How to Store Framed Art

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Things You'll Need

  • Mirror storage boxes larger than the frames
  • Acid-free paper
  • Acid-free corrugated cardboard
  • Straightedge
  • Utility knife
  • Packing tape

Taking the time to ensure your framed artwork is stored properly is well worth the effort; otherwise, some of your favorite pieces may suffer from scratched or broken glass, damaged frames, or even mold and mildew. Wrapping up the items in archival storage materials and boxes, then storing the pieces vertically, helps ensure their longevity.

Line the bottom of a mirror storage box with wads of acid-free paper to create a cushion for the frame or frames.

Set a frame atop a large sheet of corrugated cardboard. Slice the cardboard so it is at least an inch larger and wider than the frame, using a straightedge as a guide for the utility knife as you slice through the cardboard. Cut at least two more sheets of cardboard the same size.

Place two frames of the same size face to face. Slide the paired frames into a mirror storage box several inches wider, deeper and longer than the frames.

Slip a sheet of the cut corrugated cardboard between the two frames to separate them. Slide one sheet of corrugated cardboard along the back of each frame.

Center the paired frames and cardboard pieces in the box. Fill any gaps between the cardboard sheets and the box walls with additional cardboard or wadded-up acid-free paper. Fill the space at the top of the box with cardboard strips or wads of acid-free paper for additional protection.

Tape the box top closed with packing tape. Store the box vertically in a low-humidity environment out of direct sunlight, such as a closet in an air-conditioned room.


  • Archival fabrics such as washed, undyed muslin may be used to wrap stored frames. Archival-quality plastic sleeves are also available, if you wish to place each frame in its own sleeve. Archival supply shops carry sleeves in many sizes.

    Do not overstuff boxes so they bulge at the sides. In some cases, only one frame may fit in the box at a time.

    Various archival-quality materials may be used for packing the frames, including special plastics that take the place of corrugated cardboard. No matter which materials you use, the key to successful storage is to use sturdy boxes and to keep cushioned space between the frames and the box walls, in case the box is bumped or dropped.


  • Use only archival-quality plastics and fabrics or acid-free paper and cardboard if using these materials to protect your art.

    Keep stored boxes away from moisture, as moisture -- even excessive humidity -- may lead to mold or mildew.

    If the framed art is a valuable, fragile piece, consider asking a professional familiar with archival materials to pack it for you.