5 Mistakes People Make When Storing Framed Artwork

Some items are harder to store safely than others. For instance, framed pictures are often heavy, bulky and difficult to fit in with other items. What's more, works of art are often more valuable than many other possessions you want to store, so it's important to find a way to adequately protect them. If you need to store some framed artwork, make sure you don't damage your precious heirlooms, and avoid the five following mistakes people sometimes make.

Failure to clean the items first

As a general rule, it's always a good idea to clean things before you move them into storage, but dust and dirt are particularly problematic on paintings. Dust and dirt are often acidic, and this acidity can accelerate the breakdown of art canvas and wood frames, especially over longer periods. As such, you should use a soft brush or a microfibre cloth to get rid of any dust and grime on the artwork and frame before you wrap or pack it.

Leaving hanging devices attached to the frame

Framers generally attach hanging devices and wires to the back of larger framed prints so you can easily hang them on the wall. These parts of the frame are relatively small, but they do protrude slightly from the back of the framed picture. Left intact, these parts can poke through packaging and may damage other items in storage.

Carefully remove and store these hanging devices before you pack up the artwork. Keep all the screws and pieces in a sealed bag, and mark up the pack in some way to help you remember which painting the bits go with when you later want to put them back on a wall.

Inadequate protection for corners

The corners of framed pictures are generally the most vulnerable. Even if you wrap a framed print in a thick cloth or some bubble wrap, the corners can pierce or stick through the packaging. It's then easy to damage these corners in transit, which could leave you with an expensive repair bill at a later stage.

Buy cardboard corners to fix around the four corners of the frame. You can buy these helpful packaging supplies in various sizes. Make sure you buy the right size for your frame, or buy the adjustable version that you can fit to your frame. Remember to fix the cardboard corners in place with some tape, or they will probably fall off in transit.

Failure to use the right packaging

There's no point scrimping on the cost of high-quality packaging for your framed pictures. For items like this that are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, it's worth investing in cardboard boxes designed especially for packing, carrying and storing framed artwork.

Storage centres often sell these boxes. Only choose boxes made with acid-free cardboard, or the acidity may start to damage the frame inside. Wrap and seal the print in bubble wrap or a plastic bag before you place it inside the box, as this will protect the framed picture from any moisture damage.

Stand the pictures on end when you pack them. Don't lay framed pictures flat or stack the framed artwork in a pile. In some cases, the frames can sometimes even collapse under their own weight.

Inappropriate storage environment

A garage, attic or basement is often not the right place to store valuable, vulnerable items like framed artwork. You need to keep any framed artwork in a safe, secure environment away from mould, mildew, dust, air pollutants and insects. What's more, you need to make sure the artwork stays at a constant temperature, away from sunlight and humidity.

The best place for your framed artwork is a professional storage unit. These storage units use the latest security and temperature control systems to protect the items stored inside. Remember to choose a unit with enough floor space for your artwork, so you don't have to stack the pictures on top of each other.

Framed pictures are bulky, awkward items to store, but damage can easily occur if you don't look after these precious pieces. Talk to a local storage company, such as Dawson Moving, for more information and advice.