Here is Why Your Airbrush Paint is Not Drying Properly!

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There can be a lot of reasons why airbrush paint is not drying properly and finding the right reason can be quite frustrating. I personally had so many problems with airbrush paint that just wouldn´t dry properly in the past that I decided to write this article to help everyone who is strugling with this issue right now.

Your airbrush paint is not drying because you either did not prepare the surface properly or you did not dilute the paint correctly. So make sure, that you apply a primer before you apply any paint and use the right diluting agent for your type of paint. Humidity can also affect the drying time of airbrush paint.

That was the short answer. If you want more information about the different issues that can lead to the airbrush paint not drying properly then read on. I will go more into the details down below.

You Did Not Apply a Primer Before Painting the Surface

Most of the time, if you have issues with your paint not drying, it is related to the primer.

A Primer is a special coat of paint that you apply as a foundation for the paint.

You have to apply a primer for several reasons and you should differently not skip priming your surface especially if you are just starting out.

A Primer Will Create a Base on which to Paint

Most paint will not stick to the surface by itself very well.

A Primer helps to alleviate this problem.

It creates a uniform layer for the paint to stick to. This helps to prevent streaks, stains and will ensure that the paint covers the surface completely.

A Primer Will Stop Any Staining

Oil, grease, and other residues can all cause problems for the paint when it is drying.

Some of these can be difficult to avoid when you are painting the surface directly.

A Primer gives you an added layer of protection. Most primers contain special polymers that bind the paint and thus avoid any staining.

A Primer Will Prepare the Surface for Optimal Paint Adhesion

A Primer will prepare the surface for any paint application. You can easily apply the paint directly to the primed surface and the paint will stick to it perfectly.

A Primer will also bind the paint to the surface and it will ensure that the paint drys evenly and properly.

Selecting the Perfect Primer for Your Airbrush Paint

If you find that your paint is taking forever to dry, you probably use the wrong primer.

There are many different kinds of primer that you can use. That means it is easy for you to choose the wrong one unless you pay close attention.

Unfinished Wood

Are you painting unfinished wood?

If so, you will probably get the best results from using a latex primer.

Another good choice would be an oil-based primer.

My personal favorite is KILZ Premium and Stain Blocking Primer. You but it in your local hardware store or right here on Amazon.

Finished Wood

If you are painting wood that already has a stain on it, you want primary that has stain blocking properties.

Again, the best choice here would probably be KILZ Premium Stain Blocking Primer. You but it in your local hardware store or right here on Amazon.


When you are painting metals that can rust, you want a corrosion resistant primer.

These will typically be latex-based primers.


If you want to airbrush your wall then we recommend using a latex primer.

Plastic (Tabletop Figures)

If you are painting plastic then we would recommend using either an oil-based primer or an acrylic primer.

It really depends on the kind of paint that you want to paint with.

I would highly recommend using a spray-on primer to cover all the little details evenly. The best spray-on primer in my opinion is from Rust-Oleum. You can buy it right here on Amazon.

Types of Paint and How to Ensure That They Dry Properly

There are also multiple types of paint.

The type of paint that you use will impact the way that it dries.

So make sure, that you choose the right type of paint for your project.

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paints have not been around as long as oil-based paints.

They share several key benefits in comparison to conventional oil-based paint.

Most people find they create less of a mess when you are working with them. Plus, they typically last for longer as well.

It is important that you dilute water-based paints wither with water or a special diluting agent for water-based paints.

If you use too much or the wrong diluting agent then the paint will not dry properly!

Oil-Based Paint

Most paints are oil-based.

It is hard to go wrong with good oil-based paint.

However, modern water-based paints offer several benefits over them.

If you are using oil-based paints then you have to use a special diluting agent to thin the paint.

If you try to use a substitute like acetone or something similar then you might run into issues. Acetone and similar solutions are not meant for diluting paint and they can actually hinder the paint from drying evenly and properly.

You can read more about thinning enamel paint right here. This is also applicable to every type of oil paint.

Humidity Can Influence the Drying Time of Airbrush Paint

If you are living in an area with high humidity levels then you might be struggling with paint that is just not drying properly.

Especially water-based paint is easily influenced by the surrounding humidity.

So if you are living in an area with high levels of humidity then you should use oil-based paints and avoid water-based paints.

But even oil-based paints might take a little longer until they dry fully. So just be patient.

You can also try to paint in a location where the humidity is not as high. Either by using a dehumidifier in the room or by putting the painted object in a location where the air is less humid.

Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.

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