storage paintings

Paintings, Art and Storage.

Let’s discuss Paintings, Art work and Self Storage.

Here are a few tips on how you can protect your paintings and artwork by putting them into a storage unit.

If you’re an art work collector, or just someone with a few valuable paintings you want to protect and place into storage during a life event such as moving or a death in the family.  We’ll go over a few helpful storage tips for preserving, transporting, protecting artwork and paintings.

Advice from the Experts

Keep it cool.

When it comes to storing artwork and paintings, there are no more crucial factors than temperature or humidity. Cracks and warping are just two of the dangers presented by fluctuating climate.  Talk to your local self storage expert about climate control options.

Many facilities provide dehumidifiers for their climate-controlled units. To ensure the safety and longevity of your artwork, maintain a level of 40-50% humidity and a temperature range of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re comfortable, your stored items will be as well.

According to The Conservation Register, the biggest risks to a painting or other works of art are:

1).  Breakages, tears, loose and missing elements, impacts, smudges.

2).  Fingerprints etched into polished surfaces.

3).  Stains and marks from skin contact, eating, smoking, cosmetics and other domestic chemicals.

4).  Introduction of materials and conditions that encourage pests or other environmental damage: foods, other infested objects, poor storage materials, central heating, damp, strong light.

How to Pack Paintings.

Contrary to popular belief (i.e. the Internet), you don’t want to wrap the painting completely in plastic. An airtight seal can create what is essentially a little greenhouse around your artwork, which could be a disaster.

The use of plastic really depends on the storage situation.

When it comes to wrapping the painting, it has to be framed and NOTHING should come into contact with the painted surface.  An unframed piece should be prepared for storage by a professional art handler or conservator.

For framed paintings, you can wrap the work in tissue paper or another breathable material. Ensure you have appropriate padding and support to protect any delicate or ornate parts of the frame: bubble wrap, styro-foam supports, work well here.

*Remember to make sure that nothing touches the surface of the painting*.

Once your framed paintings are wrapped appropriately, place the works into a card board box. You should use a thick, sturdy box like a moving company would supply. Individual cardboard boxes are ideal, but if you need to consolidate, separate each painting with a cardboard divider. The cardboard boxes and tissue paper both allow the painting to “breathe” while still being protected from the elements.  Once you’ve got them all snug and settled, snap a photograph of your paintings in their storage location.

Pro tip: Do not use packing peanuts.

Peanuts don’t work in a painting box and can actually cause damage.  Peanuts will settle to the bottom of the box and as the box gets jostled about in transit, the bottom of the box will flex and expand, allowing more peanuts to concentrate there. The space at the top of the box will be left unprotected.

How to Transport Paintings.

Transporting art can be one of the most dangerous procedures, and should be approached carefully.  If you are unsure and are in need of help to move your artwork or paintings consult with a local expert.  There are service providers that will pack, or build a crate and transport artwork.

Transporting the paintings and art yourself?

Here are some suggestions:

Assume you will have to brake hard on your way home. Make sure your paintings and artwork don’t flop around, or worse, become a missile if you stop suddenly.

Generally, it is better to transport artwork on an edge rather than flat. When laying flat, something (or someone) could fall, flop or sit on your paintings.

If you must lay the artwork flat, “slide them forward against something solid in case you have to stop quickly. Proactively minimize the opportunity for sudden impact. Bringing a blanket or pillow for extra cushioning is also recommended.

How to Store Paintings.

Here are some important storage tips to remember.

Never store artwork someplace dry or damp.

Attics and basements are a bad idea. Someplace with consistent temperature and moderate humidity, like a climate controlled storage unit is a much better option.

Rack, don’t stack.
If you must lay your painting or paintings flat, use a rack to keep the artwork off the ground (frames and canvases can absorb dampness from concrete and other materials) and each other.

Keep paintings away from fluctuating temperatures.

If there is a furnace in your storage space, or inadequate heating or cooling, the sudden changes can damage your art.

Stay away from the sun.

Direct sunlight can fade colors. Keep paintings covered with an acid-free cloth or simply leave the artwork in its travel packaging.

Self Storage: The Safest Option

If you plan to keep your paintings or art work in storage for an extended period of time, be safe — work with professionals. Self Storage can provide climate and temperature controlled storage, clean, secure units and the peace of mind.  Use our online guide to find climate controlled self storage near you.

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