Confused about how to preserve the beautiful acrylic painting you got as a birthday gift?
Here’s a helpful guide for caring for your cherished artwork, no matter what media it was created in.
Never rub the surface of the art with your bare fingers as the acids, essential oils, and salts on your skin can appear onto the artwork and cause permanent harm. If you must touch the art, wear gloves, preferably cotton gloves.
Artwork not displayed should be kept in the dark, dry, clean, and well-ventilated area in cold temperatures and humidity levels that do not vary significantly. Avoid putting the paintings in attics, basements, or garages as severe moisture and warmth can harm the artwork.
Store unframed art flat with acid-free paper separating each item, or store specific items in archival-quality bags. Don’t store art between cardboard, as it is extremely acidic and can corrupt artwork over time.
Store art built with pencils, pastels, or crayons between glass to bypass damaging and rubbing the fragile artwork. Preferably weave the item first with an acid-free mat and then wrap it with glass to protect the artwork from any contact with its cover. Do not store unframed art in shipping tubes for any period. Remove the art as soon as you can and lay it horizontal until you are about to frame it. Do not store framed art directly on the floor. Rather, keep the artwork on shelves or blocks.
Don’t ever forget your artwork in your car for long periods. Carry framed artwork by the sides and duck resting canvas against any items that may harm the surface.
It is crucial to have your artwork matted with an acid-free mat. Bad quality mats may ruin art over time due to the chemicals in the board that can carry to the artwork. The same is valid for lining your art with cardboard, which also has chemicals that may cause a stain.
Never use white glue or rubber cement to adhere to the art to a surface as it can harm your precious artwork.
Art created with pencil, pastels, charcoal, or ink should be framed under glass. You may use Plexiglas only for ink or pencil drawings. Any charcoal or pastel artwork may be degraded by the build-up of electrostatic charge emitted from Plexiglas and related plastics. Make sure to thoroughly seal the back seams of the frame and aid with acid-free tape. To further shield your print from dangerous UV rays, you can request your framer to utilize glare-free glass, which has a UV protective coating to house the artwork in the frame.
Since approximately all laminating materials have UV inhibitors in them, it makes sense to analyze this option for protecting your photos, prints, digital, and other artwork such as sensitive charcoals and pastels.
Talk to a photo store to ensure that this process will not harm the artwork you’re thinking of laminating. Either bring your photo or print to a photoshop to have it professionally laminated to a base, or employ a laminating machine if you would instead use a frame.