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How to Store your Unframed Art


When storing stretched canvasses, know that artwork made with oil-based or acrylic paints need to breathe, so wrap the stretched canvases in loosely in plastic sheets. Place something rigid like double-thick cardboard to protect either side of the canvas and store them upright.

Large unframed canvasses can be rolled into solid postal tubes, and smaller canvasses sandwiched between acid-free foamboard.


Try to avoid placing art (or print) on paper in postal tubes. Paper has a memory, and you’ll have difficulty in getting the print to lay flat again.

If your art already has a persistent curl, place several weights on top of your sandwich and let it sit. Alternatively, if you have access to a dry-mount press like ours, the combination of heat and pressure the press administers might be enough to flatten the print. Make certain the materials used in the art won’t be adversely affected by the heat.

We recommend sandwiching the art between two sheets of acid-free foam core and two acid-free tissues, with paper conservation corners to keep the art from shifting (see below). Tuck the sandwich into an acid-free plastic sleeve if dust is an issue where it will be stored.

Use your judgment about wearing clean cotton gloves when handling the art if its surface is absorbent.

If you have a lot of art (or prints) to store, Flatfiles will keep your artwork flat and safe with a minimum of protection i.e. acid-free plastic sleeves only. They range in price, and are available at some office supply stores.

Designs for home made Flatfiles are available online. One of the simplest and our favorite ikea hack uses fiberboard sheets, strong glue and cheap table legs.


All artwork can be adversely affected by excess humidity in its environment. A closet in a house with a/c or a climate-controlled self-storage space would be best. Keep in mind that the majority of work that comes through our doors with humidity damage were stored in the basement.