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How To Store Framed Pictures How To Store Framed Pictures


How To Store Framed Pictures

Written by: Chloe Davis

Learn the best techniques and tips for safely storing framed pictures in this helpful article. Preserve your cherished memories for years to come.

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Table of Contents


When it comes to preserving your cherished memories and artwork, properly storing framed pictures is of utmost importance. Whether it’s a family photo, a prized painting, or a valuable piece of art, taking the necessary steps to protect and maintain framed pictures will ensure their longevity and keep them looking their best for years to come.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of storing framed pictures effectively. We will cover everything from selecting the right location to preparing the frame, maintaining optimal environmental conditions, protecting the frame, displaying and hanging the picture, as well as cleaning and maintenance. By following these guidelines, you can safeguard your framed pictures from damage, deterioration, and fading.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of preserving and storing framed pictures, and discover the best practices to keep your memories alive.

Selecting the Right Location

Choosing the proper location to store your framed pictures is crucial in ensuring their safety and longevity. Here are some key considerations when selecting the right spot:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight: Exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading, discoloration, and damage to your framed pictures. Therefore, it is essential to choose a location away from windows or areas that receive direct sunlight during the day. If you have no choice but to hang a picture in a sunny area, consider using UV-protective glass or applying a UV-blocking film to the windows.
  2. Control humidity levels: Fluctuations in humidity can significantly impact the preservation of framed pictures. High humidity can lead to mold growth and warping of the frame, while low humidity can cause cracking or drying out of materials. Aim for a relative humidity level of around 40-50% to maintain optimal conditions. Avoid storing framed pictures in excessively humid areas like basements or rooms prone to moisture, such as bathrooms.
  3. Temperature stability: Extreme temperature fluctuations can be detrimental to the longevity of your framed pictures. It is essential to avoid storing them in areas with high temperature variations, such as attics or garages. Aim for a cool, stable temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) to minimize the risk of damage.
  4. Avoid areas with excessive dust and pollutants: Dust and pollutants can accumulate on framed pictures, leading to discoloration and deterioration over time. Select a location that is relatively dust-free and away from areas with a high concentration of pollutants, such as kitchens or rooms with fireplaces.
  5. Avoid areas with high traffic: To minimize the risk of accidental damage, it is best to avoid hanging or storing framed pictures in high-traffic areas. Constant movement around the frames can lead to bumps, scratches, or even knock them off the wall.

By considering these factors, you can select the most suitable location for storing your framed pictures, providing them with the optimal conditions for preservation and protection.

Preparing the Frame

Before storing your framed pictures, it’s important to properly prepare the frame to ensure its durability and protection. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clean the frame: Start by gently dusting off any dirt or debris from the frame using a soft, lint-free cloth. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure, as it can damage delicate materials or loosen the frame joints. For stubborn dirt or stains, use a mild soap solution and a soft brush to gently clean the frame, followed by wiping it with a damp cloth and drying it thoroughly.
  2. Inspect for damage: Carefully examine the frame for any signs of damage, such as cracks, loose joints, or chipped paint. If you notice any issues, consider taking the frame to a professional for repairs before storing it. Addressing any damage beforehand will prevent further deterioration and ensure the frame remains intact during storage.
  3. Remove the artwork or photograph: If the framed picture contains artwork or a photograph, remove it from the frame before storing. This step is especially important if the artwork is valuable or sensitive to environmental conditions. Use caution when taking out the artwork to avoid bending or scratching it.
  4. Wrap the frame in acid-free paper: Acid-free paper provides an extra layer of protection against moisture, dust, and acid migration, which can cause damage to the frame and artwork. Wrap the frame in acid-free paper, securing it with tape or archival-quality bands. This step helps to prevent direct contact between the frame and any potential contaminants.
  5. Label the frame: To stay organized, label each frame with relevant information, such as the name of the artwork, the artist’s name, and the date of creation. This will make it easier to locate specific frames when you need to retrieve or display them.
  6. Store in an appropriate container: Place the wrapped frames in a sturdy and archival-quality container, such as acid-free boxes or portfolio cases. This helps to safeguard the frames from light exposure, dust, and accidental damage. Make sure the container is large enough to accommodate the frames without them getting compressed or squeezed together.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your frames are well-prepared for storage, minimizing the risk of damage and preserving their condition for future display or use.

