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CashWiley

Freezing paint

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Usually, stuff shipped by truck (especially with the USPS or UPS/FedEx) doesn't spend more than a day or so inside a specific truck, and it's almost always stored inside a building inbetween truck rides.

 

I live in New England, and end up painting under some pretty cold conditions sometimes. Sometimes we lose power and have no heat in the house for a day or two. I've also accidentally left paints in my car for several days during the winter. Cold paints tend to be a bit sluggish and thick, but still usable. Getting them back into fighting shape is generally just a matter of slowly warming them back up to room temp. Over the years, I've had a couple bottles end up going a bit chalky on me after prolonged exposure to cold temps, but not many.

In general, decent paints are pretty hard to kill. I've never had a problem with any of my Reaper paints, and my old Parthas are still perfectly functional after twenty years or more on some of them.

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My new mailman isn't the greatest (bent and wet magazines etc), but he's good with packages and usually shows up right around the time I'm home for lunch (benefit of living 3 minutes from work, 54 minutes at home in the middle of the day).

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So, if the people shipping this stuff don't trust UPS to keep it at room temperature, I wouldnt.

 

I wouldn't trust the people at UPS with anything, much less sensitive stuff. I've gotten packages from them that looked like they used them as a football!

 

But that being said, remember that stuff in a truck, packed in with a bunch of other stuff, out of the elements, doesn't get nearly as cold as your fingers do out in those elements. If it's 20 degrees outside, your stuff is probably sitting around at 30-ish. Unless you live in the arctic paint freezing shouldn't be much of a problem.

Edited by redambrosia
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It seems to me that a shipping company would have a vested interest in keeping parcels in climate controlled containers to avoid this very thing from occurring. Otherwise they would be liable for damage from the elements while in their possession. If your worried that they would leave the package on your doorstep that would allow time enough to freeze, you could request that Reaper send the parcel with a signature required upon receipt. Then if your not there to sign for the delivery it would go back to the UPS distribution center. You could then call UPS and request to pick up the package at a near by UPS center.

 

Just a thought.

You'd think so. However, my experience with receiving temperature sensitive items indicates that's not necessarily the case, or at least that companies shipping a product for which temperature control is critical tend to take steps to minimize the environmental effect. In the case of products I've dealt with, that's meant shipping overnight (to minimize the time spent in uncontrolled environments) and sometimes packaging the stuff in insulated containers. So, if the people shipping this stuff don't trust UPS to keep it at room temperature, I wouldnt.

 

 

 

I sometimes get chocolate from a company that refuses to ship it during the summer months, talking of heat-sensitivity.

 

As for acrylic paint, I froze some once as an experiment to see what would happen. It got horrible, spongy and curdled in a pool of liquid. Utterly unusable.

 

But that was in a freezer for a long time. I don't know what a temporary environmental chill would do.

 

I will say, I once painted in near-freezing conditions. It was one of those huge fiberglass public art sculptures, the sort cities scatter around their downtown areas. My unheated garage was the only place big enough to hold the thing, and it was a very cold month's painting, with occasional sleet. I kept my paints in a pan of warm water.

 

One weird thing -- I found out if the temperature was below 45 degrees fahrenheit, the paint did not dry. It did not freeze, but it stayed wet a long time, like oil paints do, and I was able to do a lot more subtle blending than acrylics normally allow.

 

However, I had to use a hair dryer to warm the paint enough to dry, a few square inches at a time, over a pretty enormous sculpture. Ugh.

 

At least I could turn the hair dryer on my fingers every few minutes.

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But that being said, remember that stuff in a truck, packed in with a bunch of other stuff, out of the elements, doesn't get nearly as cold as your fingers do out in those elements. If it's 20 degrees outside, your stuff is probably sitting around at 30-ish. Unless you live in the arctic paint freezing shouldn't be much of a problem.

 

I unloaded trucks for three years, and my position (self-appointed, because I was the manager!) was inside the truck throwing freight onto the conveyor. I'm intimately familiar with conditions inside an unheated trailer in sub zero temps :) And oddly I really miss that job, there's something zen-like about it.

 

Anyway, as much fun as this thread has been, the bottom line is Bryan's quote about shipping tons of paint with almost zero returns due to this potential issue. So I'll go with that until I have a reason not to! I will test the yellows, just in case. I'll probably do the paint dab on the cap thing, so I'll just get going on that sooner than planned.

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One weird thing -- I found out if the temperature was below 45 degrees fahrenheit, the paint did not dry. It did not freeze, but it stayed wet a long time, like oil paints do, and I was able to do a lot more subtle blending than acrylics normally allow.

 

However, I had to use a hair dryer to warm the paint enough to dry, a few square inches at a time, over a pretty enormous sculpture. Ugh.

 

Begin science digression.

 

1) Evaporation takes lots of energy (540 calories per gram heat of vaporization for water). In most circumstances, that energy comes from the container and the air. (That's why perspiration cools you off.) When the temp is low, much less energy is available.

 

2) Low-temperature air can carry much less water vapor (which is why relative humidity varies so much with temperature). When the relative humidity is close to 100%, net evaporation slows way down. (Evaporation continues at its usual pace, but condensation occurs at almost the same rate.)

 

The combination results in very slow drying.

 

End science digression.

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Argh! My postman is killing me!

 

I've been home all day, going outside about every hour or so to check the mailbox, and last time I go out find a fricken' parcel laying on the door step! Dude, at least ring the damn door bell, it's literally an inch or two away from you!

 

So my learn to paint kit has been out in -20 temperatures for at least an hour, maybe 90 minutes, totally unnecessarily! Geez, so damn frustrating.

 

So I'm cuddling all my paints in my hands, hoping they warm up and are ok. As a beginner, I hope I can recognize good paint from ruined paint.

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trust me. you will recognize the difference. If it's frozen, it will be lumpy, almost the consistency of artificial snow, and the best you can get out of it is a consistency of coloured water that is no good for anything. Been there before.

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Pretty cool, bumping this topic like that. I find it very reassuring.

 

Anyway, I suspect that under 2 hours in sub-zero weather will not ruin your paints.

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I don't know whether this helps or not, but my paints regularly get frozen and I've never had any problems once they've thawed.

 

Granted, they're mostly P3 paints, but it shouldn't be too different.

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This thread is reassuring me a bit. It was super warm when I decided to risk paints for the 12 days of reaper... and it's been snowing since the weekend here. I'm probably not ordering any paint until spring though.

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Acrylic paints generally have solvents in them to help against freeze-thaw cycles.

 

That doesn't mean you can get really careless with them, but it does give a little buffer against freezing damage.

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I've been using the paints I was posting about last year all year long without any problems. I did have a chalky white that I stopped using just in case that was the issue (since I had several Pure Whites from L2PKs/KS). But I've used dozens of paints and they're awesome.

 

Referencing the other thread, I need to find something to paint with Christmas Wreath green to see if the bottle that sat out in low 20s for four hours in my mailbox was affected.

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