Framing and Storing Your Colored Pencil Artwork

If you have read 'Archival & Acid-Free' in the Support Section and 'Lightfastness' in the Colored Pencils section, you will understand that colored pencil work would like a little TLC for longevity.

I won't be explaining how to frame a picture, but I will give you tips on what you should and shouldn't do when framing. I strongly suggest using a professional. While frames can be purchased at Walmart inexpensively, they will not protect a piece of artwork properly.

Conservation- or museum-grade materials should be used. Archival-quality materials include 100% acid-free, pH-balanced backing, archival-grade matboard, linen or acid-free tape. Non-archival materials can discolor paper or lead to the breakdown of the materials used in the artwork.

Glazing is the preferred method of mounting colored pencil work on paper or paper-like materials. Museum-grade glass is recommended. It provides a glare-free surface and UV protection against fading.

Original artwork should be hinge-mounted onto matboard with acid-free paper or linen tape. This provides a removable adhesive that will not discolor. 

Matboard not only looks nice, but it keeps your work from touching the glass. A mat allows air circulation between the art and the glass. Artwork should not be placed directly against the glass because condensation that forms inside a framed piece becomes trapped and can cause mold, mildew, and warping. Colored pencil work can also stick to the glass.

For archival purposes, the mat should not overlap the drawing. A margin of at least 1/4" should be left. A matboard that is overlapping will eventually leave a mark on the drawing, even if it is acid-free.

If you are not going to use matboard, spacers are recommended.

Seal the back of the frame with either an acid-free foam board or use double-sided tape and brown kraft paper. This keeps out dust and environmental pollutants.

DickBlick.com offers framing materials.

Pastelboard, wood, and matboard do not require framing if lightfast pencils of an Excellent or Very Good rating were used - but your artwork will get dusty and dirty. If not sealed with a fixative, they could be difficult to clean.

If you do not plan on framing your picture anytime soon, you need to store your artwork properly to protect it from fading, creases, dust, and dirt. I strongly suggest purchasing artwork presentation binders or portfolios for this. 

Portfolios allow you to protect, carry and present your work. Presentation cases/binders usually have clear acid-free sheet protectors for storing your artwork in with acid-free black paper so you can store more than one artwork in a sheet. DickBlick.com offers a variety to choose from.

There are also museum-grade or archival-grade storage boxes list on DickBlick.com.

Posted in Framing & Storage