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View Full Version : Do Acrylics Go Bad?


onestrokeartist
05-16-2018, 01:31 PM
I have some expensive tubes of acrylics that I bought before Christmas with a gift card that my brother gave me. However, I am now following the Drawing lessons in the Classroom on this wonderful site taught by the wonderful instructor Arnoud.:clap: Sorry, I digress, anyways, I have not been painting for awhile. How long do tubes of acrylics last - soft body, heavy body, etc. Is there a certain temperature that is better for them to keep, or anything else I should know?

cliff.kachinske
05-16-2018, 01:58 PM
Years and years. Cap them tight. Keep them in temperatures where you would be comfy.

~JMW~
05-16-2018, 02:36 PM
I've had mine in slightly below freezing unheated studio temps, but if long cold snap I bring them in house for winter.. damp & cool Oregon..
I would think hot temp/ dry areas will "age" them faster depends on container & tightness of lid..
I use the jar type containers mostly and make an extra seal with 2 layers of overlapped plastic wrap then screw the lid on.

onestrokeartist
05-16-2018, 10:01 PM
Thank you both!

Patrick1
05-19-2018, 03:44 PM
In addition to drying out over the years, or freezing, acrylic can go bad by contaminating the paint in the tube or jar with non-sterile water or dipping dirty tools into it. When it goes bad it will have a rotten, organic smell...at least that was my experience several times. With better paint hygiene, it doesn't happen any more...all types of artist-quality acrylics last me several years easily. I've also had cheap craft paints separate (without any freezing) into blobs of pigment and gel over the years.

Attalus
05-19-2018, 03:53 PM
In addition to drying out over the years, or freezing, acrylic can go bad by contaminating the paint in the tube or jar with non-sterile water or dipping dirty tools into it. When it goes bad it will have a rotten, organic smell...at least that was my experience several times. With better paint hygiene, it doesn't happen any more...all types of artist-quality acrylics last me several years easily. I've also had cheap craft paints separate (without any freezing) into blobs of pigment and gel over the years.
Agreed. It smells like rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) but, as you say, prevention is the best cure.

fedetony
05-20-2018, 08:18 AM
They tend to decant with time, so the pigment falls down and separates from the medium. Nothing a good shake will not solve. This happens in all fluid substances with chemical covalent bonds, just at different time rates. As sugar in water.

Dcam
05-20-2018, 08:20 AM
When They start to get get rubbery on the ends by the cap, I either buy small empty tubes and re-tube them or cut off the other end and use what I can of the rest.

ddattler
05-23-2018, 09:13 PM
Once they start to coagulate or separate I toss them, as they don't always want to completely dry, or mix well with other colors. Certain Pigments seem to hold up better than others. That being said, I have some that are intact after 30+ years.

Don Dattler

cinderblockstudios
05-24-2018, 08:50 AM
As long as you keep the caps on and they're in a temperate area you should get them to last several years. After maybe a decade though you may start to get some mold growing in the tubes in which case they'd smell when you open them and you know it's time to toss them out.

Most people will use up a tube long before that happens though