Enamel spray paints are fun to work with. Once they cure, they’re tough and they look great. Speaking of which, if you got here Googling ‘how long for enamel spray paint to cure’ then I’ve got an answer for you. Enamels will typically dry within 24 hours, with some drying in as little as half an hour while others might take 8-10. Curing is different, however, and they won’t cure fully in most cases until about 30 days have passed.
In today’s article I’ll tell you about hardening enamel paint, the fastest ways to cure it, and finally what to do if it isn’t drying.
Let’s explore enamel spray paints and proper curing techniques!
How do you harden enamel paint?
Enamel paint is hardened in a process known as ‘curing’. What happens is that your enamel paint, once it is exposed to oxygen, starts a chemical process. During this process, a binder agent in the enamel begins to make the overall enamel harder over what is generally a 30-day period.
Different types of enamels are going to harden at different paces, however. Latex enamel is a good example, in that it actually cures from the outside to the inside over time, and this can make you think that the curing process is already done because the surface will look and feel cured.
Oil-based enamel is a little difference, drying fairly quickly – often in 8 to 24 hours! When in doubt, the best thing to do is to simply check your label and to follow the instructions religiously. Allow for the cure time which they have recommended and don’t consider if to be fully cured even a day before this.
What is the fastest way to cure enamel paint?
There is often not a lot that you can do to really speed up the process. There are a few things that can help, such as heat, but heat won’t change much substantially unless you are painting something like glass.
Proper circulation of warm air can certainly speed things up, just make sure that it’s not very humid or this can actually slow down your curing process considerably. A fan in a closed room, ideally with a humidifier, might be your best bet for shaving off as much as a few days but personally I prefer to just grit my teeth and wait it out.
The cured coat is super-durable and it’s well worth the wait to simply do it right the first time. If you try a ‘drying hack’, you might get great results, just keep in mind that if it DOESN’T work then you might find that you have to add another coat or two and that 30-day timer is starting back over at 0.
Why is enamel paint not drying?
There are a number of reasons why enamel paint is drying slowly or seemingly not at all. Most commonly, it’s just a matter of cold temperatures or even warm ones with a lot of humidity interfering with the curing process.
You can also have a lot of problems with the enamel curing properly if you don’t clean the surface thoroughly before applying your enamel. Finally, if the enamel paint is really old, try to remember if you mixed it thoroughly before use. If not, then that could be why the curing process has been slowed to a crawl.
Older enamel tins need a bit of stirring up in order to get to their full and proper potency and without this, it might very well take a long time to cure. Don’t panic, however, if it’s been a day or two and the enamel hasn’t dried. Some enamels can take as much as 3 days to even dry, and because there are so many brands out there, the labelling on your enamel should be able to give you a realistic drying expectation.
When it comes to temperature and humidity, however, I’d really recommend our guide on the subject which you may find https://paintingbuzz.com/how-long-does-it-take-spray-paint-to-dry-complete-guide/) here (. It can give you some figures to factor in with what’s on the label so that you’ll know exactly what is going on and what to expect!
Today we’ve talked about how long it takes for enamel paint to cure, as well as the hardening process, using proper ventilation and heat to speed it up, and how cold temperatures or warm, humid days can really slow down the curing process.
Use this information to give yourself a realistic projection on curing time and wait out every long, grueling minute that is listed on the labelling…. Your enamel is going to cure, it’s just going to take time!
By the way, I thought I’d leave today with a tidbit that might interest you if you like painting models (I’ve been known to dabble myself from time to time). You can find a great 3rd party article comparing acrylics to enamels where models are concerned here. Enjoy!