How do I store a canvas painting at home?

To prepare a canvas painting for storage, it is recommended that you first protect it with brown or acid-free paper, before adding a layer of bubble wrap. Then, ensure the corners have protection in place, this can be made from cardboard or foam. 

If you have a heavy or more delicate painting, we suggest that you place this in a wooden box, built to the dimensions of the specific artwork. If you are unable to provide a custom box, make sure it is stored between two pieces of strong cardboard or wooden panels to avoid accidental damage. 

Paintings with a heavily cracked or flaking paint layer should be examined and restored before going into storage. This will ensure that no further damage occurs whilst they are hidden away. They should also be professionally checked for any signs of pests or mould, to ensure this does not spread. 


How do I store a watercolour painting at home?

Works on paper should be kept flat. If they are framed it is best to ensure that the mount is not acidic or contains any element which could disturb the artwork over time. Acid-free card should be placed neatly either side of a watercolour which is unframed. This can then be further stabilised by two pieces of cardboard, before being placed in a plastic sleeve. 

If your watercolour has foxing or staining from water damage and mould, this should be treated before they go into storage. Putting a potentially damp or contaminated artwork next to an unaffected piece could lead to widespread damage in your collection. It is very important to keep your works on paper in a room without any damp elements, as they are vulnerable to foxing and mould.


Temperature and humidity

Paintings can be stored at home, as long as they are kept at a steady temperature and away from moisture. For oil and acrylic paintings, a humidity level of 45% with a temperature of 18-20 degrees celsius is ideal, as this is a museum standard. For works on paper, such as engravings and watercolour, 15-18 degrees is best with humidity not more than 45%.


Is it OK to roll a painting up?

Paintings should never be rolled, this can cause cracks to form in the paint layer and lead to flaking. Parts may also become accidentally damaged via folding, creating a break in the paint and lines to form where the artwork has come away. When storing your artwork, be sure to keep it in its original state, unless it is an unusual piece this will mean keeping it flat and without any uneven weight. 

Can I remove my painting from the canvas frame to store it?

Canvas paintings should not be taken off their stretcher bars, as these offer vital support to the paint layer. Taking the canvas off to roll will cause damage to the artwork. 


Should I unframe my painting for storage?

The more support your painting has, the better. Do not remove a frame from your painting unless it is in some way damaging the artwork due to contamination. If it needs to be removed due to the fragility of the artwork, this should be carried out professionally and the artwork should be treated for pests and mould before storage. 


Can I use bubble wrap on my painting?

Yes, using bubble wrap is a good solution to storing your paintings safely. However, be sure to put a layer of brown paper, or paper free of any bleach/acidic element, around the artwork itself before wrapping. 

Do not wrap your painting too tightly, this might cause the canvas to warp and put strain on the canvas or paper. It may also make it harder to safely unwrap in the future. Make sure it is secure, but without anything pressing unevenly against the surface or edges.


To learn more about how we can help you preserve your artwork during or after storage, please email [email protected] and we will provide you with recommendations and a no-obligation quote.