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Caring for Your Artwork: How to Keep Framed Art Looking Beautiful

Receiving a new piece of art is exciting, but do you know how to care for your artwork? Making the mistake of taking the “hang it and forget it” approach can leave you with faded artwork, so follow these few tips for keeping your art pieces looking fresh for decades.

Handling Your Artwork

When handling your artwork, always take great care. No matter the media it was created in, the oils and acids on your hands can cause permanent damage, so be sure that there is a barrier between your hands and the artwork whenever you’re carrying it. Cotton gloves work best, but in a pinch, gripping it with a lint-free cloth will also do the trick.

Moving Day: Transporting Your Artwork Safely

As you’re packing up those moving boxes, resist the urge to simply nestle your prints, acrylics, and other pieces of art in a cardboard box with the rest of your belongings. Cardboard is highly acidic and can degrade the artwork. Carry framed art by the sides, and be sure that canvas art isn’t resting against something that could stretch or puncture its surface. Finally, remember not to leave your pieces in a vehicle for an extended period of time.

Strategical Displaying

The way that you display your artwork can make all the difference in how long your pieces maintain their depth and beauty. Fluctuating humidity, UV light, fireplaces, candles, cigarette smoke, and heating vents can all take their toll on your art, causing them to fade and deteriorate over time. Displaying valuable artwork in a kitchen or bathroom is never a good idea, due to the grease and humidity in the air, so you’re better off hanging your non-sentimental and easily replaced pieces in those rooms. Secure a piece of cork on the back of framed art to allow circulation and prevent mold from developing, and never use clip-on lights to highlight your artwork.

Sunlight may be among your artwork’s most feared enemies, but that doesn’t mean that you need to leave those sunny spots blank. Often, high-quality art will already have a UV protection coating, such as our canvas artwork. However, even if your piece doesn’t, there are an abundance of options available for protecting art from fading, including UV filtering glass, UV archival varnish and other clear spray coatings, and picture shield inserts. Not surprisingly, spray coatings can be difficult to apply uniformly, so before taking on the task, you may want to practice on another surface.

Don’t forget that UV filters are just that: filters. They don’t provide complete protection from the harmful light coming from the sun and some types of indoor lighting, so if possible, it’s wise to circulate your artwork seasonally to ensure that sun exposure is limited.

Keeping Your Artwork Clean

Generally speaking, keeping your artwork dust-free is all that’s necessary for regular maintenance. Every few weeks, inspect framed art for signs of mold or insects and make sure that the hangers are still secure. When using a glass cleaner on framed art, never spray it directly onto the artwork; instead, spray a little cleaner onto the lint-free cloth you’re using to clean the glass. Never clean bare artwork, such as gallery-wrapped canvas or acrylic blocks, with a commercial product or a cloth that may leave lint behind; a feather duster is all that is needed to dislodge any dust.

By taking proper care of your artwork, you can ensure that it stays beautiful for generations.

Mike LaTour - Co-founder Mike LaTour  Soundwave Art
2019 Finalist - Digital Innovation In Art Award

I spent 17 years in the music industry and have always had a love of art. Combining music, sound, and art was a perfect fit.

I’d like to thank you for visiting us and invite you to have a look around. Express your creativity and record a sentiment that will last for generations!