Care of your Framed Art

Tips on looking after framed art from Edinburgh's Family Run Framer

You've gone to the time and expense of having your artwork professionally framed. Now we would like to give you some advice on how to keep it in perfect condition for future generations


If you need them we will have provided you with hooks to hang your pictures. We recommend that you use both hooks provided (except in the case of a canvas where only one is provided per hanger). Each hook should be set about a third in from either side of the frame. We will have provided the appropriate strength of wire or cord for the size and weight of the completed frame package. The correctly positioned hooks will spread the weight evenly across the frame, ensuring a secure fit on the wall.

Storing Before Hanging

If your artwork is not to be hung immediately, it should be stored upright. If it is stored any other way, ie.upside down or on it's side, the paper hinges attaching the artwork to the undermount will be weakened and the artwork may slip. If more than one picture is stored, they should be put glass to glass or back to back, to prevent fittings damaging the frames. When carrying the frame, you should hold it by the 2 sides to avoid excessive strain on the joints.

Keep Cool !

Avoid extremes of temperature. If possible pictures should not be hung above radiators or fires. Extreme and rapid changes in temperature cause paper and wood to dry out and warp. We have provided frame bumpers to lessen any effects by allowing air to pass round the back of the frame and create an even environment. These bumpers also prevent damage to the wall caused by the frame and prevent marks on the wall caused by dust. This will fall to the skirting board.
Pictures should not be hung in damp conditions since this encourages fungal growth which is likely to show as brown stains on the picture or mount, or black mould stains on the backing board or mount. Damp may also cause artwork to ripple and come in contact with the glass. It may stick to the glass and is liable to be damaged when trying to remove it. Damp and humidity fade watercolours and printed textiles. The frame bumpers mentioned above, allowing air to go round the frame, can help reduce the likelihood of damage caused by damp.

Pictures Are Like Vampires!

Try not to hang the picture in direct sunlight. The colours may fade, depending on the medium used to produce the picture/print. UV blocking glass will have been recommended where the art is of value and the medium is not lightfast. Modern printing inks and art media tend to be lightfast. This may not be true of older media and prints, particularly lithographs.
Where reflections are an issue, we may have recommended using an anti-reflect glass.

Scrub a Dub Dub!

To clean the frame, only a soft, dry or slightly damp cloth is required. Frames, particularly gilded ones, can be damaged by household cleaners. Similarly a soft, dry or slightly damp cloth is sufficient for regular cleaning of oil canvases and acrylics that have not been glazed. If the picture is to be hung in a smoky atmosphere and accumulates dirt on the glass, cleaning fluid may be used on the glass, but it should be applied to the cloth and not directly to the frame.
If a specialist glass has been used, please follow the instructions provided on the label on the back of the frame.

Annual Checks

Your picture should be inspected at least once a year. Due to centrally-heated house, a stretched canvas can become loose. Taking a small hammer to the 8 wedges in the corners will open the corners and tighten the canvas. If oil paintings are becoming dirty with cigarette smoke, they should be taken to a restorer for removal and replacement of the protective varnish.
Similarly, for other artwork, if there is evidence of discolouration or dots appearing on the paper, it should also be taken to a restorer. We always use acid-free materials, so this would only occur if artwork was brought to us pre-mounted using substandard materials. If insects can be seen under the glass, or if the paper is warped, the picture should be returned to us for cleaning and correction. The back of the picture should also be checked for torn tape, which may allow dirt to migrate inside the frame package. The cord or wire should be inspected for signs of wear and replaced if necessary.