Understanding Drying Time of Slow Drying Materials


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This information was provided by Pierre Finkelstein, www.pfinkelstein.com.

Definitions of terms:

Working Time = Amount of time to continuously add more material because the product is still "wet" and "workable".

Setting Time = Can add more material but will make a difference, may lift.

Drying Time = Unmovable except with some force.

Lock Down Time = Fully dry and hard.



  • Below are general times to illustrate the relevancy of the different paint media. Local ambient conditions including surface absorbency or porosity, amount of airflow, temperature and humidity levels will influence the stated times.
  • Utilize the system to your advantage and need. Understanding the different material mixes and how they behave will give you greater control and flexibility.
  • Adding Matte Medium to water based paint or glaze mixtures will speed up the cure time and increase the strength of the paint or glaze film.
  • Questions to ask yourself when deciding on the open time paint package given the ambient conditions:
    • Can I do the technique without the extra time?
    • Will what I lose up front with open time provide gains later with the ability to quickly apply a second layer?

Table of Fast Drying and Slow Drying Materials

Fast Drying Materials
Glaze TypeWorking TimeSetting TimeDry TimeLock Down Time
Reversible Media (Beer+Pigment,Guoache)2-5 min5 min5 min10-15 min For use in high humidity environments.
Fast Acrylic (Matte Medium, Acrylic colors)5 min5-10 min10-15 min30-60 min
Acrylic Glazing Liquid (AGL+Acrylic colors)5-10 min10-15 min1-2 hrs3-5 hrs
Proceed Glaze (Slow Drying Acrylic colors, Alkyd Glaze)15-20 min30-60 min5-12 hrs12-48 hrs For use in low humidity environments.
Oil30-60 min1-2 hrs2-6 hrs12-48 hrs
Slow Drying Materials
Examples of how Pierre Finkelstein utilizes the information above:
(30% Matte Medium + 30% AGL + 40% Low Viscosity) + 20% H2O10-15 min15-20 min.1-2 hoursPierre’s mix for classroom environments.
(10% Matte Medium + 40% AGL + 50% Low Viscosity) + 20% H2O10-15 min.20-30 min.2-4 hoursPierre’s mix for a job site.

Circulating Air

To speed up the drying of Slow Drying Materials, use a fan to circulate air.

Drying Time Testing

This image illustrates a test GOLDEN conducted using several mixtures of slow-drying and fast-drying materials over a non-absorbent canvas. Increasing the air flow alone dried the glaze mixtures and increased lock down to occur faster than allowing the mixtures to dry by themselves.

See: Speeding up the Drying of Long Open Time Products

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