Do you own one or several high quality prints? Do you want them to last for as long as possible in pristine condition?
Simply follow the steps bellow.
Print care in a nutshell:
If your prints were created using archival quality materials, these five simple rules will enormously increase the odds that your prints will last a lifetime. In fact they’ll probably last much longer:
- Avoid excessive light: never display prints in direct sunlight or under florescent light
- Avoid excessive heat: never display prints near a heat source
- Avoid moisture: keep prints as dry as possible
- Avoid touching a print’s image: the surface is delicate
- Avoid all physical trauma: keep prints safe and protected
Print care in more detail:
Never store or display prints in direct sunlight. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) accelerates color degradation and bleaching.
Never store or display prints under florescent light. While florescent light contains less UV than sunlight, the UV output is still significant and can damage your print.
Although not mandatory, framing the print behind glass will further reduce the negative impact of UV rays and increase the longevity of the colors. It is also an excellent way to physically protect the print’s surface.
When framing a print, always use an acid-free mat board (a mat board is the cardboard surrounding the print before everything is placed in a frame). If that is not possible, isolate the print from direct contact with the non-archival mat board by using a barrier of acid-free material. Seal the back of the frame with acid free material as well.
Avoid displaying prints on walls or in rooms that are subject to raised levels of damp. For example, the laundry or bathroom are poor choices for display areas.
Don’t allow anything to rub against, press down on, press into, or abrade the print’s surface. Also make sure nothing presses into the print from behind.
A happy print is a non-stressed print.
Avoid handling the prints with sweaty or oily hands. Skin oils are acidic by nature and will compromise the prints’ PH balance (the alkalinity bias that helps the prints last). Oils are also easily absorbed by the watercolor paper and will eventually cause discoloration. At the very least wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling a print. If you want to be safe, wear soft, lint-free cotton gloves.
To store an unframed print for an extended period, wrap and seal it flat in acid free materials. The storage container/box should be dry and, when sealed, exclude any light. Store everything away from heat. Stopping short of actually freezing the print, the cooler the better.