finishes and cracking, which doesn’t make for a good final look.

As long as you’re being reserved with your spray and sticking to a gentle, light coat, it should be dry in as little as five minutes! If you’re patient, and only use as much as you need, you can apply that next coat really soon – just wait and see!

Avoid Direct Sunlight

You don’t need to worry about this so much indoors (just be sure your windows are open!) but when painting in the yard, you’re going to want to stay out of the sun. You might be wondering why this is, being as the sun is a giant natural dryer?

Well, under the sun’s hot rays, your paint can actually dry up before it’s even reached whatever you’re trying to coat! Evaporating those all important solvents before they get to the surface leads to some serious clumping.

Therefore, although painting in good weather is the best time for it, you should avoid doing so outside around the hottest points of the day, or work under a shelter if you can help it. This is the difference between an acceptable paint job and a good one!

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