How to Protect Your Wall Art and Retain its Freshness

Let's say you have a lovely piece of artwork that's been hanging in your home for years. You think it's high time for a change, and now you want to put your wall art away for future use again. And of course, to accommodate the new art pieces. Do you reckon it's as easy as throwing Saran wrap in there?

 Four words. Not a good idea.

 Saran-wrapping is not good for storing artwork. We'll get into that a bit more later. But first, you should know that there's a lot of risks that come when you're storing wall art. It’s also a costly venture, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

 But that’s why we’re here discussing how to protect your wall art and keep them fresh for longer.

 How to Protect Your Wall Art

 Wall art hanging around the house can get dusty with age. Some canvas prints may even be subject to discoloration after years of use. And even if your artwork doesn't have any visible wear or tear, it's still ideal to take preemptive measures to keep dirt from accumulating.

 So, in this article, we'll talk about how to store your artwork, how to clean them, and then what you can do to keep them in a nice and safe place for future use.

 Creating the Right Storage Room

 Common causes of soiling and artwork damage can be attributed to improper storage. Lots of prints, and especially paints, are sensitive to light. For this reason, experts strongly advise people to be wary of placing artwork in front of sun-facing windows.

 One of your best options for choosing a room to store your art in a closet or a small unused office. The room should be finished, though; and should be devoid of air vents or open windows.

 Steer clear of basements and attics, unless they're finished and have climate control. Be thoughtful about musty smells, mold, and dust accumulation as these three are indicators of bigger problems.

 And last but not least, avoid choosing an art storage room that has an exterior wall. Ideally, the room you choose to store artwork should be completely inside the house. That easily solves the problem of windows bringing in harsh sunlight and weather factor, which damage artwork and may cause them to fade.

 Maintaining the Right Climate

 Ideal humidity to store artwork is 40% to 50% with temperatures between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (or 21-24 degrees Celsius). You can easily make this possible with a humidifier. 

 Extreme climate conditions inside a room cause warping, cracked paint, yellowed papers, and mold growth. Your primary enemy is a rapid change in temperature or humidity.

 Age of the artwork (especially in paintings) are considered. But regardless of whether or not your wall art is antique or not, it's better to live by what is right. Avoid changing humidity of more than 5% in 24 hours.

Preparing Your Wall Art for Storage

The biggest reason why paintings and other forms of canvas prints become dirty, discolored, or damaged is because of everyone's worst enemy: natural aging. But when you properly store your artwork, you can take some steps to limit the damage that natural aging inevitably causes.

Common symptoms of an artwork that is subjecting to age include discoloration, cracks, flaking paint, and warping.

Before that happens, take care to remember the following.

#1 Cleaning Wall Art

 You can either clean wall art yourself, or take it to a professional. Deciding on either means you need to consider the value of the piece. If you artwork is a family heirloom that costs millions of dollars, don't risk a DIY cleaning. Visit a professional restorer.

However, if you do decide to clean the artwork yourself, you need to properly identify the type of damage that's on the artwork. If the problem is age-related, you should visit professionals to do restoration for you. But if it's dirty, you can do it yourself -- albeit carefully.

●     Soft, dry brushes: Dust it lightly with a soft and dry brush. Also, make sure that there is no paint or moisture on the bristles before you clean your wall art with it. 

●     Spit: Your saliva doesn't have the same structure as water, and is less likely to damage artwork. But don't just carelessly spit a loogie onto your artwork and start aggressively rubbing. Moisten a cotton swab or a q-tip with saliva and gently wipe the surface of the painting.

 Never use water or cleaning products. Water changes the dimension of the canvas. It also washes out additives that are in acrylic paint. And chemical cleaning products have color-changing properties, and they stain your artwork instead of removing the dirt.

 #2 Utilize Crescent Boards

 Crescent boards are used by art storage experts. It's an acid-free professional mounting board that keeps art from touching each other when stacked or when it's aboard transit. This way, your wall art is protected, but it can still breathe.

 #3 Find Acid-free Framing Materials

 While you're preparing your artwork for storage, find acid-free framing materials. Acid can make your wall art age faster, and will also dye the back of the print or the canvas. That affects the value of your piece and its visual quality negatively.

#4 Wrap Professionally

This part is best done by consulting professionals. As we mentioned earlier, it's not uncommon for homeowners and collectors to saran-wrap their art and try to add extra protection with styrofoam and cardboard. It looks safe. But what you're actually doing is trapping humidity inside.

#5 Don't Store Wall Art on the Ground

Never store artwork on the ground. It should always be off the floor. In your storage room, mount wall shelves on the wall, or a riser. And if you have the extra space, hang your wall art in the storage room. This way, you don't need to invest in extra protection while it's laying stacked against other pieces on the floor.

But if you really need to stack pieces because you have minimal space, store your wall art like how you would arrange books on a bookshelf -- no flat sides down or piled.

Protecting Wall Art Takes Diligence

Now that you're aware of how to protect your wall art efficiently as you store them, you're now ready to make sound decisions on how to keep your artwork safe. With advice from the professionals, and strict attention to detail, you can effectively secure your wall art collection.


Katherine Belle is a contributor at Enjoy Canvas. She goes to great lengths to seek out new interior designs every time. She likes reading, designing, and of course, writing about interior design.