AcrylicArtWorld is supported by its readers. Please assume all links are affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of our links, we make a small commission from Amazon.

Will Acrylic Paint Melt in the Sun?

Will Acrylic Paint Melt in the Sun

Whether you are painting outside, left your acrylic paints in your car, or have a finished acrylic painted outdoor decor, this article covers all your questions and answers if acrylic paint will melt in the sun.

The answer is no, dried acrylic paint will not melt in the sun if you’re painting outside or have an outdoor painted project. However, they can be affected if for example you leave them in a really hot car, since that changes the heat chemicals of the wet paint. What I recommend if glossing it with varnish that has UV protection, to ensure your project stays vibrant.

If you will be placing an acrylic painting outside, you may want to protect it with a varnish so apart from the natural dust and other things, it is also protected against the sun’s UV rays. Many varnish sprays like this one, have UV ray protection, which is ideal if you’re hanging a painted birdhouse or a painting outside.

Can I Hang an Acrylic Painting in the Sunlight?

While the best way to preserve your acrylic painting is to keep it in a cool, dark place for eternity, that’s not usually the best way to enjoy it, and sometimes, sunlight just can’t be solved for in a room that gets certain exposures throughout the day.

Certain paintings can withstand light and sun exposure, while others should never be hung in front of a window under any circumstances. The deciding factor for whether or not your artwork can be hung in direct sunlight is the media and materials it’s created from.

Works That Can Withstand Some Sunlight.
Most oil paintings will do just fine in the sun, with very little fading, so long as there is no exposed canvas (sunlight can damage canvas, but not through the oil paint.) Works made from acrylic paint are also resilient and typically can withstand sunlight.

Works That Cannot Withstand Sunlight.
Watercolors should never be hung in direct sunlight, as they are vulnerable to fast fading. The same goes for works on paper and photography, as even most indirect light can cause fading.  This is even the case with frames made of UV plexi glass, since they cannot prevent all sun damage.

So if you want to hang your acrylic painting outdoors, just remember that although acrylic paint is more resilient to heat, it can get damaged but more than likely it will not. I have a friend who has some outdoor acrylic paintings and they have been there for years. Just make sure to dust them off so you don’t get bugs or dust particles on your painting.

As for acrylic painted birdhouses, they will be totally fine. I have even painted a few with my kids and though they do get dusty, they are still in great condition and still very vibrant in color. Amazon has some really cool birdhouses worth checking out, like this one. You can DIY a nice acrylic paint birdhouse in a few steps, and it’ll last a while!

Can You Leave Acrylic Paint in a Hot Car?

While it may be more convenient to just leave your art supplies in your car, I highly advise against it. Not only will your acrylic paints get damaged in extreme heat weather, but also in extreme cold weather. The ideal storage temperature for acrylic paint is between 60F and 75F (16C – 26C). 

If acrylic paints are stored at really low temperatures (40F / 4C or below), the paint film will become brittle, which could result in damage.

So will your acrylic paints melt in the sun if left in your car for a while? No, but they will get damaged which can affect the future use of them.

Acrylic paints are water-based paints that dry much more quickly than other paints. Being water based, these paints are especially sensitive to extreme temperatures. Too much cold, and the water and components of the paints will freeze. With excessive heat the paint will dry out and become unusable.

I always recommend leaving your acrylic paints in a room like temperature environment. If you must leave them in your car, make sure it’s not too hot outside, and try to cover them with something so no direct sunlight hits them.

Can Oil Paint Dry Under Sunlight?

For those of you who use oil paints as well, you might be wondering if the same answers apply here. While you can speed up the dry time of your oil painting, it might end up doing more damage in the end.

In my opinion it is bad to keep an oil painting under direct sunlight. Oil contains chemicals that can react with the UV rays in the sun. This can cause fading and deteriorated quality.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to keep your acrylic painting or painted birdhouse outdoors, it’s totally fine. As mentioned above, I don’t recommend leaving or storing your acrylic paints in high heat like your car.

When it comes to oil paints, well you definitely don’t want to leave those precious paintings outdoors, not only because of the dust and air particles, but because of the color change you will be exposing it to due to the heat/cold weather.

Remember to always store your acrylic paints at a temperature of about 60F – 75F (16C – 26C). Don’t forget to check out my other articles for everything you need to know for painting with acrylics. We go over all the questions, tips and advise.

Happy painting!

Acrylic Art World

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

Recent Posts