Caring For Your Artwork - Picture Framing For You

Caring For Your Artwork

Picture Framing For You uses the best materials to protect your artwork. These range from conservation quality materials (e.g.archival tapes), always sealing the back of the frame to prevent in the ingress of dust or insects, and to the use of Artcare mountboard which helps to actively protect your artwork from pollutants. 

On this page we provide some advice about how you can look after you artwork. This will help you to avoid hanging it in places where it might come to harm, to hang it securely, to cleaning it as needed and how to check it from time to time. Carrying out these few simple steps will ensure your artwork does not come to harm and resists signs of ageing for as long as possible.

Hanging Your Artwork

Picture hooks and pins.

With every job we frame we supply appropriate hanging attachments some of which are illustrated above. For very small pictures we would advise that one of the single pin hooks is more than sufficient to hang the picture securely. For larger pictures use the double pin hooks. Hanging pictures on just one hook can however result in the picture moving slightly from time to time so that it does not appear perfectly horizontal.

To avoid that use two hooks (either double or single) set about a quarter of the way in from each side of the picture and make sure the picture wire we have provided goes over both hooks. We always use picture wire rather than cord. We believe it is more robust and much less likely to fail. We have various strengths of picture wire and use the wire that is appropriate for the size of and weight of the picture.

Our picture wire has a stainless steel wire at its core around which is wound several strands of brass wire. Illustrated below is a typical picture frame back as finished by Picture Framing For You.

Picture Frame Back

Note that on both the bottom corners of the picture frame there are two small round white pads as shown above.

The next photo is a close up of one of the pads.

The purpose of the pads are twofold. Firstly to allow air to circulate behind the picture and to minimise the chance that any dampness could build up at the back of the picture. Secondly it also helps to protect the wall from abrasion.

Picture Frame Back

Finally, regarding hanging, we do not recommend the use of self adhesive hooks to hang pictures. They will inevitably fail with the result that picture will fall. It is highly likely that the picture frame will be damaged, that the glass will break and the shards of glass may even cut and damage the framed artwork. An example of damage to a frame that did fall off the wall can be seen on this page.

We recommend checking your pictures every couple of years to ensure that the hanging attachments, the picture wire and wall hooks still look sound.

Avoiding Heat

We do not recommend hanging pictures above radiators. Frequent changes in temperature can cause the paper and wood to dry out. Adhesives are likely to fail and the frame mitres weaken. 

Avoiding Damp

Placing pictures in areas subject to moisture, steam or humid conditions, such as bathrooms or kitchens, can cause harm. Similar problems can arise in rooms that are left unheated for extended periods. If you are leaving a room unheated for an extended period remove any artworks from it.

One of the problems that can arise is that damp air can cause artworks to ripple. That's bad enough but If the rippled artwork, because of the ripples, touches the glass it can stick to the glass. This can be difficult or impossible to remove without causing damage to the artwork. Newly plastered walls are a source of moisture and so pictures should not be hung on them until they are dried out. Allow six months for that to happen.

Avoiding Light

If possible try to avoid hanging pictures directly in the way of windows through which sunlight streams. Over time the UV component of sunlight will will fade colours and discolour paper. The degree to which this can happen will depend on the quality of the pigments used in the artwork and the quality of the paper on which the artwork is supported. 

At Picture Framing For You we do try to minimise these effects by using the very best materials for picture framing. First and foremost we use Artcare mount board which not only resists fading more than other mountboards, but also actively protects the artwork from pollutants. Click this Artcare link for more information.

In addition we can supply a special glass that is not only anti-reflective but also blocks 92% of the damaging effects of UV light. We are happy to show you the effect of this glass on the appearance of your artwork, you will find it difficult to believe there is a glass there at all! For more information check out this ClearColour PLUS UV Glass link.

Cleaning

Dust frames with a soft brush rather than applying water or cleaning fluids. Don't use cleaning fluids or water on the varnished surface of oil paintings, just dust carefully. If cleaning fluids have to be used on glass, apply them sparingly to a clean cloth first (do not spray directly on the glass!) then use that cloth to clean the glass. Next dry off the glass with another clean cloth. We use Nilglass cleaner and recommend that for cleaning all types of glass.

Regular Checks

If you find any evidence of discolouration, unsightly brown dots, small insects under the glass or that the brown paper tape sealing the back of the frame has come unstuck, return the frame to the framer. Check for corroding picture wire or weak or loosening cord.

The varnish on oil paintings will gradually discolour, especially if the picture hangs in smoky or polluted conditions. It should be replaced as it dirties. Oil paintings stretched over wooden bars may sag over time and the bars can make a slight imprint on the front of the canvas. Take the picture back to your framer for tightening or re-stretching if necessary. The canvas should feel taut if you flick the back of it with your finger and should not show signs of obvious looseness. If it does it needs re-tensioning and we will be happy to do that for you.

Handle With Care!

When carrying and transporting a picture, grasp the frame firmly on both sides. Never carry a picture just by holding the top of it. For large and heavy pictures this can damage the top mitres and the joints may open or weaken.

If you have to store pictures, make sure they are stacked vertically and always the right way up. When stacking pictures, stand them 'glass to glass' and 'back to back' so that the hangers on the back do not damage the front of the frames.

If transporting pictures in your car we recommend standing them vertically on the back seat and them pulling a seat belt over them. This protects them from any movement that could damage them and protects you from damage if you have to do an emergency stop. Many of our customers come from Highland regions where sheep (and deer) wander at will on single track roads. In such places emergency stops are not infrequent!