Can I Leave An Acrylic Painting In A Hot Car?

Can I Leave An Acrylic Painting In A Hot CarNo one likes transporting their work when the weather isn’t perfect. That’s why it’s important to know a little about the heat and sun and what it can do to your paintings. I’ve been asked often enough, ‘can I leave an acrylic painting in a hot car?’ and so I thought I’d get that address in this article today.

Leaving an acrylic painting in a hot car just really isn’t a good idea. You have to think about things like shade, certain car colors and upholstery choices, and the fact that even on a 75 degree day your car will be about 120 degrees after 90 minutes.


Today I’ll tell you a little more about heat and your acrylics so that you’ll have a good idea why you need to be very careful when inclement temperatures come into play!

Can heat damage paintings?Can heat damage paintings

Yes, yes, and yes. As the temperature increase, so does your painting’s vulnerability to all kinds of damage that you definitely won’t like. You can get reactions to moisture, for instance, or chemical problems with the heat causing a reaction with the seal and the paint.

You can also get actual structural damage to the canvas if it’s hot enough, which can cause damage to the fibers, and you might end up with creasing and warping to the painting which is permanent. Now, this isn’t just a scenario where a painting is in a hot car – this can happen in the house if you place a painting in a location that is less than ideal.

Don’t put paintings nears areas where they might get heat and moisture, such as in kitchens, near space heaters, or above the mantel. The effects might be minimal at first, but over time you might find that you really wish that you hadn’t put your painting there.

Does acrylic paint go bad in heat?

Does acrylic paint go bad in heatSo, what about the paints themselves? While we’re always told to store them in a cool, dry place, is it really so bad if they end up getting a little sunlight and heat every now and again?  While a small amount is to be expected and shouldn’t immediately dry out your paints or anything like that, too much can definitely have an impact on your paints.

Too much heat can definitely make your paints unusable. If you need to transport them in a car, for instance, then you want to take as many precautions as possible to keep them cool for transport and to minimize or completely avoid leaving them alone in the car.

As mentioned earlier in this article, even 75 degrees can turn into 120 in about 90 minutes, and this is just an ideal estimate. Certain colors, like having a red interior in the car, can factor in and make it heat more quickly and damage your paints in record time. It’s simply too risky with your expensive paints.

Acrylic paint CAN and does go bad in too much heat, so be very very careful

How hot does it have to be for acrylic paint toHow hot does it have to be for acrylic paint to melt melt?

Now that I’ve put a little scare in to you on what damage can occur, let’s talk about the worry that acrylic paint might actually melt with too much sunlight. On this subject, I have some very good news. It really takes a lot of heat to actually start melting your acrylic paint off of your painting.

320 degrees Fahrenheit, to be specific.

Now, that said, acrylic paint can definitely become softer if it starts getting really hot, so while it probably won’t melt on you, that heat is still not good for it. Oil paintings are much the same, blistering or cracking with too much heat, but they aren’t in any danger of melting.

Ultimately, the best practice is just to get in the habit of transporting your paintings as carefully as possible and don’t leave them unattended if you have the slightest suspicion that it could get hotter where you’re storing them.

In conclusion: You really shouldn’t leave an acrylic painting in your car

Leaving an acrylic painting in a hot car is not a good idea. Cars are notorious for getting very hot inside when there’s no climate-control engaged. If it is at all avoidable, you shouldn’t keep your paints or your paintings in the car.

If you’d like to read a little on the subject then there is a nice 3rd party article you can find here which will go into a little more detail on the affects of heat and humidity. It’s an excellent read that can really help to drive the point home.

Keep your work as cool as it is on canvas… you’ll be happy that you did!