When you’re painting with acrylics you want to be careful with the temperature. Wait… what?! Can acrylic paint get cold? Painting with acrylics is best done at no lower than 49 degrees and ideally, at around 60 degrees. The reason for this is the water content that’s suspending your acrylic resin particles is sensitive to the cold and when it warms up again, you get less than ideal results. Some paints do work in as low as 35 degrees, but check the label to be sure if you want to do some ‘chilly-painting’.
In this article we’ll take a peek at what colder and warmer temperatures mean for your acrylics, so that you’ll have a better idea of the dos and don’ts of your favorite paints.
Let’s take a closer look at temperature factors and your acrylics!
How cold is too cold for acrylic paint?
When you are visualizing what happens to acrylic in cold then you need to factor in the most important variable. This is the water, of course. While as artists, we tend to think of acrylic paint as just magic color flowing from our brushes, it’s a synthetic construct that is basically made of acrylic resin particles, water, and pigments. The water portion of that is substantial, about 45 to 55% percent.
Think about that the next time you’re watering down your acrylics!
Now, water expands in heat, as everyone who’s ever had a pot boil over has experienced firsthand, and it contracts in the cold, as our ice-trays have taught us.
When you start working with acrylic paint at below 49 then some contracting is going on that’s going to interfere with your paint drying properly. Furthermore, if the temperature gets down to 32, then it can officially freeze! What you end up with are acrylic icicles that will probably break off or at least crack a lot when it warms up.
You can find acrylic paints that will work in as low as 35 degrees but that’s about as cold as you can get before it’s too cold for acrylics.
Can I store acrylic paint in garage?
If you want to store your acrylic paints in the garage, then you should know that the ideal storage temperatures for acrylic are between 60 and 75 degrees. A little colder is okay, but you don’t want it to go below 45. On the flipside, you want to try to avoid storing your acrylic paint in an environment that is too warm. It’s recommended that you don’t go over 80 degrees but you might be able to get away with an insulated container in a dark spot if you aren’t going to be opening them up in awhile.
I don’t really recommend it, though. Those paints are expensive, so it’s really a better option to find a spot in the house where climate control can help to protect your investment.
What happens if acrylic paint gets too hot?
When it comes to heat, Acrylic paint is pretty resistant. When it dries, it forms itself into a semi-plastic array that is pretty durable, much like regular plastics are. In this form, it can withstand 300 degrees without melting.
The actual melting point of acrylic is 320 degrees. Now, that said, don’t go sticking your paintings or your paints in the car. Remember, your acrylic paint is about half-water when it’s in those tubes or jars, and if it dries up completely then it’s going to become unusable.
As far as a painting, cars are tricky things when it comes to temperature, and they can get hot pretty fast and you have to keep in mind that it’s not just the paint that you’ve gotta worry about. You’ve also got your seal and that canvas that you’ve painted on, which might also be stretched on a wooden frame.
That’s a lot of factors to keep up with and unless you want to do the math or feel like gambling, the best approach is to leave your acrylic jars, tubes, and paintings somewhere cool and dry whenever possible. Just because your acrylic paint can withstand heat, doesn’t mean that you need to go around testing it all the time!
So, can acrylic paint get too cold? It certainly can. Acrylic paints are 45 to 55% water and so they are going to be vulnerable in their liquid state to extreme hot or cold temperatures. While some paints can be applied as low as 35 degrees, you’ll need to look for these specialized paints if you want to do some painting in the cold.
If you think that you might need to do some cold painting work soon, I’m throwing in a 3rd party link that has a few workarounds and hacks that might help you out. Just click here and you can check it out.
Winter is coming, but hey… it’s not like we can stop painting, is it?