How Long Does Chalk Paint Take to Dry? (& Cure)

Chalk paint takes around 30 minutes to dry between coats and 24 hours to cure (fully dry).

To speed up chalk paint drying time, thin the paint before applying it, use a hairdryer or heater, or increase the air circulation around the coating.

How Long Does Chalk Paint Take to Dry Between Coats?

How Long Should Chalk Paint Dry Between Coats?

Chalk paint takes around 30 minutes to dry between coats. This gives the existing coat enough time to harden enough to support the next paint coating.

The exact dry time depends on the room temperature, humidity levels, and the thickness and number of paint coats. For instance, the paint dries faster if the temperature is higher and the humidity level is low.

Chalk paint dries to touch fast, where the topcoat of the paint is dry but the undercoat is still wet, but that doesn’t mean you can re-coat it. You can re-coat chalk paint only after the solvent (water) evaporates from the coating.

If you re-coat chalk paint too soon, its finish will turn sticky, tacky, or peel off as the evaporation process of the existing paint coat will be stopped (or delayed). If the solvent hasn’t fully evaporated, the existing coat will be wet (not hard enough) and can’t support additional coatings.

Chalk paint must cure (dry fully) for 24 hours before sealing it. Sealers, such as wax or polyurethane, stop the evaporation process completely, so the solvent must fully evaporate and the coating must polymerize before sealing it.

If the solvent gets trapped between the paint and the top coat, the finish will turn sticky and can prevent the top coat from sticking.

How Long Does Chalk Paint Take to Cure?

How Long Does It Take For Chalk Paint To Cure?

Chalk paint takes around 24 hours to cure (fully dry). Paint curing time refers to the duration it takes paint to fully dry and harden where the coating reaches its maximum hardness, durability, and adhesion.

The exact chalk paint curing time depends on the room temperature, humidity levels, number, the thickness of paint coats, and the type of plaster of paint. For instance, during high temperatures and low humidity levels, chalk paint dries faster.

If you expose the paint coating to water or handling before it cures (fully dries), the coating will peel off, turn sticky, or gunk up.

How To Make Chalk Paint Dry Faster?

To make chalk paint dry faster, do the following things.

  1. Thin Chalk Paint Before Applying it.
  2. Use a Hairdryer or Heater.
  3. Increase Air Circulation Around the Coating.

1. Thin Chalk Paint Before Applying it

Use Paint Thinner

Thinner chalk paint coating will dry faster than thicker coatings. The thinner the coating is, the less paint solvent (water) is on the surface, and the faster the solvent evaporates and the paint dries.

To thin chalk paint, do the following things.

  1. Pour The It Into a Bucket. Pour the chalk paint into a larger clean bucket.
  2. Add Water. To thin chalk paint, use water. The more water you add, the thinner the paint flow gets. Add 1/4 cup of water to 1 cup to dilute it.
  3. Stir The Mixture. Next, stir the mixture. To stir, use a paint mixer or a turning stick. Stir until the paint has an even consistency, flow, and color. Once the paint has a uniform appearance, you can apply it.

2. Use a Hairdryer or Heater

Use a Hairdryer or Heater

To increase the heat and accelerate the paint solvent evaporation process, use a hairdryer or heater. The faster the paint solvent evaporates from the coating, the faster the paint dries.

To speed up the chalk paint drying time with a hairdryer or heater, do the following things.

  1. Plug in and turn on the heater or hairdryer.
  2. Use the medium temperature of the hairdryer.
  3. Move the hairdryer around the coating to increase the evaporation.
  4. Turn off the hairdryer. 

Don’t use the hairdryer for more than 5 minutes as it will cause the paint to dry too fast. If the paint dries too fast, the paint particles won’t harden or bond naturally and the finish will be weaker, resulting in a cracked finish.

3. Increase Air Circulation Around the Coating

Increase Air Circulation

The paint solvent will evaporate faster and the paint will dry faster if you increase the air circulation around the paint coating.

To increase the air circulation around the paint coating, do the following things.

  • Open all windows and doors
  • Open the air vents in the room
  • Turn on the fans in the room.

Other tips that will speed up the chalk paint drying time are listed below.

  1. Apply thin coats. Thin coats dry faster than thick coats.
  2. Apply it in open spaces or outdoors.
  3. Do not overlap the paint more than twice.
  4. Apply it early in the day.
  5. Let existing coats dry before re-coat. If you re-coat too soon, the paint will remain sticky for several hours.

Why Does Chalk Paint Dry So Fast?

Chalk paint dries fast as it’s water-based, uses water as its paint solvent, and has a simple formula. Since water evaporates from the coating faster than oil, chalk paint will dry faster than oil-based paints.

Chalk paint has a simple formula that decreases its drying time — its formula contains plasters (P.O.P / plaster of Paris) or gypsum, the paint solvent (water), and the paint binder.

The paint plasters when mixed with the paint solvent (water) will dry fast and make the paint dry fast too.

How Long Does Chalk Paint Take to Dry on Wood?

Chalk paint takes around 30 minutes to dry enough for a re-coat and around 24 hours to cure (fully dry) on wood.

Chalk paint takes longer to cure on wood as the paint penetrates the wood fibers (or pores) deeply and it isn’t exposed to good air circulation.

The chalk paint on the top layer of wood will dry faster because it’s exposed to good air circulation, so the solvent will evaporate faster. However, the paint inside the wood pores or the paint underneath will take longer to dry due to poor air circulation.

If you re-coat or seal the chalk paint before the underneath (or soaked) paint dries properly, the finish will get sticky, tacky, or peel off. That’s why it’s recommended to wait until the whole paint dries before re-coating it.

Tip: Chalk paint takes longer to dry on porous materials, such as fresh wood.

How Long To Wait Before Distressing Chalk Paint?

You must allow chalk paint to dry for 2 hours before distressing it. If you distress too soon, you will remove the entire coating since the coating isn’t hard or rigid enough to be sanded. 

However, you must distress chalk paint before it cures. That’s because once it cures, you won’t get a perfect distressed finish since the coating will be too hard to sand.

Related Read: How To Sand Chalk Paint?

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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