How to Store Canvas Paintings and Artwork

How to Store Canvas Paintings and Artwork

By: Sarah Dirks


January 20, 2022

Whether you’re an artist or art collector, or a novice or an expert, you can benefit from learning how to store canvas paintings and other works of art like prints, oil paintings, and even watercolor at home or in a storage unit for safekeeping. Are you a burgeoning Picasso looking to keep your masterpiece in tip-top shape, or do you want to preserve your kids’ finger-paintings and canvas handprints forever, these tips will help you safely store your artwork.  

Canvas is Fragile 

There are a few potential dangers you should be aware of before you store your canvas paintings. It may not be intentional, but tears and rips, smudges, fingerprints and stains can happen if you don’t handle artwork with the utmost caution! So, handle your artwork carefully.  

Environmental factors like sunlight and climate can also be harmful. For instance, the UV rays from sunlight fade your art and make it even more fragile.  

canvas painting temperature thermometer

Make Sure the Temperature and Humidity are Just Right

You’re already aware that canvas paintings and other works of art are sensitive. Heat and humidity are two major factors to be aware of. Temperature fluctuations, especially heat, can cause the canvas to expand and contract, distorting your piece, and humidity can cause mold to grow. Avoid these issues by keeping your art in a dry, room temperature space.

canvas paintings stored vertically in storage

Keep Your Canvas Paintings Vertical 

Storing your canvas paintings flat or horizontal isn’t the best idea. This method can warp your art and cause sagging. Keeping your art vertical has two benefits: It can prevent any dust from gathering and avoid any distortion.  

Also, store your artwork off the floor. Putting your work on the ground is an open invitation for dust, dirt and pests (and maybe even an unsuspecting shoe). 

Cover Your Paintings with Cloth 

It’s always a good idea to give your artwork an extra layer of protection, especially if you’re considering long-term storage. A thin layer of cloth or fabric will prevent any dust or debris from settling on your pieces, so be sure to wrap paintings for storage! Also, check that it surrounds the whole canvas. 

Pack Your Art with Extra Care 

After you’ve created the first line of defense with either cloth or plastic, you need to package your artwork carefully. Either wrap your painting in bubble wrap or use packing paper and then put it in a box. There are a few options when it comes to choosing a box:  

Use a mirror box 

Mirror boxes are protective and durable—so they’re a great option for your art and canvas paintings. No matter what you’re storing, from oil paintings on canvas to framed sketches, mirror boxes should keep your artwork safe from pests and damage. 

You can find mirror boxes at many home improvement stores, moving and packing supply stores. Be sure to buy acid-free packing paper while you’re shopping!  

Get a cardboard box 

Instead of using a mirror box, you can just use a plain cardboard box. Just make sure you have extra protection around the piece (like a custom-sized Styrofoam box or packing paper), then place it in a snug-fitting cardboard box.  

Build a crate 

You can also build a custom, protective wooden crate for your art, or hire professionals to make you one. Just make sure you do your research beforehand. This option can be labor-intensive and/or expensive, but it keeps your art very safe!  

Consider Self-Storage  

Self-storage is an awesome alternative to keeping your one-of-a-kind piece of art in the back of your closet (or worse, in a dusty attic)! Our climate-controlled units have regulated temperatures to ensure your pieces are protected from varying heat and humidity.  

When you store your artwork in a storage unit, make sure to use all our packing tips and tricks so your paintings stay in great shape. Also, consider placing cloth or cardboard on the ground before storing! 

Wrapping Up: How to Store Canvas Paintings 

Hopefully, these tips have helped you carefully and safely store your canvas paintings and art! If you collect art, learn more about storing collectibles. Whether you need to store canvas prints, acrylic paintings or unique modern art Store Space has a variety of unit sizes and amenities to keep your works of art in great condition.  

You can find your nearest storage facility with our storage finder.  

Sarah Dirks content writer

Sarah Dirks is a Content Writer for Store Space who enjoys watching movies, being active and cheering for the Boston Red Sox.


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