Here is some tips on what you can do to preserve your prints the best way to ensure that they have a long life.
- Elevate stored prints so that air can circulate freely underneath and around them. Use shelving; do not rest on floor.
- Separate multiple unframed prints with acid free tissue.
- Wood shelving is preferred, as metal shelves can cause condensation.
- Have clean hands, or even better: use gloves, as natural body oils can do permanent damage to the paper.
- Use two hands to lift the paper, thereby avoiding damage to the edges.
- Avoid touching or dragging anything across the image area. Thumbprints and surface scratches cannot be repaired.
- Do not use pressure sensitive tapes on the paper.
- Avoid hanging or storing prints or paintings near a radiator or other heat source.
- Open fireplaces should be avoided as well, since the combination of heat, soot and smoke can do extensive damage in a very short period.
- High humidity is a threat to paper and prints, the chief danger being mold. According to museum curators, 50% humidity represents the ideal condition in which to keep fine works of art on paper
- Framing without a mount between print and glass invites condensation. An acid free mat will serve as a proper mount.
- Avoid hanging or storing prints in damp basements or cellars.
All light fades works of art on paper. Fading is not reversible.
- How much light is the optimum? Units of lighting measurement are called foot-candles, and according to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the optimum is five foot-candles, which is roughly the equivalent of a 150-watt bulb, approximately four to five feet away from the piece that is being illuminated.
- Avoid reflecting light, as it has ultra-violet rays that can be very harmful to inks and paper.
- Fluorescent lights are probably the most potent source of ultra-violet rays. If hanging your print in a room with fluorescent light, use Plexiglas when framing the artwork. Plexiglas is the best filter for ultra-violet rays and will give your print the longest life expectancy.