How to Store Paintings

Paintings are one of the most well-known forms of fine art. A painting can bring aesthetic beauty to your home or space and make a good investment. The images we choose to collect and display reflect our unique tastes and style.

If you collect many paintings, you may need to rotate them and put them in storage until you have a suitable place to display them. People often need to store paintings short-term when they move homes or redecorate.

Whenever you’re storing paintings, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure they are stored safely and properly. This guide to storing paintings will teach you how to store your artwork correctly to stay in perfect condition.

How to Preserve Paintings

how to store paintings

Artists will take specific precautions to preserve their artworks. These precautions may include glazing their paintings or applying other mediums that will maintain the canvas or paint. Museums and art galleries also look after their art collections carefully. 

You may note that art museums keep paintings in low lighting and temperature-controlled conditions. However, the average art lover can’t create a microclimate for their paintings, so follow this guide to storing paintings at home. Follow these art storage tips to protect your paintings and keep them stored safely for future enjoyment.

How to Store Paintings at Home

If you’re going to store paintings at home, you should choose your storage place carefully. Common storage spaces like the basement and attics are often unsuitable for storing artwork. Artworks like paintings need to be in a dry area free of humidity, bugs, rodents, and excessive dust. 

angelo accardi how to store paintingsHow to Store Paintings in Storage

If you’re storing paintings in a storage unit at home or elsewhere, then preparation is vital. Prep your artworks for storage by wrapping them carefully in protective materials. Avoid bubble wrap, as this can cause humidity which can affect oil paintings. 

Instead, use sheets, tissue paper, or foam. Regardless of what material you choose for padding, be sure to choose storage space with low humidity if you store your paintings in plastic.

How to Store Paintings on Paper

Paper is a good packing material for storing paintings, but avoid using newspapers, which can transfer ink and leave marks on your paintings. Instead, use acid-free unprinted paper. 

To keep paintings on paper, start by laying your artwork on a flat surface, such as acid-free boards or thicker paper. Wrap the paintings with paper, so the artwork is completely covered. Wrapping the artwork carefully helps to keep dust, bugs, or dirt away from the surface.

How to Store Paintings Long Term

Artworks are often a long-term investment or an heirloom passed from one generation to the next. It’s not uncommon for artworks to be stored long term, but they must be stored carefully. Whether you have a few sentimental paintings or a high-value art collection, it’s worth going above and beyond to ensure each of your paintings is properly stored for a long-term hibernation.

calman shemi how to store paintings

When it comes to long-term painting storage, location is key. Sunlight can damage some paintings, even when wrapped, so they should ideally be stored somewhere dark and windowless. 

Humidity is a painting’s worst nightmare because moisture is very detrimental to these artworks. You should always find a cool, dry place to store paintings, which should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in storage should be consistent as fluctuations could cause warping or expansion and contraction of the painting materials.

For long-term storage, paintings should always be flat and stored upright. While some canvas can be rolled up for transportation, paintings should not be stored long-term like this.

When storing any painting, you should use acid-free materials. Some packing materials such as masking tape or cardboard contain acid that will leach onto your artwork. Over time this could contribute to the artwork’s deterioration and cause yellowing or discoloration.

How to Store Paintings in a Frame

If you have framed paintings where the frame is delicate, you may decide to use some quality bubble wrap. Cardboard is also a good alternative for protecting glass frames. You should be particularly wary of humid locations and bugs if storing paintings in either glass or wood frames. 

how to store paintings

You should ensure the frames on your paintings are free of dust and grime before you store them. You should avoid any harsh products when cleaning frames; just use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe them down.

Storing Different Types of Paintings:

How to Store Oil Paintings

Correct oil painting storage is essential, as these paintings are often more susceptible to damage. Ensure your oil paintings are wrapped and stored in a cool, dry place. Avoid placing your paintings on concrete floors or walls. Storing your oil paintings like this could expose them to dampness, which can cause damage to your oil paintings.

How to Store Oil Paintings Long Term 

Oil paintings should be stored flat and standing up. Do not store oil paintings rolled up, as they will be susceptible to cracking. Oil paintings that are stored long-term may need occasional dusting, even when wrapped. 

How to Store Oil Paintings on Canvas

Oil paintings on canvas can be more prone to damage, especially if the paint or glaze does not entirely cover the entire canvas. If there is exposed canvas, an oil painting may be more prone to fading in the sunlight. Sunlight can severely damage canvas materials but can not as easily penetrate through oil paints. 

calman shemi how to store paintings

How to Store Acrylic Paintings

Paintings made using acrylic paint are usually more resilient in the sunlight than oil paintings. However, they should be stored similarly. If you’re storing your own acrylic artwork, you can apply varnish or coatings as an added layer of protection. A coating such as Kamar varnish can protect paintings that use oil, acrylic, or watercolor paints. This varnish also allows the paintings to be reworked.

How to Store Pastel Paintings

You should always store pastel paintings carefully like other artworks. However, pastel is one of the most easily damaged painting mediums, so you should take extra care with pastel paintings. Pastel paintings are always in danger of smudging, and artist fixative usually makes the colors dull, so many artists avoid using it.

To safely store pastel paintings, you can use acid-free artist tape to protect the corners. Then use a sheet of acid-free foam board and paper to cover the artwork. As with oil and acrylic paintings, the artwork should then be stored in a dry, temperature-controlled, and clean space. 

Storing & Collecting Paintings

By taking the right preventative measures and properly storing your artworks, you should be able to keep your paintings for a lifetime. You can buy and collect original paintings as an investment or enjoy and display them in your home. Eden Gallery online has a wide selection of original paintings for sale by contemporary artists.

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