How to better care for your framed artworks and sandblasted glass


Transporting your framed artwork safely

  • If you have multiple framed items, always place the wrapped items face to face, or back to back.
  • Plan your trip so that when you collect your framing you can take it home straight away. The intense heat and moisture changes rapidly generated in a parked car can lead to condensation in the framed package. This could result in the growth of mould or the blooming of an oil painting (when moisture is trapped between the pigments and binder resulting in an overall greying)

 Where to hang framed art

  • If the framed item has any sentimental or monetary value, it is best to avoid hanging it on an exterior wall due to the daily rapid heat and moisture fluctuations. This is especially problematic in New Zealand due to the high humidity levels.
  • It is also best to avoid having the direct sunlight shine or any intense light source shine directly on it.If it is particularly valuable, consider covering the frame with an opaque hanging cloth to block all light when the object is not being viewed.
  • Above a fireplace or too close to a heat source should also be avoided, as well as basements or any other areas prone to environmental extremes and with a high risk of water leaks
  • Too much moisture, combined with heat, can lead to steam and condensation, which fosters microbial growth and chemical reactions. The continuous expansion and contraction leads to a weakening of the fibers, the pigments and binders also deteriorate. Hanging the artwork in a climate controlled room is preferable 

Minimizing light damage

  • All forms of light damage artwork. UV light is particularly damaging, so a glass with a good UV protection helps reduces light damage, but cannot totally prevent it.  In combination with pollutants in the air, heat and humidity, light initiates fading, discolouration and the embrittlement of many materials. Light damage affects the chemical composition and physical nature of the item, is cumulative and irreversible.
  • While sunlight is the primary source of heat, exposure to fluorescent, incandescent and halogen lights, as well as close proximity to a heated light source (picture light) is best minimized. Draw curtains and switch off lights when no one is in the room or consider covering it with an opaque cloth.
  • There are no conservation treatments that can undo light damage. Even if some visible manifestations of light damage can be lessened, the chemical and physical damage to the material will remain forever.
  • Common visible examples of light damage include: faded ink inscriptions, colour shifts or fading of paints, yellowed newspaper clippings.
  • Light damage is cumulative. and also depends on the intensity  duration of exposure. Dim light over a long period of time is just as damaging as bright light over a short period of time.
  • The best preservation methods for your particular artwork will be discussed with you when you have it framed.

Preventing damage to framed art

  • For valuable artworks, due to either monetary or sentimental considerations, it is recommended that your artwork be taken back to your framer at least every three to five years for a check-up.
  • Your framer will open it up, clean the glass, check for insect infestation, microbial growth or any other signs of degradation. With artworks, prevention is definitely better that having to try to restore damage at a later stage.
  • It is also important to ensure that the correct materials were used when your artwork was framed, to ensure it's longevity.

How to clean the glass of a framed item

  • It's safer to remove the artwork off the wall before cleaning the glass. Lightly spray a glass cleaning fluid that doesn't contain any ammonia, onto a clean, micro fiber cloth, never directly onto the glass. Gently clean it and dry it with another micro fiber cloth. If the glass has a UV coating, be especially careful that the cloth has no grit on it, as it can scratch easily.
  • To clean acrylic, do the same as above, but be sure to use an acrylic cleaner. Acrylic also scratches easily, so also make sure that there is no grit trapped in the cloth.

How to clean a framed mirror

  • Make sure that the edges of your mirror are sealed with an appropriate sealer when you buy one.
  • The metals used to produce Mirrors tarnish easily, so it is best to avoid any cleaning agents.
  • Lightly mist a glass micro fiber cloth with water and gently rub it until clean. Use a second micro fiber cloth to dry it and ensure that there are no streaks.
  • Never spray water directly onto the mirror.

 How to clean sandblasted / glass etched windows, doors and balustrades

  • The beauty of sandblasting is that it is a permanent finish which doesn't damage easily. When marked by greasy hands, use a degrease r or  acetone on the spots. The glass can then be cleaned normally with a regular glass cleaner.
  • If not cleaned correctly, the sandblasting may appear blotchy or streaky. You can spray the cleaning agent liberally onto the cloth, or directly onto the glass, if the frame is not water sensitive. Ensure that the whole piece is thoroughly wet. Rub it all over using small circular motions. An old towel may come in handy as your drying cloth. The sandblasting must be rubbed until it is dry using small circular motions once again.
  • Sealing of the sandblasting makes the above process a little easier, but it generally needs to be replenished periodically, especially if it is exposed to the elements or used in a shower.

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