Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

As artists, we immerse ourselves in the enchanting realm of creativity, but sometimes practical questions arise. Does acrylic paint freeze?

Acrylic paint, a water-based medium, undergoes intriguing transformations with temperature fluctuations.

Today, I will delve into the freezing point of acrylic paint and its effects on the composition.

Discover if it can still be salvaged, and uncover the secrets of proper storage practices.

Let’s dive into the icy depths and shed light on the relationship between acrylic paint and freezing temperatures.

Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

Yes, acrylics are water-based paints. They freeze at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 Celsius. Freezing causes the water content in the paint to crystallise, altering its texture and quality. It’s important to store acrylic paint in temperatures above freezing.

What Temperature Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

Acrylic paint is a water-based medium and its behaviour changes with temperature.

Its freezing point is the same as water’s, around 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. 

When temperatures dip below this point, the water content in the acrylic paint starts to crystallise and freeze.

Each paint brand could vary due to differences in their specific formulas, additives, or pigments.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the optimal storage conditions of your specific acrylic paint.

Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

What Happens to Acrylics When They Are Frozen?

When exposed to low temperatures, the water-based pigments in acrylic paint begin to freeze.

Freezing temperatures affect the structure and performance of the paint, causing the water content to crystallise.

Crystallisation disrupts the emulsion binding the pigment and the polymer, leading to potential separation issues.

Upon thawing, the paint’s texture might change. It can become clumpy or have a cottage cheese-like appearance.

The change in texture makes the paint difficult to mix or apply. Additionally, the paint’s color saturation might be reduced, impacting the aesthetic of your artwork.

Moreover, repeated freeze and thaw cycles degrade the paint’s quality faster.

Note that some high-quality paints may withstand freezing better than others. But it’s best to avoid freezing whenever possible.

If your acrylic paint has been accidentally frozen, you should allow it to thaw at room temperature. You then gently stir it to check its consistency and usability.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint That Has Been Frozen?

Yes, in some cases, you can still use frozen acrylic paint, but the results may vary depending on factors such as the brand or formula of the paint.

The freeze-thaw cycle alters the paint’s texture and consistency, making it clumpy or uneven. This affects how the paint applies and dries.

After allowing the paint to thaw multiple times at room temperature, try stirring it gently. If it regains a smooth consistency, it may still be usable.

Always test the thawed paint on scrap material before applying it to your main project.

How to Fix Frozen Acrylic Paint?

Step 1: Allow thawing

First, allow the frozen acrylic to thaw. Move it to a location at room temperature and leave it undisturbed until it completely thaws.

Thawing should be gradual to prevent further damage to the paint’s structure.

Step 2: Stir gently

After thawing, open the paint container and stir the paint gently. This helps reintegrate the pigments and binder, which may have separated during freezing.

Be patient and thorough with your stirring, but avoid shaking or being too vigorous, as it can introduce unwanted air bubbles into the paint.

Step 3: Test the paint

Before applying it to your main project, test the paint on scrap material. Observe its texture, consistency, and how it dries. It may be best to discard it if it’s clumpy, separated, or dry.

How to Fix Frozen Acrylic Paint?

How to Store Acrylic Paint?

Read our guide on how to store wet acrylic paint.

 1. Choose the Right Container

Choosing the right container is crucial for storing acrylic paint. Opt for air-tight containers that prevent air exposure, which dries out the paint.

Transparent containers are a good choice as they allow you to see the paint color and quantity without opening the container.

2. Check the Levels on the Container Before Storing Them

Before storing your acrylic paint, ensure the container is fresh. Overfilling can lead to spills and messy clean-ups.

Ensure the lid closes tightly to prevent air from entering. Keep the paint at an optimal level – not too little to avoid drying and not too much to avoid spills.

3. Store in a Cool, Dry Place

Temperature and humidity can affect the shelf life of your acrylic paint. Keep your paint in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.

This helps prevent the paint from drying out or freezing. The ideal temperature for storage ranges between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Add Desiccants

Desiccants, such as silica gel packets, absorb moisture to protect acrylic paint in humid areas. Place a few packets in the storage box or near the paint containers to help maintain a dry environment.

5. Check Your Paint Regularly

Regular checks help identify any issues with your acrylic paint before they become a major problem. Look for signs of drying, separation, or mold growth.

Also, take note of the paint’s smell – a foul odor indicates the paint has gone bad. If you spot any issues, it might be time to replace your paint.

Read Also: Why is My Paint Chunky?

Acrylic Paint Temperature Range

Acrylic paints have an optimal temperature range for use and storage. They should be used and stored at room temperature, above 60°F (16°C).

The minimum film formation temperature (MFFT), below which the paint might not adhere or dry, is around 49°F (9°C).

Aim to maintain a stable environment within these temperature parameters to ensure the best performance and longevity of acrylic paints.

Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

Drying Acrylic Paint in Cold Weather 

The drying process of acrylic paint can be tricky in cold weather. Lower temperatures slow the evaporation of water from the paint, prolonging the drying time. 

It leaves your artwork vulnerable to dust, insects, and accidental smudging for an extended period.

