If you own any artwork, there is a good chance you will need to store it at some point in your life. This may be temporary during a house move or renovation, or you may want something a little more permeant or perhaps as an investment.

If the artwork has any value, either sentinel or financial, then you need to ensure it is stored safely to avoid accidental damage, but also environmental damage.

The Conservation Register state the biggest risk factors for storing artwork are:

  • Breakages, tears, loose and missing elements, impacts, smudges.
  • Fingerprints etched into polished surfaces.
  • Stains and marks from skin contact, eating, smoking, cosmetics and other domestic chemicals.
  • Introduction of materials and conditions that encourage pests or other environmental damage: foods, other infested objects, poor storage materials, central heating, damp, intense light.

How to minimise damage when storing artwork

With a little bit of care, it is quite easy to keep your artwork safe:

  • Minimize contact. The first step to conserving oil paintings and other artwork during transportation or storage is to minimize human contact. An easy way to accomplish this is to create a barrier between you and the painting during the packing process. Ideally, you should avoid touching the artwork directly, our oily fingers can degrade paintwork and introduce unwanted marks
  • Wrap in plastic. Use plastic to wrap the painting to keep it clean and protect the finish.
  • Seal with Styrofoam. Use a custom-sized Styrofoam box to ensure that the painting is safe and snug.
  • Put in a small box. Place the styrofoam-packed painting into a close-fitting cardboard box. If you already have appropriately-sized boxes, use them. If you do not have a box, you can make one from a couple of good-sized sheets of cardboard and a box cutter. It is also possible to purchase foldable plywood boxes that provide superior protection and can be suitable when transporting artwork.
  • Pack with dense packing material. Make sure that you fill any space with bubble pack to avoid bouncing or jarring in transit, then seal the entire apparatus shut with packing tape. Avoid peanuts or any packing material that can get smashed or settle over time.

At Aardvark Art Services we have dedicated facilities for artwork storage where we can offer 1 week of storage for any artwork being transported, and any artwork stored for longer periods will incur storage charges.