How Long Does Chalk Paint Take To Dry?

Several DIY enthusiasts choose to use chalk paint for their projects due to its distressed finish. However, before you can sand or distress chalk paint, it has to dry thoroughly. Are you thinking of starting with a chalk paint project, and how long does chalk paint take to dry?

Chalk paint will dry between 10 minutes and an hour. On average, chalk paint will take 15 minutes to dry to the touch, and you can apply the second coat in an hour. Before you can seal chalk paint with coatings, you must let it dry for 4 hours. Coated chalk paint can take three days to dry.

Chalk paint has gained loads of popularity, and rightfully so! It spices up an old piece of furniture or an old door like nothing else! Continue reading as we cover how long you can expect chalk paint to dry thoroughly and what you can do to make the drying process go faster!

Factors That Influence Chalk Paint’s Drying Time

Although chalk paint will dry to the touch reasonably quickly, this does not mean that the paint will be ready for another coat. Before you apply another coat, the existing coat has to be thoroughly dried and hard so that the second coat will take well enough.

The time it will take to dry between coats means how long you should wait before applying your second coat of chalk paint. However, chalk paint could become misleading when it comes to its drying time.

After applying your first coat of chalk paint, you will notice that it becomes dry enough to touch and handle within just a few minutes! This, however, does not mean your chalk paint coat is dry enough to get a second coat.

Before you can apply your second layer of chalk paint, the existing coat should be hard and dry, which can take up to 30 minutes to an hour.

You should keep in mind that the time to dry between coats is very different from the time it will take before you can seal the surface containing chalk paint.

While you are able to apply your second layer of chalk paint between 30 minutes and an hour, it might be better to wait for at least 4 hours before you can seal it with a topcoat.

This is because topcoats, such as wax, will seal the chalk finish, making it very difficult for moisture to evaporate or penetrate the chalk paint coating.

So, this means that if you are too impatient, the chalk paint will not be given sufficient time to cure before it is sealed, and moisture will get trapped in the chalk paint, which can ruin the finish entirely.

How Can You Make Chalk Paint Dry Faster?

If you are an impatient person, there are a few methods you can make your chalk paint dry faster. Take a look at these three methods below to know how you can speed up the drying process of chalk paint:

Method 1: Use A Paint Thinner

Chalk paint is, by design, quite thick. If you have ever painted something before, then you will know that thick coats will take much longer to dry than thinner ones.

If you apply the chalk paint directly on the surface, it will take longer to dry. If you mix the chalk paint to become thinner, the paint will dry much quicker.

So, how do you thin chalk paint?

1. Pour your chalk paint into a bucket

The first step you have to take is to pour out the amount of chalk paint you need from its container. Make sure to use a clean bucket, and make sure there is no leftover paint or water in your desired bucket.

2. Add water to the chalk paint

Next, you need to pour some water into the chalk paint. Since chalk paint is water-based, you can thin it using water. Thinning chalk paint means making it lighter. You should add roughly 1/4 cup of water to 1 cup of chalk paint.

3. Stir your mixture thoroughly

Use a turning stick or a paint mixer to stir your chalk paint and water together. Make sure you stir the paint until you get an even consistency, color, and paint flow. When the paint has an even consistency and appearance, you can apply it.

Method 2: Use A Hairdryer Or A Heater

If you want your chalk paint to dry faster, you have to increase the evaporation rate in the paint coating. The faster moisture can leave the paint, the faster it will become dry.

The best way you can increase the evaporation is to increase the heat around the paint coating.

You can achieve this by using a hairdryer or a heater, depending on the side of the surface you need to cover.

Method 3: Increase The Air Circulation In The Area

Since chalk paint will dry through evaporation, you should increase the air circulation in the area. By increasing the circulation of air, the paint coating will dry faster. To increase the air circulation, you can do the following:

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

Some additional tips to help chalk paint dry quicker:

  1. Apply your chalk paint in open spaces or outdoors if the weather is suitable
  2. Do not overlap the paint more than two times
  3. Apply very thin coats, as thin coats will dry much faster than thicker ones
  4. Apply your chalk paint early in the day so it has enough time to dry
  5. Always let the existing coats dry before adding another coat. If you apply another coat too soon, the chalk paint will remain sticky for many hours.

It would be best if you always kept in mind that chalk paint’s drying time is very different from the time it takes to cure. When the chalk paint is dry, you can add another coat, but the paint has to cure before using the item.


Chalk paint is extremely fun to work with, and millions of DIY enthusiasts prefer it over other paint types. When you are in doubt, always wait longer to ensure the paint has dried and cured before using the painted item.

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