How to Keep Your Art Prints from Fading (5 Ways)

How to Keep Your Art Prints from Fading

Art prints can cost a lot of money or have high emotional value to whoever decides to invest in them. This is why taking care of your art prints is crucial, ensuring they don’t fade away after a couple of years. There are several ways you can protect your art. 

The most important way to keep your art prints from fading is to store them in a dark and dry place, protected from extreme temperatures. Steering clear of exposure to humidity and direct sunlight is also crucial if you want to make sure that the prints don’t fade after a while. 

What will follow in this article are tips for artwork preservation with extensive explanations on why keeping these tips in mind when taking care of your art prints is so essential. 

How to Keep Your Art Prints from Fading

Avoid Humidity

Exposing anything porous to a humid environment is never a good idea. Paper, no matter how high its quality, will absorb water. This will ruin your prints very fast. Ink will fade or smudge on moist paper.

Prolonged exposure to humidity could even cause mold to grow and spread on your artwork or cause yellowing of the paper.

How To Avoid Damage

It could be a great idea to frame your prints or put them in a glass display case to prevent humidity. This method would protect the art from dirt and other substances affecting its quality and longevity. 

If you need some guidance on how to choose a display case and learn more about its pros and cons, you can check The Definitive Guide to Display Cases for the Discerning Collector.

Keeping the print in a dry, dark room is an even better option if you don’t necessarily want to display it in your house. 

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Sunlight is partly ultraviolet light (UV light), damaging to the chemicals in ink. Those chemicals will break down when they come in contact with direct sunlight, making them fade over time. 

High-quality ink might fade slowly in the sunlight because of the pigment type, making it more weather resistant. Nonetheless, it will start to fade eventually, so try avoiding exposure to the sunlight. 

How To Avoid Damage

If you’re planning on putting the artwork up on a wall, avoid the walls facing a window because there’s a big chance that the sunlight will fall on the print for a couple of hours every day, a recipe for disaster. 

The best way to avoid all sunlight exposure would be to completely cover the print and store it in a dark place, but if you want to enjoy your investment, this probably isn’t an option. 

Don’t Touch the Prints With Your Bare Hands

The natural oils in your hands and sweat can all damage your art prints, so it’s best to avoid touching them with your bare hands. Let’s find out why.

Natural Oils

You might’ve heard that your body produces natural oils to keep your skin healthy and avoid dry skin. This body oil will damage artwork, partially because it’s slightly acidic

Paper is very porous. The porosity of paper is the reason why it absorbs ink so well. This also means it will quickly absorb oily substances, damaging the material. 

More porous paper is the best printing paper, but some variants are less absorbent. Nonetheless, it would be best if you didn’t touch those variants with your bare hands. 

Sweat

Your body radiates heat, and with heat comes sweat. Some people sweat more than others, but humidity affects the ink and paper of art prints, as we’ve mentioned before. 

On top of that, sweat is slightly acidic, like the oil naturally produced by your body on your skin. Acidic substances should not come into contact with your paper or ink. 

How To Avoid Damage

If you decide to frame the print or store it in a display case, you won’t be able to damage the materials by touching it. As mentioned before, this might be the best way to avoid any damage altogether. 

If you’re not planning on putting it in a frame or display case, you should get some cotton gloves to avoid direct skin contact. Simple cotton gloves aren’t expensive, so it’s a relatively cheap way to protect your art. However, you should ensure the gloves aren’t dirty before using them. 

Avoid Extreme Heat

Extreme heat will damage your paper and ink without proper protection. I assume you’re not planning on displaying the art print outdoors. However, extreme temperatures can undoubtedly affect the temperatures indoors. 

How To Avoid Damage

Store your prints in a room with a stable temperature that is minimally affected by temperature changes.

Smart glass display cases are available for you to buy if you’re willing to invest money in preserving your art piece. These cases are perfect for expensive art that has to be stored in a controlled environment. For some of these display cases, you can control the humidity, temperature, and amount of light to which the prints are exposed.

Buy Art Printed on High-Quality Paper With High-Quality Ink

This tip might come in late if you’re looking for advice on how to take care of an art print you’ve already bought. However, if you’re planning on purchasing a print in the future, you should keep this tip in mind.

High-quality art prints will last longer, and that’s why they might be a bit more expensive. It will be worth the money in the long run. You won’t have to replace the print with a new one as quickly, thus spending less money. 

The type of paper may be mentioned in the product description of the artwork. If that’s not the case, don’t be too shy to ask the seller or artist which materials they used. If you’re bold, you could ask them why they chose to use those materials. 

Final Words

If you want to ensure that your art print doesn’t fade too fast over time, taking great care of it is incredibly important. You should limit exposure to humidity, sunlight, and extreme heat at all times because those factors contribute to the fast deterioration of paper and ink. You should also avoid touching the artwork without gloves.

Investing in high-quality art prints would be a significant first step, but those are also prone to fading gradually if you don’t take good care of them.

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