While you certainly don’t want to keep your acrylics in your car, can acrylic get hot in other ways? Will it be damaged? Acrylic is actually pretty heat-resistant, up to 320 degrees, and some people even bake it in the oven to achieve a particular finish. It basically dries into something like a plastic and this gives it heat-resistance though you want to make sure that heat-exposure is carefully controlled and not a regular thing.
In this article I’ll tell you a little more about heat-resistance and acrylic so that you can get a better understanding of why techniques like baking are okay but why you still wouldn’t want to leave your paintings or paints in the car.
Let’s explore hot, hot acrylics!
Is acrylic paint safe near fire?
While acrylic has some heat-resistance to it, when it comes to fire that is a whole different ball game. Acrylic paints may possibly combust in the presence of an open flame or if, for some reason, you decided to put a painting too close to the fireplace.
That’s when it’s dry, however.
The reason you can get away with techniques such as baking acrylics has to do with it’s properties when it is in a liquid state. The composition of acrylic paint boils down to an acrylic resin which is used as the binding agent (or an acrylic polymer emulsion might be used) and for a solvent – it’s using water.
As this makes it a water-based paint, as long as it is in it’s fully liquid state then it is technically going to be non-flammable. Still, heat can dry your paints out pretty fast, so it’s best to err on the safe side and just keep your expensive paints and other art supplies well away from devouring flame.
Can acrylic paint be in the sun?
Acrylic paintings are pretty durable. As we’ve mentioned, these synthetic paints dry up into a semi-plastic matrix and this makes them very strong – science even suggests that acrylic paintings might have as much as twice the lifespan as oil paintings!
That said, year-round sunlight exposure isn’t good for us and it isn’t good for our paintings either. While your varnish is designed to keep moisture and UV out, over time its protection is going to fade little by little and then another coat might be needed to keep your painting from fading.
With that in mind, if you are looking to display a painting in an area where it can get some sunlight and thus afford a delightfully-nice viewing during the day, then it’s a good idea to compromise and get a UV resistant coat or special glass panes for your window.
This will help to ensure that you’ve got a protection layer which will keep your acrylic paintings out of direct sunlight so that you can still display them in the living room or a sunlight-friendly office workspace.
Can heat damage paintings?
Heat can indeed damage your paintings and because of this, you must resist the urge to make the ‘rookie mistake’ of hanging a painting over the mantel, in the kitchen, or too near a space heater or an outlet for your central heating.
Cars are deceptively cool-looking when you’ve just pulled in and parked, but don’t let that fool you. They can heat very quickly, with a common example being parking your car on a beautiful and comfortable 75-degree day. It seems safe, so why not just keep your paints inside and come back later instead of moving them?
Well, that 75-degree interior is going to change and it might happen fast. In about 90 minutes, most cars are going to be about 120 degrees inside. This may vary, based on whether you are in the shade, what color your interior is, and a number of other factors. This is why you hear horror stories on the news where people are advised never to leave their pets or kids in a car even for a small amount of time.
Simply put… once the climate control is out of play, that car becomes an oven. Yikes!
If it’s a summer day, you absolutely could end up with warping or creases on your painting. The canvas can even become damaged. You can even get unforeseen chemical interactions with the layers of paint interplaying with varnish.
It takes a lot of heat to damage your paintings but it can definitely damage them – keep your paintings cool and dry as much as possible.
So, can acrylic get hot? Yes, in controlled scenarios acrylic can be heated because it dries up like plastic, but you still shouldn’t put it near an open flame. Acrylic has a melting point just over 300 degrees but you still should keep it out of direct sunlight and whatever you do, don’t leave it in the car if you can avoid it.
There are actually a lot of factors to keep in mind when it comes to properly storing paintings and while we’ve used up the space in this article, you can read this nice 3rd party treatment on the subject to learn a little more. I hope that you enjoy it and until next time, keep those paintings cool!