How To Dry Varnish Quickly (10 Ways To Speed Up The Process)


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How To Dry Varnish Quickly

Varnish is an essential material for woodworkers. It’s used to add a glossy protective finish to wood surfaces and, if applied properly, can make your projects shine.

However, applying varnish can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. If you apply too much varnish all at once, you could run the risk of developing runs in the finish or even creating bubbles.

That’s why it’s important to work in thin layers when applying varnish. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to wait for each coat of varnish to dry before moving on to the next one.

But what if you don’t have time to wait? Luckily, there are several methods that you can use to speed up the drying process of your varnish.


10 Ways to Dry Varnish Quickly

Let’s face it, it’s really hard to wait for that final coat of varnish to dry before handling your newly finished project. If you’re like most woodworkers, you probably have a project in mind that you want to finish with your new finish.

Some of us have more patience than others and will wait for their varnish to dry, but for those who are more “impatient”, here are 10 ways to speed up the drying time of your varnish.

1. Use a hairdryer

Blow dryers are often used to dry varnish quickly, but it is important to keep the blow dryer moving so that the heat does not damage the surface of the item you are finishing. A hairdryer will not get your project as dry as some other methods, but it can be a quick and easy way to get the job done.

Use a hairdryer on its coolest setting

As well as speeding up the drying process, using a hairdryer on your painting can make it much easier to achieve an even finish. Make sure you use it at its lowest setting, or you could ruin your work by burning it! If possible, try using a hairdryer with a nozzle attachment to direct the airflow more precisely over the surface of your painting.

The force from this can also help flatten out any bubbles created in the varnish while applying it, preventing them from getting trapped in your artwork once dry.


2. Use a fan

Fans are another common method of drying varnish quickly. The heat and humidity in the air can affect how long it takes for your varnish to fully cure, so using a fan can speed up the process.

Place a couple of fans in front of your painting area so that they are blowing towards it. You may want to angle them slightly upwards so that they don’t blow dust onto your piece. If there is wind outside, you may also want to open a window and place the fans facing that way so that they can push air through the room.

3. Buy fast-drying varnish

Fast-drying varnish (Available at Amazon) is designed to have a quicker drying time than regular varnish, which can help you complete your project more quickly. Some brands of fast-drying varnishes contain solvents that make them dry faster, but these solvents can also cause cracking and create an inferior finish on your project. Other brands of fast-drying varnish use catalysts that help them cure faster, which creates a better finish without any problems with cracking or bubbling.


4. Make your own drying rack

Varnish dries more quickly when it can get enough air circulation. One way to ensure that the varnish on your project gets adequate airflow is to build a drying rack of your own. You can do this by placing a piece of plywood or other flat surfaces on a few saw horses and then placing your project on top of it. You may want to place some drop cloths or newspaper underneath the drying rack to catch any drips.

5. Keep your varnish thin

Keeping your varnish thin is one way to speed up the drying time. A thin coat of varnish will dry faster than a thick one. However, it’s important not to apply too many thin coats at once. Too many coats can make your varnish crack and peel when it dries.

Thin your varnish with a solvent

If you want your varnish to dry more quickly, thinning it with a solvent is an easy solution. Using a solvent will increase the evaporation of the varnish, helping it dry faster than usual. It will also help remove any air bubbles from the surface of your work by preventing bubbling and pooling on the surface.


6. Place your work in a warm room

The temperature of the room where you place your work can also affect how long it takes for your varnish to dry completely. If you’re working in colder temperatures, this can slow down the drying process. Moving your work into a warmer room or increasing the temperature of the room where you’re working can help speed this up.

6. Hang your piece

Hanging your piece is one of the best ways to dry varnish quickly. This is because hanging it will allow light and air to reach the back of your piece, so the varnish can cure completely. You can hang your piece by attaching it to a wire or string with nails or screws.

7. Put your work in a well-ventilated room

Wherever you choose to dry your varnish, make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area. Choosing an airy space for this stage of the drying process will ensure that your varnish dries faster than if it was in a less ventilated room.


8. Use an infrared lamp

An infrared lamp is another effective way of speeding up how long it takes for varnish to dry. These lamps are particularly useful if you need to quickly dry multiple layers of varnish, such as with an oil painting, and they also help with achieving an even finish on your work.

9. Use a heater

You can also use a heater to help speed up the drying process of your varnish. A small fan heater is ideal for this as it will move the air around your room or workshop and help disperse any fumes from your work more effectively. You could also place your work near or above a radiator or heater if that’s an option for you.

Use a heat lamp

This is the most common method of drying varnish quickly. Simply install a heat lamp in your shop and direct it towards your project as you apply the varnish. However, be careful not to get the temperature too high; this can cause bubbles to form in the varnish, which will ruin your finished product!

10. Use one or two coats of varnish instead of three

When applying multiple coats of varnish, keep in mind that each coat has its own drying time. The more coats applied, the longer it will take for everything to dry completely — especially if you’re using thick layers for each coat.


In summary, a good varnish product protects your paintwork and gives your vehicle a glossy, high-quality finish. Because of its slow curing time, varnish projects can take as much as a month to dry. Although it’s not possible to accelerate the curing time of standard varnishes, you can use quick-drying varnishes to speed up the drying process.

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