Maintaining Optimal Environmental Conditions

Creating and maintaining the ideal environmental conditions is crucial for the long-term preservation of your framed pictures. Here are some factors to consider in order to maintain optimal conditions:

  1. Temperature and humidity control: Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level in the storage area. Fluctuations in these factors can lead to the deterioration of the artwork, warping of the frame, and growth of mold or mildew. Use a dehumidifier or humidifier to control the humidity level and a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Aim for a temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) and a relative humidity level of around 40-50%.
  2. Lighting: Keep your framed pictures in a dark or low-light environment to protect them from fading and discoloration. If the storage area has windows, cover them with curtains or blinds to block out natural light. Avoid using fluorescent or incandescent lights directly above the frames, as they can emit harmful UV rays. Alternatively, consider using LED lights with UV filters if you require some lighting in the storage area.
  3. Air circulation: Good air circulation helps to prevent the buildup of excess moisture, stale air, and potential mold growth. Avoid storing framed pictures in airtight containers or areas with poor ventilation. If necessary, use fans or air purifiers to improve air circulation in the storage space.
  4. Avoid exposure to contaminants: Keep framed pictures away from sources of potential contaminants, such as household chemicals, smoke, or strong odors. These substances can cause damage to the artwork and frame, tarnishing their quality and appearance. Store your framed pictures in a clean and controlled environment to minimize exposure to contaminants.
  5. Regular monitoring: Periodically check the storage area for any signs of environmental damage or pests. Look for humidity or temperature fluctuations, water leaks, or signs of insect or rodent activity. Promptly address any issues to prevent further damage to your framed pictures.
  6. Professional assistance: If you have valuable or delicate framed pictures, consider consulting a professional conservator or art storage specialist. They can provide expert guidance on maintaining optimal environmental conditions and offer specialized storage solutions to ensure the preservation of your prized possessions.

By maintaining these optimal environmental conditions, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your framed pictures and preserve their beauty and integrity for generations to come.

Protecting the Frame

Protecting the frame is essential to safeguard your framed pictures from physical damage and deterioration. Here are some crucial steps to ensure the frame remains in optimal condition:

  1. Handle with care: Always handle framed pictures with clean hands and gentle movements. Avoid touching the front of the frame or the glass, as fingerprints and oils can leave smudges and stains that are challenging to remove. Hold the frame by its sides or use soft gloves when handling delicate or valuable pieces.
  2. Use UV-protective glass or Plexiglas: Consider using UV-protective glass or Plexiglas when framing your artwork. These materials help to filter out harmful UV rays that can cause fading and discoloration over time. UV-protective glass or Plexiglas is especially important when displaying or storing framed pictures in areas with direct sunlight.
  3. Apply protective coatings: For valuable or sensitive artwork, you may opt to apply a protective coating or varnish to the surface. This extra layer of protection helps to safeguard the artwork from dust, moisture, and potential damage. Consult with a professional conservator or art specialist to determine the best type of protective coating for your specific artwork.
  4. Frame spacers: Consider using frame spacers when framing your pictures. These small strips or foam inserts create a gap between the glass and the artwork, allowing for air circulation and preventing the risk of sticking or condensation. Frame spacers also help to maintain the integrity of the artwork, preventing it from directly touching the glass.
  5. Pad and seal the frame: To add a layer of protection during storage or transportation, pad the frame using acid-free foam or archival-quality padding material. Secure the padding with acid-free tape or bands. This step helps to prevent movement and potential damage to the frame during handling or storage.
  6. Avoid leaning or stacking frames: When storing framed pictures, avoid leaning them against walls or stacking them on top of each other. This can lead to pressure and stress on the frames, potentially causing damage or warping. Store them vertically, either on shelves or in boxes designed for framed picture storage, with sufficient spacing between each frame.
  7. Regular inspection: Regularly inspect your framed pictures for any signs of damage, such as loose joints, cracks, or signs of pests. Promptly address any issues to prevent further deterioration and maintain the integrity of the frame.

By following these protective measures, you can ensure that your framed pictures are shielded from physical damage and preserve their aesthetic appeal for years to come.

