Care of framed prints and posters

Here are some guidelines for looking after framed prints and posters:

  1. Never, ever store framed prints or posters in an attic, shed, garage or anywhere else that is subject to large changes in humidity and/or temperature.  Even within a short space of time the print or poster will wrinkle up.  Even dry-mounted posters and prints are not completely immune to bubbling or going wavy in such conditions.  Over a longer period there is likely to be mould growth etc and the print or poster will be completely irreparable.
  2. Know the difference between glass and plastic glass.  Prints or posters framed using glass will be heavier but apart from that it is hard to tell the difference as good quality plastic glass is as clear as normal glass.  The only limitation of plastic glass is that it will scratch if it is cleaned with anything abrasive, whereas  normal glass won’t.  In normal conditions it is unlikely that more than a wipe with a dry cloth will be needed.  If a more thorough cleaning is necessary then just use a soft damp cloth for plastic glass.  Do not use alcohol based cleaners as this may discolour the plastic glass.
  3. For landscape style prints and posters always hang them with two hangers rather than one.  Not only will this mean you won’t have to keep straightening the picture up there is less risk of it being knocked off the hook when cleaning, or someone knocking against it (in a hallway for instance).  Even heavy portrait style prints or posters can sometimes benefit from being hung on two hooks to keep them completely stable.
  4. Check the solidity of the wall before hanging a picture even if it is a light frame using plastic glass.  If in doubt forget using a normal picture hook and drill a hole, put in a plug and screw in a screw with a large head to hang the picture on.
  5. Even though many modern prints and even posters are printed using light-fast inks it is always a good idea to keep them out of direct sunlight.  Even if the inks are completely light-fast (and this can vary), if the print is a limited edition signed by the artist in anything other than pencil it is quite possible that the signature and numbering will fade.  In fact, this can occur over time even when not in direct sunlight so imagine how much quicker it will be in direct sunlight.  Direct sunlight can also add to the damage to the frame and its contents by the large changes in temperature in a short space of time that the frame and the print or poster are subjected to.
  6. If you need to pack a framed print or poster away somewhere or for transportation then make sure you pack it in bubble wrap to stop it getting knocked about whilst in storage.  If you are packing several framed prints or posters of similar size then pack each pair face to face.  They need to be of very similar size in order to be sure that the frame of one is not pressing on the glass of the other one it is facing.

Following these simple guidelines should help to keep your prints and posters in good condition for many years to come and prevent you having to scour the Internet for a replacement one day.

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