How to prepare your precious artwork for storage.

How to prepare your precious artwork for storage.

One of the things customers often need to consider when putting valuable art works in self storage is how to best protect those items from the ravages of time. Fortunately your self storage company does most of the work for you by keeping your items in a climate controlled environment with relative low humidity.

Preparing individual art pieces for self storage is also recommended, and though the requirements of each piece may be unique your artwork for storage is something the average person can do without any training. When you consider the potential upside of increased value of artwork preserved properly over many years the benefits of properly storing your valuable artwork becomes self evident.

One of the greater misconceptions people have about story two-dimensional art such as paintings, prints and photographs is that storing them rolled up in an art tube is one of the better ways to protect them. While a cardboard tube is an excellent solution for many to transport two-dimensional art safely for students over time it can have a deteriorating factor on most paper and canvas artworks.

Two-dimensional artworks should be stored flat, mounted (though not necessarily permanently) on a matte board. The thickness of the board should be strong enough to prevent artwork mounted to it from curling away when mounted vertically. Heavier canvasses will require heavier matte boards. Once mounted artwork should be covered with polyester film thick enough to avoid a casual puncture and is not attached to the artwork itself, rather it is folded over the back of the matte board where it is gently attached with adhesive tape. While it may seem counterintuitive, be careful not to tightly seal the polyester film along all edges where it meets the matte board. Gaps should be left to allow a small amount of air circulation. The folded edges where the polyester film wraps itself around the matte board plenty of protection from changes in humidity.

If your artwork is delicate and easily smudged extra steps may need to be taken. A front frame also made of matte board with a window provided to allow you to see your artwork can be taped into place over the item wrapped in polystyrene film. At this point it is also recommended to place a matte board cover over the front frame. Attach the cover with tape along one side and it becomes a hinge allowing you to easily view your artwork safely stored and at the same time protect its precious surface.

If you have a large number of smaller items printed on paper or canvas such as photographs and postcards they can be stored together in acid-free, cardboard boxes available at almost any art supply store. This allows you to easily access the various items in your collection while keeping them stored safely.

Three-dimensional artwork, such as sculptures will have unique individual needs. Of course of the utmost concern is keeping the artwork safe from crushing or jarring. The fragility of your sculpture will dictate how much protection is required. At the very least any sculpture consisting of any material short of high impact steel should be boxed in cardboard or even wood and surrounded by soft packing material such as crushed packing paper or Styrofoam packing material.