I have a kitchen unit in my shed waiting for its final coat of acrylic paint. However, the paint tin says not to use it below 10 degrees centigrade, and it's winter here, with temperatures rarely over 12. At 12 degrees the paint takes ages to dry. My solutions are:

  1. Finish the job inside the house. But I don't want to risk drips and splatters on walls and carpet.
  2. Heat the shed -- too expensive.
  3. Wait patiently for a warmer day.

Any other solutions?

  • I have to be honest, this seems more of a DIY site question than one specific to Arts & Crafts.
    – Joanne C
    Jul 1, 2016 at 20:05
  • @John Cavan. I agree with you. However, I also use acrylic to paint gnomes in another cold shed. Slow drying is a problem there. Also are there no plein air winter painters with a solution? Jul 2, 2016 at 5:46
  • Well, people painting on canvas can easily bring it inside, but at some point the viscosity of the paint is going to be adversely affected by temperature, especially ones that involve water, which makes the actual act of painting difficult to impossible. Also, surface matters, metal conducts temperature extremely well, hence an answer specific to canvas or other traditional art surfaces may not apply.
    – Joanne C
    Jul 2, 2016 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


Well, let's give it a try with some other creative options:

  1. Paint in the shed, make sure the kitchen unit is placed on a surface that can be transported, allow to dry inside the house.
  2. Paint partially in the shed, touch the unpainted parts for transport to the house, allow to dry inside the house.
  3. Cover a large area inside the house with huge sheets of plastic and paint inside the house.
  4. Paint in the shed, use the heat of a hair dryer to dry the paint. Be sure not to blow your paint away while it's still wet!
  5. If the kitchen unit is made of metal you may also choose to heat it up before you start painting. Be careful though, as you don't want to ruin the first layer(s) of paint. And you probably have to paint quickly or repeat the heating while painting.

The romantic solution:
6. Put candles in the shed for a local and temporal raise of the temperature.

And if all else fails:
7. Wait patiently for the paint to dry. (Like your option 3, but now the waiting is after the painting instead of before the painting and it will reduce your waiting time.)
Good luck!

  • I had forgotten about hair dryers. We used them in an art tutorial a few years ago. I will try warming the paint tin in the house, and then setting up a blower heater and a heat gun on a stand. Jul 7, 2016 at 20:11

Heat will cause water molecules to rise to the surface of the paint and then evaporate.

Were your paint oil based I'd say wait till the glaciers melt but a combination of heat and wind blowing across the surface will expedite drying of water based acrylic paint. That is, of course, if the paint is not frozen.

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