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  • Writer's pictureKristine Hurd

The Best Way to Preserve Your Artwork

So you've invested in some artwork you love, now how do you keep it in the best possible condition? Keep reading for some tips.

General Care

These first tips apply to most types of artwork.

  1. Avoid hanging/placing your artwork in direct sunlight. UV rays can cause fading, yellowing, cracks, or warping. (Alcohol inks are especially prone to fading - even with the application of UV protecting spray) Indirect light can still cause damage but it's better than direct light. If you have your heart set on a spot that's in direct light - try to close the blinds when the sun is the strongest. Keep in mind this won't prevent damage - it will just slow it down. Another option is to invest in a frame with UV blocking/museum conservation glass.

  2. Avoid fluctuating temperatures. It's best to keep your art someplace where it will be exposed to the most stable environment possible. Hanging your art near or above sources of heat including radiators and fireplaces isn't the best idea.

  3. Avoid humidity. Prolonged exposure to humidity can cause expansion and contraction of frames and canvases, it can cause wood frames to warp, and it can also cause mold and mildew to flourish.

Preserving Paintings That Are Not Under Glass, Resin, or Varnish

Dust paintings regularly using a soft microfiber cloth or pressurized air. If the painting is has a frame, most frames can be dusted and then wiped with a damp cloth.

Unframed Alcohol Ink Painting of Beach and Ocean Hanging On Wall

Preserving Framed Paintings Under Glass

The most important thing is NEVER spray anything directly on the glass. If you spray cleaner on the class it can run down and get inside the frame, damaging the mat and or artwork. Spray a soft cloth (not paper towel) first and then wipe the glass. If the painting is under plexiglass use a plastic cleaner and not a glass cleaner.

Framed Alcohol Ink Painting Under Glass

Preserving Varnished Paintings

If the painting has been sealed with varnish you should be able to gently brush off dust etc. with a soft brush (like a paintbrush) and then wipe it with a soft damp cloth.

Preserving Paintings Under Resin

Epoxy resin is strong and durable so you can clean it the same as you would clean glass without damaging the surface. Spry a mild glass cleaner on a soft cloth and then gently wipe the surface of the resin.

Framed Alcohol Ink Painting Under Resin

Preserving Paintings on Glass or Ceramic (Mugs, Vases, Planters, Trinket Dishes)

When I finish painting on glass and ceramic I always apply several coats of spray varnish to protect the ink, and then several layers of UV protectant spray. Once those are dry I apply several layers of a super-hard, scratch and chemical resistant clear coat. Despite this - these are still pieces of artwork and should be handled with care. Hand wash only with gentle soap (if possible, gently wipe the outside over the paint with a soft cloth and water only ) Never soak the pieces or clean them with harsh solvents like isopropyl alcohol or bleach. These can damage the sealant protecting the paint.

Purple and Gold Alcohol Ink Painted Wine Glass

Preserving Jewelry

In order to take care of your jewelry and extend its life-span, store it in a clean, dry place. Refrain from putting on your jewelry until after you have washed, applied any makeup, hair spray, gels, lotions or perfume. Take your jewelry off when swimming, sleeping, showering, bathing or working out. Don't expose it to cleaning agents and chemicals. You can clean it by lightly buffing with a soft cloth.

Purple and gold alcohol ink painting French Lever Earrings

Please keep in mind that different types of art and different surfaces (oil, watercolor, acrylic and canvas, wood panels etc.) will require different care. It's always best to check with the artist that you purchased the art from. Many artists, including myself, will include care instructions with your purchase.

Looking for more art to add to your collection? Browse my original paintings, jewelry, home decor and more!


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