Artwork Storage Tips: Artwork requires some special handling so it doesn’t get damaged while in storage
If you have artwork you’re not displaying in your home, it makes sense to store your artwork properly, whether it’s going into a closet or a rental self storage facility. Regardless of sentimental or monetary value, it pays to protect your property. Here are a few artwork storage tips by our moving and storage experts at Lock & Leave.
- Clean the paintings. Use an artist’s brush that has soft, natural hair, rather than cleaning cloths or feather dusters which could leave threads behind. Brush the painting slowly and carefully in a single direction, then repeat the process by cleaning in the opposite direction. Skip this step if the painting is damaged or flaking, or if it has a matte (not shiny) finish. Clean off wood frames, and wipe metal objects with oil to discourage rust. Spray wood frames and components with polish for added protection.
- Framed artwork. Cardboard corners on the edges of a painting will help maintain its structural integrity. Wrap the artwork in blankets, felt or foam to protect it against moisture, and seal with packing tape. Avoid bubble wrap because it can trap moisture inside. Pad the front and back of the artwork with hardboard and secure it with tape. Ideally, you want to store the pieces separately, instead of laying them against each other or on top of one another. The weight of the frames on top can crack the pieces below. If you have to save space, use a painting rack or padding to stack them. You can also find boxes specifically made for storing paintings at packing supply stores.
- Unframed art. Don’t roll up unframed works in an art tube. A cardboard tube is a good way to transport paintings safely, but over time it can cause creases and cracks in the paint. Instead, wrap the pieces in glassine, which is airtight and water-resistant. Once you’ve done that, pad the front and back with a sturdy material slightly larger than the artwork itself. Use materials such as foam board, cardboard or plywood, and secure with tape. You may want to store the art on pallets or shelving to keep it off the ground and protect it from moisture and dust.
- Avoid heat and sunlight. If you’re not storing the artwork in a facility with climate control, don’t place the artwork near windows or heating vents; you don’t want to expose them to sunlight – which can cause fading – or heat, which can dry up artwork.
- Photo storage. Store photos in airtight plastic containers and wrapped in acid-free paper. Acid-free cardboard boxes are available at art supply stores.
- Storing sculptures. Store sculptures in cardboard boxes surrounded by crushed packing paper or Styrofoam packing material.
Don’t forget insurance. Consider purchasing insurance for artwork placed in storage. Ask your facility manager about insurance options. These precautions will safeguard your artwork so you can enjoy it for many years to come when you want to reclaim it from the storage facility.
Need to put some of your items in storage? Call us today to speak with one of our trained self storage and moving professionals and find out about our convenient locations in Placentia and San Bernardino, California.
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