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Watercolour Painting Storage

I shipped a watercolor painting on 300gsm paper rolled in a tube to a client. The customer received the work after a week and now wants to keep the art rolled for 3 weeks before taking it for framing. Is it alright, if the painting is kept rolled as is in the original packaging for this long? Or should I ask the customer to flatten the painting, and then re-roll it when taking it to the framer? Thanks.

Hello Shweta.

Having worked as an art framer for many years, I would say that it is best if art work (especially original) not be rolled. If it has to be rolled, the shorter the time, the better. The memory of the paper is sometimes hard to fight. Right now, it would be best if your costumer flattened the paper between two acid free sheets and then place them between to boards. Keep in mind, cardboard is so full of acid and needs to have a barrier between it and any art work. Many people I know keep things that need to be flat under their bed for safe storage.

I hope this helps,

Hello Lori,
Thanks for the information. The painting is sandwiched between acid free paper and another 2-3 layers of tissue paper on either side and then rolled over a cardboard tube followed by bubble wrap. The painting is not in direct contact with the cardboard. The paper is Arches cold pressed watercolour paper 300 gsm.
I’m not sure whether the customer will show proper care while handling the painting (unrolling and rolling process) The paper has been rolled for 15 days. Can it be kept rolled for another 2 weeks?
Shweta Mahajan

HI Shweta,

If there is question as to whether the customer will show proper care in handling the art, I would say two weeks may be OK. More damage can be caused with improper handling of the paper. A good quality framer should know what to do. The sooner they can get in and get it framed the better.

Best of luck,

Thanks Lori! The customer wants to hang the painting in the bathroom. Does this require any special treatment before framing? I’ll get in touch with the customer and ask her to contact the framer soon.
Shweta Mahajan

Shweta, I found this information online that explains it well. It is found at, http://www.aaronbrothers.com/canvases/faqs/

"I would like to hang a picture in my bathroom, but worry about moisture. Can I seal the frame to prevent moisture from seeping in?

"Completely sealing a framed item is a difficult and problematic issue. When required for the preservation of a valuable item that cannot be displayed in an area with a stable climate, it generally involves in using a heat-activated adhesive to adhere a polyester and aluminum laminated sheet to the front edges of the glass, wrapping it around the side, and covering the back. Sometimes, a desiccant or conditioning material will be included within this package to help maintain a stable and low moisture level. Since humidity is relative to temperature, however, even sealing the item completely does not guarantee that fluctuations in temperature will not cause problems. It is also a fairly expensive solution.

"In practical usage for decorative items, your best bet is probably to simply slow the rate of change in moisture content within the frame to minimize condensation, rather than try to prevent it altogether. This can be accomplished through the use of ample filler boards in the back of the frame, which help to buffer this sort of change, the standard dust cover, and the use of bumpons to ensure air circulation behind the frame. If the back of the frame is in direct contact with the wall, it can wick condensed moisture from the wall into the framing package. A little air space behind the frame helps to prevent this.

“If you notice condensation or buckling of the matting even with these measures, you might also consider a non-traditional framing approach, such as the Colorplak process we offer. This involves mounting and laminating a print to a rigid backing with edges that are beveled and finished in your choice of colors. Although it does not allow the use of matting, it is a “sealed” solution that is safe for hanging in very humid environments, such as a bathroom.”

The only thing I would add, is that the picture needs to be “refreshed” every 3-5 years. This means that it needs to be taken completely apart, cleaned, and checked for moisture damage. Sometimes ghost images can seen on the inside of the glass. Refreshing needs to be done on all art, not just the ones in the bathroom (it just does not need to be quite so often).


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Thanks Lori! The link is extremely informative and helpful.