Print Care

1. Proper mat and frame: Professional framers recommend using archival quality mat boards that are acid-free and will not damage prints. These mats, known as museum board, acid-free board, conservation board, 100 percent rag board or lignin-free board, are available in many colors and fabrics and will work well to conserve your print.

2. Handling your prints:
When handling unframed prints, make sure you work with gloves or very clean hands. Finger smudges, dirt, or dents and tears caused by carelessness will affect the value of your print. If you must handle your print, lift it by diagonally opposite corners to avoid creasing.

3. Excessive Light: Bright daylight and even bright artificial light can cause colours to fade and papers to discolour and become brittle. Too much light is harmful even when ultra-violet rays are filtered out; so make sure your print is exposed to moderate light for limited hours at a time. Think, too, of rotating your prints from time to time to give them a rest. Strong light has serious effects on prints with ultraviolet light causing colours to fade and change. Do not place prints on walls that receive direct outside light for any length of time. Using UF3 plexiglass instead of normal glass will reduce light damage.

4. High temperatures and high humidity: Some common sense precautions can keep your prints safe from the threat of heat and humidity. Most importantly, don't store prints in attics, basements or garages, and don't hang them in bathrooms or over fireplaces. Air conditioning, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers can help regulate the environment in your home or workplace. Hanging prints on interior walls is also a good idea. If the humidity is too high, prints may be damaged by mould, which causes small dark spots (also referred to as foxing). If the humidity is too low the paper may become brittle. If the environment swings between the two extremes you may find that the print buckles. As with all works of art dust and pollution are also harmful. As a general guide to caring for your prints keep them in a clean and well-ventilated area.

5. Print storage: If you are not displaying your prints right away, store them in safe conditions. A dark setting with a steady temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a steady relative humidity with a high of 50 percent and a low of 30 percent is ideal. Prints should be kept in protective folders or boxes made from acid-free, archival quality materials, and stored flat.


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