How to Make Acrylic Paint Dry Faster

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Jars of acrylic paints.
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Wet paint doesn't have to be a nightmare when a last minute project just won't dry; you can speed up the drying time of most paints with just a few tricks. Oil paints, acrylic paints, watercolors and fabric paints are well-known for their drying properties; in fact, some artists choose their favorite paint medium based on the amount of time it takes to dry. While the underside of paint typically takes longer to dry than the surface area -- even using drying tricks – you can create a piece that is ready for additional paint or for transport by implementing a few techniques.


Tips for Drying Oil Paint

Oil paint is by its very nature a slow-drying medium, but it dries much faster when mixed with a drying medium such as alkyds, lead dryers, cobalt dryers and turpentine. Always follow the package directions when using drying mediums, because the mixture ratios may change depending on the type or brand. Some of these mediums thin out the oil paint. Thin oil paint dries at a much faster rate than thicker paint. Another way to speed up the drying time of an oil painting is to use fast-drying acrylic paint to create the underpainting. Apply acrylics for the base, and then add a layer of oil paint over the dried painting. This generates an oil-painted look, but quickens the time from brush to finished product.


Tips for Drying Acrylic Paint

Fast-drying acrylic paint dries quicker than standard acrylic paint does, which also dries rather speedily, but you have ways to reduce the drying time even more. Improve the natural drying time of acrylic paint by placing acrylic pieces in a warm room with low humidity to dry or by placing them near a fan. The air circulation near the painting draws the moisture from the painting's surface. Acrylic paintings also dry faster when set beneath a heat lamp, but don't set the lamp too close to the paint or it could bubble or crack. A hair dryer set on low heat can also speed up drying times; avoid getting the paint too hot to prevent cracking.


Tips for Drying Water Color

Watercolor paint soaks into the paper on which it's painted. To dry watercolor paint faster, apply heat from a hair dryer to both the front and back of the painting. Hold the hair dryer at least 10 inches above the paint surface to prevent the paint from blowing around. If you painted with a wash or glaze, apply heat to the paper between each step to lessen the overall drying time of the finished piece. To speed up the paint's natural drying process, allow the paint to dry in a warm room with plenty of light.


Tips for Drying Fabric Paint

Not all fabric paints are made with the same base, but generally applying heat from a hair dryer reduces the amount of time needed for a project to dry. The amount of fabric paint applied to the material also affects drying time. If possible, use thin layers of paint for quick projects. Once the paint is dry to the touch, apply a warm iron to a clean, white cloth covering the item to set the paint into the fabric.