Does Acrylic Paint Fade or Melt in the Sun?

Does Acrylic Paint Fade or Melt in the Sun

It takes a lot of skill, time, and dedication to make a beautiful painting, so it’s naturally disheartening to see them get ruined. A professional artist would fear that their acrylic paintings may start to look bad by becoming faded or melted if left in the sunlight.

Paintings are often kept in a controlled environment to retain their vibrance, so this leads many people to ask; Does acrylic paint fade in the sun?

Does Acrylic Paint Fade or Melt in the Sun?

Yes, it does.

We have written out a detailed article on this issue and its solutions, so you can keep preserving the beauty of your precious paintings!

What Temperature Should Acrylic Paint Be Stored at?

Acrylic paint is not too sensitive to temperature change, unlike oil paint, and will not usually easily go bad due to the climate. However, the ideal environment in which you should keep them is around 16 to 26 degrees Celsius, approximately 60 to 75 Fahrenheit.

You can store your painting in a warm room if you want to be very careful with your precious and happy painting.

Maintaining this temperature indoors isn’t too difficult. On the other hand, since you can’t control the temperature outside, the concerns about the colors fading arise when acrylic paints are kept outdoors. 

Does Acrylic Paint Fade or Melt in the Sun?

Unfortunately, extreme temperatures and certain exposures do affect acrylic paint and will cause the appearance of your painting to change. If the temperature rises too much, the paint will become dry, and you won’t be able to use them because of the heat.

Therefore, it is best to keep your acrylic paints in an environment where the temperature and humidity are stable. Let’s learn some more facts about the paints here.

Can Withstand Moderate Levels of Sunlight

The good news is that most acrylic paintsOpens in a new tab. will be able to tolerate moderate levels of sunlight without fading or melting.

Watercolors and even most oil paints are very susceptible to fast fading upon sun exposure, so in comparison, acrylic paints have better UV protection. In fact, even most indirect light can cause fading of oil art pieces.

Fading Or Melting Depends on the Material

Additionally, materials such as paper cannot withstand the light or, to be more specific, the sun’s rays. This mean’s your other art supplies also make up for a deciding factor on whether your art will fade under direct sunlight or not.

Hence, you may be able to hang your acrylic painting near your window or on your balcony, depending on that as well.

However, there is a catch. Not all acrylics will be able to endure sunlight; this is because there are resins in them, and not all resins remain intact under sunlight.

Fading or Melting Depends on Brand

Certain brands manufacture acrylic paints that are suitable for outdoors, and the resin in them will not degrade upon UV exposure.

Upon leaving the lower quality acrylic paints outdoors, the UV rays from the sun will break down the chemical bonds of the different components of the paint, which will cause it to fade.

If you want to keep your acrylic paint safe without taking any risks, then the best thing for you to do might be to avoid or limit them from being exposed to sunlight. 

Acrylic Paint Won’t Melt If It Completely Dries

One thing you certainly don’t have to worry about is your acrylic paint melting under sunlight. If your paint has dried completely, there is no reason why it would start melting outdoors.

The surface layer of the paint will become dry quicker than the inside layers if you leave it under sunlight giving you the false impression that your painting has dried, but otherwise, there will not be any melting issue with acrylic paints.

How Do You Make Sure Your Acrylic Paints Do Not Fade in the Sun?

The easiest thing you could do if you are using acrylics as your products is to buy suitable ones for hanging outdoors. However, most artists use UV rays protective spray over their acrylic paintings and even most oil paintings to prevent fading when the painting is kept under direct sunlight.

 A very popular UV protective spray would be the Krylon UV-resistant Clear Coating SprayOpens in a new tab. which protects paintings from UV light and sun exposure.

Before you spray your acrylic painting with a UV light protective spray, you must make sure that the paint is completely dry, or else this will entirely ruin your piece of art.

Outdoor Polyurethane

After you have sprayed your painting with your UV light protective spray, and once it has dried properly, you can brush on some outdoor polyurOpens in a new tab.eOpens in a new tab.thaneOpens in a new tab. on the wooden frame of your painting if you are using such frames. Ensure that the previous layer of polyurethane has dried before you apply the next coating. 

This way, you can keep your artwork beside the window of your room without having to worry about UV light causing any damage to the canvas and even the case.

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Good Quality Varnish

Another way you could protect the vibrance of your painting canvas from UV light is by applying a good quality varnish.

For all of you who like a glossy finish, you can use an acrylic resin spray varnish, and if you want a more matte look, then acrylic polymer varnishes would be the better choice; both will ensure your artwork can withstand light.

Varnishes are commonly used to seal artwork because they protect the colors from becoming faded by sunlight, and they prevent the buildup of dust and debris. 

UV Plexi Glass

When framing your canvas, you should use UV plexiglassOpens in a new tab. instead of regular glass because it can protect your exposed canvas, withstand sunlight, and protect the artwork from any sun damage. You may also use this glass for UV protection for your oil painting and even your photography artwork.

Dry Dusting

People often think that their acrylic paints have faded, whereas there is actually just a layer of dust on top. However, do not use liquid to clean your acrylic paintings. Take a dry dusting cloth and dust your painting so you can see its true vibrant colors. 

How Do You Know Whether Your Acrylic Paint Has Gone Bad?

As we have mentioned before, excess heat can cause acrylic paints to become dried up, which will make them unusable. Another thing you can do to check whether your acrylic paints are fine is to smell them.

This is because there might be mold growth on your acrylic paints, leaving a distinct foul smell. Not to forget that if your acrylic paint has mold on it, you can’t use it. This mostly happens when you leave your paint in a dark place.

Final Words

Acrylic paints are a wonderful medium of paint, and they can create some of the best-looking paintings. We hope we were able to give a clear answer to the question, does acrylic paint fade in the sun, and have given you more clarity. 

If you follow our advice and protect your acrylic paints, as we have mentioned, you can keep your paintings outdoors just fine for up to 10 years without the colors fading!

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Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

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