A Quick Start Guide to Packing Fine Artwork for Storage

The safest place for artwork is on your walls, but sometimes you need a change. Whether you are moving or redecorating, there are special precautions you should take when you pack fine art for storage.

What you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Furniture polish or metal polish for frames
  • White gloves
  • Acid-free glassine paper
  • Silicone release paper
  • Bubble wrap or storage blankets
  • Crescent board

Clean Your Art

Use a microfiber cloth to remove dust and clean the canvas. Some experts recommend using a soft, fresh paint brush to remove dirt and dust. If the artwork has a metal frame, use a metal polish to restore it to its original shine. Furniture polish is great for wooden frames. Take care not to get polish on the canvas.

If you are nervous about cleaning your paintings, ask an appraiser for a condition report, and have your fine art cleaned by a professional.

To Wrap or Not to Wrap

It might seem like a good idea to wrap your art pieces in saran wrap before moving them, but any type of plastic wrap can trap moisture. Trapped moisture often leads to mold. Derek Smith, the president of the AXIS fine art installation, recommends not wrapping art for storage.

If you’re wrapping art for transport, wear white gloves. The oils in your skin could ruin your artwork. Framed art can be wrapped with bubble wrap, but only if you put silicone release paper between the canvas and the bubble wrap. For unframed art, cover the canvas with silicone release paper and wrap the piece with glassine paper. Use acid-free glassine paper with a neutral pH. Once your art arrives at its destination, remove the wrap so your artwork can breathe. If you want extra protection for your artwork, you can build a shadow box.

Don’t Forget the Crescent Board

Crescent board is an acid-free mounting board used by galleries to protect art during storage. Crescent board stops pieces from touching while allowing them to breathe. It’s a great way to prevent moisture buildup and mold.

Proper Storage Conditions

Never store your paintings in direct sunlight or near a heating source. Sunlight will fade paintings, and heat will cause paint to peel. Attics and basements should also be avoided. Any room with concrete walls or floors can absorb moisture and damage your art.

The room you store your paintings in must have a consistent temperature and humidity level. The proper temperature for storing paintings is 70 degrees. An ideal humidity level is 55 percent.

If you find yourself stressing out over storing your art pieces, hire a professional to handle it for you. Fine art is an investment, and damaged art depreciates quickly. Professional movers can pack your art, ship it in a climate controlled environment and ensure it is stored properly at its destination.

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