How Long Does Chalk Paint Take to Dry

Understanding paints’ drying and curing time is key for knowing how long to wait before applying a second coat and a top coat.

Chalk paint happens to have a relatively fast drying time, which is one of the reasons it’s popular among DIYers.

But precisely how long does chalk paint take to dry? Continue reading to find out and learn more about different ways to speed up your chalk paint’s drying time.


Chalk paint is relatively quick drying, taking 30 minutes to 4 hours to dry to the touch. It fully cures within 24-48 hours.

The drying and curing time of chalk paint highly depends on several factors, including brand, humidity, temperature, ventilation, and paint layer thickness.

How long does it take for chalk paint to dry?

Generally, chalk paint becomes dry to the touch within 30 minutes to an hour. However, not all chalk paint dries this fast. Some paint brands may dry longer, at about 1 to 4 hours. The specific drying time of each product is also included in the label guidelines or via the product’s website.

Besides paint brand, other factors affect how long chalk paint dries on the surface. These include:

  • Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the air affects drying time. The moisture in the air causes the water in the paint to evaporate at a slower pace. 
  • Temperature: The warmer the climate is, the quicker chalk paint dries as the water content evaporates faster.
  • Airflow: Similar to the temperature, the more air circulates in the painting area, the quicker the chalk paint will dry.
  • Paint thickness: If you slather your chalk paint on your furniture thickly, it will take much longer to dry than smooth, thin streaks. Not only does excessive chalk paint application allow the furniture to dry slowly, but you are likely to get uneven coverage and brush marks. 

How many coats of chalk paint do you need?

You may get away with one coat of chalk paint but apply two coats for the best results. To get the fullest color from your paint, it’s extremely important to apply two coats.

For the most durable paint job, apply a layer of primer before painting. 

How long to let chalk paint dry between coats?

The recommended waiting time between coats of chalk paint is at least one to two hours. And this is the common drying time of most chalk paint brands. Although, we always recommend reading the labels for the proper drying time of your chalk paint.

For the best possible results, consider waiting until the paint has cured a bit. Waiting 24 hours will ensure that you won’t create unevenness in the underlying layer and improve the second coat’s paint adhesion. 

How long to let chalk paint dry before waxing?

Wax is a popular topcoat for chalk paint as it adds some durability and dries to a matte finish, which is the same with chalk paint.

And as a rule, apply wax to your chalk-painted furniture after at least 24 hours of painting. This will ensure that the paint layer has already cured a bit (not just dry to the touch). Mixing wax with still-wet chalk paint will cause issues with both mediums and result in an uneven finish. 

One blessing in disguise of needing to wait is you can catch spots that need touching up with fresh eyes. Use a wax brush to lightly brush your wax on your chalk-painted surface. 

How to speed up chalk paint drying time?

Chalk paint is already quick drying compared to other paints. You can usually add the recommended two coats within the day. But if you don’t have that much spare time for painting, there are a few ways to speed up the process. 

If you want to speed up the chalk paint drying time between coats, these are a few solutions to dry: 

Thin the chalk paint

Chalk paint is a water-based medium with a thick consistency. By thinning your chalk paint with a bit with water, it can apply more smoothly and thinly and, thus, dry faster. If trying this method, pour however much chalk paint you need into a separate container. Add water a teaspoon at a time to avoid over-thinning the paint.

You can also apply paint additives like Floetrol to improve the flow of your paint. This can make the chalk paint easier to spread on your furniture. 

Apply chalk paint thinly

Another way is to ensure that you’re spreading thinly. The thinner the coat, the easier the water evaporates, and the paint hardens. The drawback to this step is if you apply your chalk paint too thinly, you could get streaky, uneven coverage. Finding the right balance is key. 

Improve room ventilation

Besides opening all the windows in the painting area, you can add fans to hasten the drying process. Better airflow helps the water in the paint evaporate even faster.

Use a hairdryer

For smaller surfaces and furniture, you can also use low heat from a hairdryer to quicken the drying time of chalk paint. Use the hairdryer several inches from the surface and move back and forth for even heat distribution. Moving the device too closely will cause the paint to crack. 

Leave your furniture outside

Consider painting your furniture outdoors. For one, the open air and breeze help the paint to dry faster and as long as it’s warm outside, the heat will help the paint dry faster. 




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