Displaying and Hanging the Framed Picture

Properly displaying and hanging your framed pictures not only enhances their visual appeal but also ensures their safety and longevity. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  1. Select a suitable location: Choose a wall or area that complements the framed picture and enhances its visibility. Consider the size, style, and subject matter of the artwork when deciding on the placement. Ensure the wall is strong enough to support the weight of the frame.
  2. Measure and mark: Before hanging the frame, use a measuring tape to determine the desired height and location. Mark the spot with a pencil or masking tape to ensure accurate placement and alignment.
  3. Use appropriate hanging hardware: Select the appropriate hanging hardware based on the weight and size of the frame. D-rings, picture wire, or sawtooth hangers are common options. Ensure the hardware is securely attached to the frame and can support its weight.
  4. Wall anchors for heavy frames: For heavier frames, use wall anchors or sturdy wall hooks to provide additional support. It is essential to properly distribute the weight to prevent damage to the wall and frame.
  5. Level the frame: Use a level tool to ensure the frame hangs straight and level. Adjust the position as needed before securing it in place.
  6. Maintain distance from heat sources: Avoid hanging framed pictures near direct sources of heat, such as radiators, fireplaces, or heating vents. Heat can cause damage to the artwork and accelerate the aging process.
  7. Avoid excessive vibrations: Keep framed pictures away from areas with excessive vibrations, such as loudspeakers or heavy traffic areas. Vibrations can cause the frame to move or potentially fall off the wall.
  8. Rotate and rearrange: To prevent exposure to prolonged sunlight, periodically rotate and rearrange the displayed frames. This helps to distribute the light exposure evenly and reduce the risk of fading or discoloration.
  9. Hang similar-sized frames evenly: If showcasing multiple framed pictures together, ensure they are evenly spaced and aligned. This creates a cohesive and visually pleasing display. Use a measuring tape or template to help achieve consistency.
  10. Consider using picture frame mats: Picture frame mats can enhance the visual appeal of the artwork and provide a buffer between the artwork and the glass. They help prevent the artwork from sticking to the glass and allow for better air circulation.

By following these guidelines, you can not only create an attractive display of your framed pictures but also ensure their stability and protection on the wall.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep your framed pictures looking their best and preserving their integrity. Here are some important tips for cleaning and maintaining framed pictures:

  1. Dusting: Dust your framed pictures regularly using a soft, lint-free cloth or a feather duster. Gently wipe the frame and glass to remove any dust or debris. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals as they can damage the frame or the artwork.
  2. Glass cleaning: To clean the glass, use a glass cleaner specifically designed for use with framed pictures. Spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth rather than directly onto the glass to avoid any potential damage caused by the spray. Gently wipe the glass in a circular motion to remove fingerprints, smudges, or dirt. Take care not to let any liquid seep into the frame or artwork.
  3. Frame cleaning: If the frame requires more extensive cleaning, you can use a mild soap solution or a specialized frame cleaner. Apply the solution to a soft cloth and gently clean the frame, taking care to avoid excessive moisture around the corners or joints. Dry the frame thoroughly afterwards to prevent any damage due to excess moisture.
  4. Artwork cleaning: If the artwork itself requires cleaning, it is best to consult with a professional conservator or art specialist. They can advise on the appropriate cleaning methods and materials specific to the type of artwork, ensuring its preservation and integrity.
  5. Inspect for damage: Regularly inspect your framed pictures for any signs of damage, such as loose joints, cracks, or flaking paint. Consider having any issues addressed by a professional conservator or art restorer to prevent further deterioration or damage.
  6. Adjusting hanging hardware: Over time, the hanging hardware may become loose or damaged. Periodically check the hardware and tighten or replace as necessary to ensure the frame remains securely hung.
  7. Protect from pests: Protect your framed pictures from pests such as insects or rodents. Regularly check the storage area or display area for any signs of infestation, and take appropriate measures to eliminate the pests and protect your artwork.
  8. Avoid excessive handling: Minimize unnecessary handling of framed pictures, as it can increase the risk of accidental damage or wear. If you need to move or transport the frame, handle it with clean hands and use caution to prevent any mishaps.
  9. Retouching or restoration: If your framed picture has suffered any damage or deterioration over time, consider consulting with a professional art restorer to explore retouching or restoration options. They can help repair any damage and ensure the artwork is preserved for future generations.

By implementing these cleaning and maintenance practices, you can take proactive steps to preserve the beauty and longevity of your framed pictures.


Properly storing framed pictures is essential for preserving their beauty, protecting them from damage, and ensuring their longevity. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can safeguard your cherished memories, valuable artwork, and prized possessions.

Start by selecting the right location, ensuring that it is free from direct sunlight, excessive humidity, and temperature fluctuations. Prepare the frame by cleaning it, inspecting for damage, and wrapping it in acid-free paper. Maintain optimal environmental conditions, controlling temperature, humidity, and exposure to light. Take necessary steps to protect the frame, including handling with care, using UV-protective glass, and applying protective coatings if necessary.

When it comes to displaying and hanging framed pictures, choose suitable locations, measure and mark with precision, use appropriate hanging hardware, and ensure proper spacing and alignment. Regularly dust and clean the frames and artwork to maintain their appearance and inspect for any signs of damage or pests. Avoid excessive handling and consider professional assistance for retouching or restoration when needed.

Remember, each framed picture holds its own unique story, whether it’s a treasured family portrait, a masterpiece of art, or a symbol of a special moment. By taking care of your framed pictures, you are ensuring that these stories continue to be shared and cherished for years to come.

So, take the time to implement the best practices outlined in this article, and embark on a journey of preserving your framed pictures for future generations to enjoy.

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