How to store paintings

Over time it’s inevitable that we will have to move home and this move means that we may have to store paintings. At Keepsafe Storage we have put together a guide to help you prepare to store your valuable paintings.

The first thing to consider is that you must ensure that the paintings stay dry. This is one of the reasons why you should use a self storage space at Keepsafe Storage rather than storing your paintings at a friend’s place or relatives. You cannot guarantee that the storage space that they have will stay dry. Importantly storage spaces are not accessed frequently preventing incidental damage.

Ideally the best place to store them would be to be hanging them up somewhere but this may not be possible.

  1. Keep it clean. Make sure that whenever you handle a painting that your hands are scrupulously clean as any dirt on your hands will be transferred to the canvas very easily. Make sure there is no oil on your hands or dirty marks as this will easily damage the canvas.
  2. Remove jewellery – it’s very easy for jewellery to catch the edge of a painting or a ring to scrape past the surface of a painting and damage the surface so please remove all jewellery when you handle any art piece. By some in cotton gloves to handle the paintings just like you see on the television shows, they use them for a reason!
  3. Be careful how you lift the painting – never lift a painting from the top as you could pull the frame away from the canvas because the painting is most likely heavy always you to hands from the side supported by the bottom corner.
  4. Be careful dusting and cleaning – never dust a painting if there is any flaked paint on the surface of the canvas and only use and others paintbrush a soft here brush or a piece of velvet place the painting facing up on a soft surface and make sure that the painting is inclined so that as you brush from the top to the bottom of the dust will fall to the bottom. Use extremely slow brushstrokes and do not use much pressure. Do not use stiff brushes or further dusters. Also swap the painting around and dust from the bottom to the top as well.
  5. Be careful with cleaners – do not under any circumstances use any household cleaners or liquids to clean paintings. If you’re painting needs professionally cleaned talk to your local art gallery or look up for an art curator who can help with this cleaning. You will damage the painting with any cleaner.
  6. Do not store the paintings in a damp spot. Roof spaces and basements are often damp. Constant temperature storage is ideal.
  7. Always use padding between paintings and make sure that there is no ink or printing on this padding. Use a painting rack if possible.
  8. Never store your paintings on a concrete floor as dampness can potentially rise through the concrete.
  9. Avoid significant temperature and humidity changes. As you mentally changes the canvas will stretch and make the painting flop in the frame.
  10. Do not store your paintings in direct sunlight, preferably store them in a darkened room as light makes all paintings deteriorate.
  11. Ask for advice on specialist packaging if paintings have to be transported via removalist. Some plastics if they get hot can adhere to painting services so painting should be carefully wrapped in acid free paper then bubble wrapped.

At Keepsafe Storage we can help you store paintings. As paintings are valuable it’s important that you take out specific self storage insurance to cover you in the unlikely event of a mishap.

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