Works of art on paper are beautiful but inherently fragile. Prints can age not only from the condition of the paper and the materials used, but also from exposure to light, heat, humidity and air pollution. Poor framing can also add to the stress on art prints. To protect art prints, it's important that they be stored in ways that minimize both physical damage (e.g., tears, creases, holes) and environmental damage (e.g., fading, bleeding, running colors, insect damage).
Things You'll Need
- Flat-file cabinets
- Archival cardboard boxes
- Cotton gloves
- Mylar sleeves
- Acid-free-paper backing board
- Acid-free-paper folders
Protecting Your Art Prints
Store your prints flat, never rolled. Use a special flat file cabinet (metal or wood) big enough to store large-sized prints. Prints may also be stored in acid-free cardboard boxes with reinforced corners. Cabinets, however, provide more protection from physical damage and from light and dust. Store art prints horizontally.
Handle prints with cotton gloves. Much of the damage to art prints is caused by a reaction from the body oil from your fingers that comes into contact with the print. Wash and dry your hands before handling prints, then use cotton gloves to protect your prints from any residual oil, dirt and chemicals.
Separate your prints in the storage drawer; prints may react, smudge or yellow if they come into contact with one another. Each print can be individually stored in a 4-mil. Mylar sleeve with a cardboard backing board to keep prints from creasing. The backing board must be acid free and buffered with calcium to neutralize acid in the print. An alternative to Mylar sleeves are acid-free-paper folders.
Control the heat and humidity in the area where your prints are stored. Prints should be stored between 50 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and at a relative humidity of 40 percent to 80 percent. Beware of heated rooms in the winter, which are often too dry, and direct sunlight in the summer, which can bake prints in their cabinets.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
How to Store Art Drawings
If you've begun a love of art and drawing chances are you have been storing up drawing after drawing and you just...
How to Store Canvas Oil Paintings
The painting has captured your eye at the auction, and suddenly you're the winning bidder. Never mind that the painting has to...
How to Restore Lithographs
A lithograph is a printed copy of an original piece of artwork. However, lithographs can be extremely valuable due to the process...
How to Store Posters
Posters are used primarily as promotional pieces, and when they are initially created it is unlikely that the printer put any thought...
How to Store Art Frames
Having the right space to store art frames will make the difference between having frames that are perfect for your pictures or...
How to Store Framed Art
Taking the time to ensure your framed artwork is stored properly is well worth the effort; otherwise, some of your favorite pieces...
How to Store Blue Prints
Architects, contractors, engineers and other professionals often have blueprints filling up their office at work and home in a disorganized and scattered...
Which Spices Work to Get Rid of Silverfish?
Silverfish are small, fast-moving insects that live in dark places such as drawers, bookshelves and cupboards. They consume cellulose--an insoluble substance that...
The Best Way to Store Posters
Selling and stocking posters is not only a retail business, but it also provides a mail-order opportunity. Posters are almost always printed...