Yup, I learned the hard way. For those of you that have not ventured too far beyond your walls when it comes to paint, you may or may not have heard that you should allow paint to dry and cure. It's the latter that I have trouble with because...well, I'm just impatient. The excitement of seeing an old piece given new life through a fresh coat of paint sometimes gets the better of me and I don't wait long enough for the newly finished piece to cure.
So what's the difference? Basically, paint may be dry to the touch after a few hours, but it takes much longer for paint to actually cure (completely dry to where it has a fully adhered to the surface, acheived its maximum strength and hardened). If you move in a piece of painted furniture once it's dry but not yet cured, it's much easier for your newly finished piece to scratch, chip, peel, stain or otherwise get damaged. Ever had that happen? Me too. In fact, just this week...
I was so excited to give my birdcage find a fresh new color for my daughters room! I had a can of a light lime green spray paint and got right to work.
I started by opening the lid and propped it open by resting it on the top ring. I gave the cage three thin coats of green paint, waiting an hour in between coats. Then I let it dry overnight.
The next day I put a piece of packing paper in between the the lid and base to prevent the wet paint from sticking the two together, and I painted those areas that were missed on the lid when it was upside down.
Then I just needed to wait for it to dry.
Again, I waited about 24 hours and then took out the paper between the lid and base. I knew it probably needed a couple of days to cure based on what I planned to do with it, so I left it in the garage. I checked it the next day and sure enough when I lifted the lid, paint peeled off in a few spots where the lid rests on the base. It had dried but not cured. Grrr.
I lightly sanded those patches and gave them another coat of paint with the lid propped open. That was Friday. This time I'm waiting until tomorrow to close the lid and bring it in. :)
If you look up guidelines on how long to wait for paint to cure, you'll see a wide spectrum. Usually 3-4 days is enough...when in doubt, follow the guidelines on the can or ask someone at the paint counter...and if you want to be extra sure, just add on a couple of days to your drying time.
So, the next time you get ready to paint, take a minute to put on your patience pants before you get started. It's well worth waiting for your new paint job to actually cure and not have to redo all your hard work!