The artwork is collected and stored for many reasons. It could be a piece waiting to be finished, something which holds sentimental value, or an investment that is too valuable to hang. Whatever the case, there is a right and a wrong way to store your art.
When packing art, it’s tempting to wrap the canvas in a few layers of packing paper, stick it in a storage unit and move on. Unfortunately, this causes permanent damage. Improper packing materials could leave art exposed, while improper storage could cause warping or breakage.
Jiffy Self Storage is an Ontario based storage facility. We’ve been serving the Greater Toronto area long enough to know what keeps art safe longest. Here are 6 tips for storing art.
1. Properly package your art
Before storing fine art, you must appropriately package it. Exposed artwork runs the risk of becoming damaged over time. Very carefully wrap your artwork in plastic. This smooth material minimizes friction against the surface of a painting. With clean hands, be sure to touch the art only as necessary. Remember, the oil from your fingers will transfer and cause damage even after art is wrapped and stored.
After wrapping the artwork, seal it in a Styrofoam box to minimize bending, bumps, and breakage. A cardboard box and packing peanuts or bubble wrap will hold everything together.
2. Find the correct storage facility
One of the best storing art tips is that not all storage facilities are equal. Art should be kept away from the elements and in air that isn’t too damp or too dry and sheltered from direct sunlight.
Storage facilities with treated air guarantee a longer lifespan for your precious fine art.
It’s also important when choosing a storage space that there’s enough room for the art to be stored in a standing position. Horizontally storing paintings one on top of another could damage the canvas or frame. In this way, it’s also crucial that no other objects be stored on top of or pressed up against a painting.
If a painting has been warped by the corner of a box or from the pressure of other paintings on top of it, it will never look the same. This is because the canvas is a flexible fabric. If the material stretches too much, it will warp the image on the canvas as well.
3. Transport your paintings to storage with care
It’s not just the storage process that requires care, but the trip to get your painting there as well. When placing fine art in a vehicle, secure the artwork so it can’t bump and slide around as the vehicle moves. Be sure no loose objects can reach the painting, and rest if flat.
As you drive, be sure to follow the rules of the road and make no sudden stops or sharp turns. If shipping the art through a third-party transport company, be sure to insure it against damages, and check with the company about their fine art transport practices. Ask questions such as:
- Do you pack the art for me?
- Are there appropriate supports in place, so the art doesn’t slide around?
- What’s the procedure if my art is damaged in your truck?
- Do you guarantee the safety of my belongings until they reach their destination?
Whether you choose to transport the art yourself or go with a reputable moving company, the above packing and protection process will help keep it safe as it travels.
4. Check on the wellbeing of your painting regularly
Storing and forgetting about fine art is a bad idea. While many storage units, like our spaces at Jiffy Self Storage, are monitored and kept in great condition, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. Checking on your painting now and then guarantees it’s in the same condition in which you left it, and all the belongings in your storage space are safe and sound.
If a painting is left in storage and something were to fall on it for whatever reason, the longer you wait to assess the damage and have it repaired, the more likely it is that damage is irreparable.
It’s also good to watch for pests, rodents, moisture in your unit. You may think rodents aren’t a problem because the artwork isn’t edible. To a rodent, however, the packing materials surrounding your art, and the canvas itself, make great chew toys and bedding for a nest.
5. Consider temperature controlled storage
Depending on the value of your art, you should look at a storage facility that offers temperature control. While the canvas your artwork is painted on may withstand the cold and heat, the paint used to create the beautiful images on top may not. Both oil and acrylic paints run the risk of cracking in dry climates. Acrylics, in particular, may begin to run if the air is too moist.
A storage space with temperature control guarantees the air surrounding your artwork maintains the right temperature to keep it in tip-top shape. Speak to your storage provider about the services in place for fine art and whether they recommend storing art in their facility.
6. Don’t Store Great Pieces in Average Storage
No matter how secure or well-cared-for a storage facility is, most of these businesses warn against storing valuables. At Jiffy Self Storage, we pride ourselves on a safe and secure storage system. We always suggest that clients find a more suitable space to store money, collectibles, jewelry, and valuable artwork.
For anything of immense value, it’s a good idea to invest in a lockbox at the bank or a safe at home. Even if the value of your painting is sentimental, be sure you’re storing it in a place where you can ensure its safety for years to come.
For more tips for storing artwork, call Jiffy Self Storage at 1-416-745-4339 or contact us here.