How to Store Canvas Paper Paintings
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How to Store Canvas Paper Paintings

by The Abbot of Unreason
(Nevada City, CA)

Reader Question: I'm in the middle of a project to make a painting for every page of Frankenstein. Each painting is acrylic on canvas paper, only 9x12 so that's fairly small, but I expect to have over 200 of them by the time I'm finished! I've been taping them to the wall to fully dry, but I'm running out of wall space (plus they fall down) and I want to keep them safe. I'm worried that if I put them in a folder or something they'll stick to each other or the paint will scratch. Do you know a low-cost way to save these until I decide to frame them or destroy them or whatever?

response to question

Sounds like a cool project! Here are two suggestions about how to safely store your 9x12 acrylic paintings on canvas paper (based on what I have done in similar situations):
  1. After the acrylic paintings have fully dried, wrap each one individually in a sheet of glassine. Glassine is an acid-free barrier paper that won't scratch or harm the surface of your paintings. Just wrap them like you would wrap a present and tape it shut in the back.

    Then tape your glassine-wrapped painting to one piece of foam board and place another piece of foam board on top, creating a sandwich (see image below). You can use cardboard if you need to, but foam board is usually sturdier and more reliable than cardboard. Make sure each piece of foam board is slightly larger than your painting, to avoid denting or creasing the very edges of your painting.

    Then tape the whole thing shut by placing one end of the tape on the top piece of foam board and the other end of the tape on the bottom piece of foam board. You'll end up with something like this (except you should tape it shut on all 4 edges):

    how to store paintings on paper


    You can do this for each painting, or to save on foam board, you can create a multi-layered "sandwich" like so:

    how to store acrylic paintings on paper


  2. Your other alternative is to wrap each individual painting in glassine as outlined above, and then carefully stack each wrapped painting inside a sturdy storage box, so that they are all lying flat. You can use an archival storage box or a cardboard one, depending on how concerned you are (or aren't) about longevity.

    Archival Storage Boxes


    Make sure that the storage box is adequately larger than your wrapped paintings - at least 11" x 14". Depending on how deep your box is, you may need to use more than one.

Either of those solutions should allow you to safely store your acrylic canvas paper paintings without them getting scratched, dented, or stuck together.

Hope that helps and Happy Painting!

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