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Shelf life?


Chrome
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I haven't painted in years. I mean like 6 or 7. I doubt my old Reaper pots are any good, but I opened one bottle of MSP and got a drop out of it rather easily.

 

They've all been stored in a shoe box, in a dry, cool room, unopened. Any chance they're still good? Is there a risk that they look OK out of the bottle, but something bad will happen once they dry on a fig?

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I find that it varies. I bought about 30 reaper pots a month ago from a FLGS that didn't know about the new paints. about 25 of them were useful and only 2 of the remaining 5 could be revived. The pots had to have been there a good 4 or 5 years.

 

Though with a couple of the good ones, there are some 'minor' paint boogers in them. (I call them paint boogers! When the paint dries and bunches up into a.....booger...) But other than that the paint is fine.

Edited by MissMelons
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Shake the paint. Still sloshy? Still good. It may need a little distilled water if its too thick. Buglips has done some great work with resurrection paint that's dried to past 'pudding' texture to 'moist cheesecake', but the ways of goblins and paints are mysterious and arcane....

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Odds are it's still okay, unless it's been exposed to heat or had a large gap to let lots of air in. You'll probably find, in the pots, a skim of dried film. That's a plus, because that's as good as a cap seal. The paint underneath should be okay, just varying kinds of thick.

 

The only way it's all the way dead is if it is dried solid. Jam a toothpick in and see how much it resists. If it's dead, it should resist a good bit. If not, you should be able to pry it apart. Add a few drops of water, stir. If it reacts and revitalizes, continue to stir and slowly add water until you get consistency near normal.

 

If the paint is grainy, or it just breaks into smaller chunks instead of diluting, it's toast. If it looks normal, it ought to be good.

 

Overall, paint is pretty hard to kill.

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I used to be a Blick employee; "paint life" is a question we were asked a lot!

At the time, someone asked Liquitex (now owned/made by a different company, but still a quality product) what the typical shelf life of tube paints was.

They told us it was about 5-6 years for acrylics, and 40+years for oil paints (don't forget that's tube paints, which are quite a bit thicker).

 

This was maybe 20-years ago; I'm sure the acrylic binders have improved a bit, and although the plastic coated-aluminum tubes that Liquitex uses are super easy to read (great for a store display)... since you can't roll up the end (like an old-fashioned lead/aluminum tube), you can't squeeze the air out of them completely. Toothpaste tubes are also this way (well... now they are), but toothpaste is used up/trashed in a relatively short time.

 

Switching from pots to the Reaper/Vallejo dropper bottles was a good idea for keeping air out, and probably for adding years onto the shelf life of your paints.

I also had some Armory paint from the 80s that was still usable (thanks to using glass bottles). A nice thing about the newer plastic bottles; you don't need a pair of pliers to get the caps off. :(

 

 

Tip: a rule of thumb I learned about the quality of acrylics that you would like to check out, but never tried/seen before... the more it smells like household ammonia, the cheaper it is (not an absolute, but holds true almost all the time).

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Tip: a rule of thumb I learned about the quality of acrylics that you would like to check out, but never tried/seen before... the more it smells like household ammonia, the cheaper it is (not an absolute, but holds true almost all the time).

Interesting. Now I want to go test that.

 

Acylic paints all contain some ammonia as part of their stabilizers. It's one of the reasons their pH is so alkaline, which in turn is one of the reasons they are safer to paint lead with than oil paints are.

 

I am wondering if the cheaper paints overdo the ammonia.

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Interesting. Now I want to go test that.

 

Acylic paints all contain some ammonia as part of their stabilizers. It's one of the reasons their pH is so alkaline, which in turn is one of the reasons they are safer to paint lead with than oil paints are.

 

I am wondering if the cheaper paints overdo the ammonia.

 

 

I worked there ~20-years, and got to see every kind of paint imaginable; finger paint - tempera - water color - gouache - acrylic - oil - glass window paint - inks for block printing - lettering enamel for the sides of fire trucks/plumbers vans/etc (and the list goes on).

