Checklist on Caring for Your Art

Written by Mark Rogers

When you’re an artist, you may often leave artwork out in the studio or stored safely away. Sometimes, however, your studio or the materials and location you select to store your artwork can have detrimental consequences on your art in the long term.

The Studio Environment

If you create your artwork in a studio, it’s important to ensure the environment itself doesn’t cause damage.

Follow these steps to reduce harm caused by the environment to your artwork:

Weatherproof your studio: No one wants to enter the studio to find that a hole in the roof let in water that destroyed the collection. Changes in temperature and humidity due to drafty windows can also quickly cause damage.

Reduce the light: Studios are often brightly lit, with lots of windows or lighting. However, direct sunlight can fade and damage art. Control direct daylight with blinds, shutters, or UV-treated acrylic film.

Clean the air: Minimize impurities with air filters. Air pollutants, which range from dust to VOCs emitted from paint or plastics, can cause artwork to deteriorate.

Keep the studio clean: This may be difficult for artists who work better in chaos, but clutter is an invitation for bugs, causes a fire hazard, and contributes to airborne dust and debris. Make sure that you set all of your clean art supplies away when not in use, keeping the room clear of clutter.

Regulate temperature and humidity: Keep your studio well ventilated, as high levels of humidity can cause irreversible damage to artwork. Install controls to ensure the temperature and humidity levels stay at safe levels.

There are plenty of tools and environmental controls to help keep your art safe from harm while in storage or the studio:

  • Hygrometer, which measures humidity, or humidity indicator cards
  • Thermometer
  • Humidifier and dehumidifier
  • Air conditioning unit or ceiling fan
  • Fluorescent light sleeves
  • Blinds, shutters, or ultraviolet-treated acrylic film
  • Air vent filters
  • Insect-repellent strips

The Storage Materials for Artwork

Artwork that must be put away must be stored properly to ensure it stays in pristine condition.

To prevent the loss of precious artwork or photographs, it’s important to set yourself up for storage success with the right materials:

Select archival or museum-quality products: Archival and museum-quality generally means that the materials are acid-free and suitable for long-term storage. Frame Destination, for example, carries a number of museum-quality framing and storage materials, such as acid-free photo storage boxes and acid-free tissue.

Check the labels: Make sure that no known damaging materials were used in the product, especially plastics. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other unknown plastics should be avoided, according to the Library of Congress. Safe plastics include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET). Our protective clear bags and print sleeves are made from plastics such as polypropylene and polyester.

Gain knowledge: Learn about the compatibility of materials you combine and what various environmental factors cause the most damage to framed pictures and other artwork.

Find the right archival storage materials to keep your artwork safe, and make sure your studio is in the right condition for artwork that’s out in the open. There is plenty you can do in your studio and in storage to protect your artwork from damage.

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