Moreover, temperatures below the minimum film formation temperature (MFFT) of 49°F (9°C) lead to improper film formation.

The paint may not adhere to the surface or crack and peel off upon drying.

However, you don’t have to give up painting in the cold. Here are some strategies to ensure your acrylic paint dries well, even in extremely cold temperatures: 

  • Increase Room Temperature: Increase the room temperature while painting and drying. It speeds up the drying process and ensures proper film formation.
  • Use a Heater or a Hair Dryer: A space heater warms up the room, or a hairdryer can be used for small artworks – remember to keep a safe distance to avoid overheating.
  • Consider a Drying Medium: Certain acrylic mediums accelerate the drying process. They’re mixed into the paint before application.
  • Layer Thinly: Applying thin layers of paint helps it dry faster, even in cold temperatures, as thinner layers evaporate quicker.
  • Patience is Key: Remember, fine art takes time. Let your artwork dry naturally, even if it takes longer in cold conditions. Protect it from dust and disturbances; the result will be worth the wait.

What Temperature Can Acrylic Paint Withstand?

Acrylic paint is quite resilient and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. It performs in temperatures above 60°F (16°C), with a lower limit of about 49°F (9°C), the minimum film formation temperature (MFFT).

While it can survive below-freezing temperatures, its quality and usability can be compromised.

On the higher end, acrylic paint can tolerate up to about 120°F (49°C), but prolonged exposure to such high temperatures may lead to drying out or other damage.

Always consider the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific paint products.

Can an Acrylic Painting Withstand Frozen Temperatures?

Acrylic painting is vulnerable to freezing temperatures. If frozen, the acrylic paint becomes lumpy or rubbery, impairing the artwork’s quality and appearance.

Unlike oil paints, which polymerise well in cold weather, freezing acrylic paint cause irreversible damage to acrylic paintings. Thus, it’s best to keep acrylic artwork in a freeze-free environment.

Can I Store Oil Paints in the Freezer?

Unlike many acrylics, oil painting is more accepting of freezing temperatures. The linseed oil content in these paints keeps them from freezing in the same way as water-based acrylics. 

However, storing oil paintings in the freezer is not advisable as the extreme cold may alter their consistency and usability.

It’s best to store all paints, including oil paint, in a cool, dry place that remains above freezing.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Freeze?

Acrylic paint, being water-based, freezes at around 32°F (0°C), similar to water. The time it takes for the paint to freeze depends on the initial temperature and the surrounding environment.

However, the paint can freeze within a few hours once exposed to freezing temperatures.

Acrylic Paint Temperature Resistance

Acrylic paint is resilient and can tolerate a wide temperature range. However, in very cold climates, it may perform poorly.

Temperatures below 49°F (9°C) compromise its drying and adhesion properties. While it can endure heat up to 120°F (49°C), prolonged high temperatures may cause it to dry prematurely.

Does Acrylic Paint Go Bad If It Freezes?

Do acrylic paints go bad? Yes, acrylic paint can indeed go bad if it freezes. The water-based nature of acrylic paint means it can freeze below 32°F (0°C).

When frozen, the paint’s composition can be altered, causing the separation of pigments and binders, which can lead to lumpy or unusable frozen acrylics upon thawing

Is Acrylic Paint Heat Resistance?

Acrylic paint demonstrates a degree of heat resistance. They can handle temperatures up to around 120°F (49°C). How much paint can endure high temperatures also depends on factors such as the duration of exposure and the specific paint formulation.

Prolonged heat exposure might cause the paint to dry out prematurely or alter its consistency. 


Does acrylic paint get ruined in the cold?

Yes, acrylic paint can get ruined in cold temperatures. Exposure to freezing temperatures can cause the paint to become lumpy, alter its consistency, and even crack when dried. Therefore, it’s crucial to protect acrylic paint from very cold environments.

What temperature can acrylic paint withstand?

Acrylic paint is best used and stored at room temperature, above 60°F (16°C). It’s crucial to avoid applying the paint below 49°F (9°C), which is the minimum film formation temperature (MFFT). Below this temperature, the paint might not adhere or dry properly.

What is the freezing point of acrylic?

Like other water-based solutions, water-based acrylic paint has a freezing point close to water. Acrylic paint freezes at around 32°F or 0°C, just like water. To keep its quality intact, storing acrylic paint in a controlled temperature environment is essential and prevents it from freezing.

Can paint still be used after freezing?

If frozen, acrylic paint can change often, becoming clumpy. It might still be usable if it maintains consistency and doesn’t give off a foul odor. If there are noticeable changes, it’s better to discard them.

Is acrylic paint flammable?

No, acrylic paint is not considered flammable once it has dried. However, it is important to note that the paint may contain flammable solvents during the wet stage, so caution should be exercised during the painting process and when handling any flammable materials.


Can acrylic paints freeze? Understanding the effects of freezing on acrylic paint is essential. It alters the texture and quality of acrylic paint, diminishing its suitability.

While it may be possible to salvage frozen acrylic paint, avoid using it for important projects such as canvas.

To minimise risks, follow proper storage practices and take precautions in cold weather.

Storing acrylic paint in optimal conditions maintains the longevity of the finished painting.


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