View Full Version : tube colors longevity?

06-27-2002, 11:17 AM
I'd like to jump back into acrylics, but most of my tube paints date back to 1989! Does anyone know if it is still safe to use them? The tubes are still nice and squishy, and when I open them the paints don't look separated or anything. Anyone know? Thanks!

06-27-2002, 12:22 PM
I've had extremely old tubes that were perfectly moist, but some of the colors were expired, primarily the titaniums and the oranges. I only had certain colors, so i don't know how other colors would have reacted. The color looked fine, but when you try to lay them down on the pallete, the paint is all stringy and comes out in a long stretchy thing. It was just a little annoying to work with, but it was fine. I don't know how it would effect the overall longevity of the painting though..

06-27-2002, 06:24 PM
Paint can last almost indefinitely, I have a number of tubes that are about fifteen years old that appear to be exactly as when new. The tube of my first W&N purchase (from 1980 or so), Yellow Ochre, gave up the ghost about ten years back; it has resided in a film canister since and, although it's a tad stiffer than it once was, otherwise it's just fine.

I do have a couple of tubes showing slight separation (like Cobalt Blue which doesn't tend to store well) most are less than a decade old. I squeeze out the excess medium, discard it, and use the paint behind it which to be honest doesn't seem any the worse for it.


Kevin M
06-27-2002, 07:53 PM
Acrylic in containers other than tubes (tubs etc ) are inclined to settle and inverting them occasionally upside down , tightly sealed, seems to improve things. I also have vintage tubes which seem to become stiffer with time but usable and I suspect no way impaired in quality.

I have been using Acylic paint since just about when it was first generally available. I am told that it lasts at least as long as oil paint - if not longer. On this point, for obvious reasons, I have no waying of knowing whether this is true or not . However, I was recently shown a painting acquired by a friend that I had perpetrated in 1966 and it looked no worse (or better) than if I had painted it last week. My conclusion is that if it finally and improbably decides to disintegrate - it certainly won't be bothering me - and probably not my great grand children.



06-27-2002, 11:11 PM
Thanks for the replies - I'll go ahead and use them and not worry about it.

Keith Russell
06-28-2002, 12:47 AM

I have some airbrush paints from 1994 that are still in fine shape...


06-28-2002, 10:59 AM
I have some tubes that are nearly 20 years old (purchased between 1980-84) when I tried this medium the first time, which are just fine. However, they are not colors that I use frequently.

I have a large tube of Yellow Ocher (which I use a great deal) that got misplaced in the move. Now three years later it is gummy and stringy. I think it has more to do with how secure the seal is and how much air enters the tube during use. If the seal is good and little air is present, there is very little chance of the polymer forming and ruining the paint.


06-28-2002, 11:12 AM
Use them they are fine.