How Long Do Acrylic Paints Last? How Long Do Acrylic Paints Last?

How Long Do Acrylic Paints Last?

The shelf life of acrylic paints is between 5-7 years. Acrylic paints are a perfect choice for artists and crafters alike. They are easy to use and durable, with a wide variety of colors available.

Acrylic paints are popular because they paint a realistic finish and they’re very versatile. But how long do acrylic paints last? What’s the shelf life of acrylic paint?

The shelf life of acrylic paints is between 5-7 years. Acrylic paints are a perfect choice for artists and crafters alike. They are easy to use and durable, with a wide variety of colors available.

Acrylic paints tend to last a long time if they are cared for properly. However they can get thick over time. Have you ever wondered how to store them or if they would still be useful after a certain amount of time? Read on!

Related Reading

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Glass?

Will Acrylic Paint Stick To Plastic?

Why Did Acrylic Tank Manufacturing Close?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Skin?

The Life Span of Acrylic Paint

The shelf life of acrylic paints is between 5-7 years.

Acrylic paint is made from water, acrylic resin and other additives. Acrylic resin is a complex mixture of compounds that contain long-chain hydrocarbon molecules. The long chains give the acrylic resin its plasticity and make it good for making paint.

What Makes Acrylic Paint Go Bad?


The first thing that makes acrylic paint go bad is dryness. If you leave your paints out in the air for too long, they’ll dry up and be unusable. Acrylic paints should be stored in an airtight container with a lid or stopper so that they don’t evaporate from the surface.

If your paints have gone hard, there’s not much you can do except remoisten them before using them again. You can do this by placing a few drops of water into each tube or bottle of acrylic paint and letting it sit overnight before opening it again the next day.

2.Acrylic Paint Goes Bad When It’s Exposed to Air

The most common way that acrylic paint goes bad is through exposure to air.

Acrylic paints contain a mixture of water (or sometimes alcohol), pigment and other ingredients that cause the paint to dry when exposed to air. These ingredients react with one another and form a solid surface that prevents further reactions from occurring.

When exposed to air, the liquid acrylics will evaporate or oxidize into gaseous compounds that are lighter than air and rise up out of the container as bubbles or foam. This can cause problems when you’re working on your project because these gases may float up onto your canvas or art paper.

How Can You Tell if Acrylic Paint Has Gone Bad?

Acrylic paint can last for years if it’s stored properly, but it can also go bad if it isn’t kept at the right temperature and humidity levels. There are several ways to tell if your acrylic paints have gone bad.

1. The Color Changes

Acrylic paints consist of pigment suspended in a liquid medium called an acrylic polymer emulsion. When the pigment begins to degrade, it will separate from the emulsion, causing the paint to become watery or grainy. This makes it impossible to mix different colors together and results in a color that looks different from what you expected.

If you notice this happening, don’t use the paint because it may also be contaminated with bacteria or mold spores which can cause health problems if inhaled or ingested by humans or animals (especially cats).

2. The Paint Smells Bad

If your acrylic paint smells like vinegar or ammonia when you open the lid on the container, then don’t use it! Acrylic paints should never smell like anything other than themselves – slightly sweet and fruity scents are normal but anything else means that something is wrong with your paint and could potentially be harmful when used in art projects.

Can I Use Expired Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint has a shelf life of about 5 years, although it’s generally not recommended to use the paint for more than a year after purchase. However, this does not mean that you have to throw out your paints after their expiration date has passed.

If you have left over acrylic paint that has gone bad, there are several ways that you can salvage it and use it again. Acrylic paint is water-based and contains no hazardous ingredients, so it is safe to use even if it has expired.

The first thing you will want to do is check the color of the paint against another sample of acrylic paint that you know hasn’t been exposed to air or light. If they are close in color, then your old paint isn’t too bad and can be used again.

How Long Is Opened Acrylic Paint Good For?

Acrylic paint has very good shelf life, with a few caveats. The biggest factor in determining how long the paint will last is whether or not the container was opened.

Acrylic paints can be stored in their original containers, unopened, for around 5 years. If you open and use the paint within that time frame, it will only last as long as you have it around.

Using Acrylics After They Have Been Opened

After opening an acrylic tube of paint, it should be used up within a year or so. If you don’t plan on using all of the paint after opening it up, then store it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out and becoming unusable.

If you plan on using some but not all of your tube of paint, transfer some into smaller containers so that you can keep track of how much is left and when it expires.

How Can I Make Acrylic Paint Last Longer?

There are some simple things you can do to make acrylic paints last longer.

  • Store your paint in a cool, dry place: Acrylics are usually more stable than oils and watercolors, but they can still be affected by temperature and humidity.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight: Light will cause fading over time, which is why paintings need to be kept away from windows in galleries and museums.

Pro-Tip: If you’re using expensive artist-grade paints, store them in jars rather than tubes or bottles to keep them from drying out and clogging the tip. The jars also allow air circulation, which helps prevent mold and mildew growth on the surface of your paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Acrylic Paint Last 100 Years?

It can last even longer than that. If it’s properly stored, acrylic paint has a very long shelf life. The shelf life depends on how well you store the paint. If you store your acrylic paints in an airtight container and keep them out of direct sunlight, they can last for years or decades.

How Long Is Craft Paint Good For?

Acrylic craft paints should last for at least five years if they are kept in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight. This means that if you buy any of these paints from a local craft store and keep them sealed from sunlight, then they should be good for at least five years or more as long as you don’t use them up within that time frame.

Can You Use 10 Year Old Paint?

If your old craft paint has not been opened, then yes! You can still use it after ten years or more if it has been stored in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight. If it has been opened and exposed to oxygen over the years, then maybe it has gone bad.


The biggest factors that will determine how long your acrylic paint will last are the brand and quality of paint you use, and how often you store them. Some paints can last for five years or more in decent conditions.

If you’ve had trouble storing your own paints, now you know how to keep them fresh for a long time to come.