Understanding Drying Time of Slow Drying Materials


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This information was provided by Pierre Finkelstein, www.pfinkelstein.com. Definitions of terms:

Open 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.

Curing 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 waterbased 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 apply a second layer quickly?

Fast Drying Materials
Glaze TypeOpen TimeSetting TimeDry TimeCuring 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.

to be added maybe Idea: create a scale for temperature and humidity levels to type in and a general guideline of which paint package to use will be created.

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