 

Pretty much all the water based paints had some sort of ammonia smell. The better the quality, the weaker the smell; the cheaper the quality, the stronger the smell (and that rule was pretty consistent).

New product line? Low price? Looks like it will take 5-coats to be semi-opaque? Open cap... take a whiff... smells like you should scrub the kitchen floor with it.

Higher price/better brand/sold as a better quality product; Open cap... take a sniff... subtle ammonia smell.

 

Perhaps the reason is simple... better paints = more pigment and higher quality materials.

Is that pint of paint 50% pigment and 50% binder; or is it 10% pigment and 90% binders? You have to fill the bottle with a full pint of something, if you're selling it as a pint.

 

Preservatives are also important! You bottle of black is probably ground cow-bone that's charred. I guess I don't have to explain what happens to something that was once alive that isn't preserved against decay (the smell after a few years is a dead giveaway) :wacko:

 

And once acrylics freeze, they're most likely done for. They can get to be damned cold and be just fine, but once ice forms in the bottle it's pretty much instant paint-death (now the water has separated from the pigments/binders).

It's time to get a replacement, no amount of mixing will bring it back to normal. Obviously, this isn't an issue with oil-based and alcohol-based paints/inks.

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Interesting. Now I want to go test that.

Acylic paints all contain some ammonia as part of their stabilizers. It's one of the reasons their pH is so alkaline, which in turn is one of the reasons they are safer to paint lead with than oil paints are.

I am wondering if the cheaper paints overdo the ammonia.

 

I worked there ~20-years, and got to see every kind of paint imaginable; finger paint - tempera - water color - gouache - acrylic - oil - glass window paint - inks for block printing - lettering enamel for the sides of fire trucks/plumbers vans/etc (and the list goes on).

 

Pretty much all the water based paints had some sort of ammonia smell. The better the quality, the weaker the smell; the cheaper the quality, the stronger the smell (and that rule was pretty consistent).

New product line? Low price? Looks like it will take 5-coats to be semi-opaque? Open cap... take a whiff... smells like you should scrub the kitchen floor with it.

Higher price/better brand/sold as a better quality product; Open cap... take a sniff... subtle ammonia smell.

 

Perhaps the reason is simple... better paints = more pigment and higher quality materials.

Is that pint of paint 50% pigment and 50% binder; or is it 10% pigment and 90% binders? You have to fill the bottle with a full pint of something, if you're selling it as a pint.

 

Preservatives are also important! You bottle of black is probably ground cow-bone that's charred. I guess I don't have to explain what happens to something that was once alive that isn't preserved against decay (the smell after a few years is a dead giveaway) :wacko:

 

And once acrylics freeze, they're most likely done for. They can get to be damned cold and be just fine, but once ice forms in the bottle it's pretty much instant paint-death (now the water has separated from the pigments/binders).

It's time to get a replacement, no amount of mixing will bring it back to normal. Obviously, this isn't an issue with oil-based and alcohol-based paints/inks.

QFT.

 

I'm not aware of many acrylic lines that make a bone black, but your point is well taken.

 

In my professional work I tend to make my own paints. Each pigment is unique, and sometimes kind of weird.

 

Ultramarine blue has a tendency to smell faintly like an open sewer of rotten eggs (although for some reason my jar of ultramarine red smells like Sweetarts candy). It's also thixotropic when wetted, like corn starch; if approached quickly it acts like a semisolid cake, but if scooped into slowly it is gooey.

 

My bone black hasn't decayed, despite being mixed with nothing but distilled water and kept in a jar for the last fifteen years. But my natural clay yellow ochres are prone to algae growth, especially if they sit in the sun, if I don't add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the jar.

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@Chrome - I still have some of my original release of Reaper MSP in good order. If the caps are tight, and there are no temperature issues you'll be fine. Might want to add a little distilled water and/or acrylic medium to loosen them up if they've gotten a little too thick. Just have to shake hell out of them.

 

If they are in a box, toss them on top of your washer for a couple loads of laundry. It will give them a bit of mixing without killing your elbow/wrist.

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