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How to Store Watercolor Paintings

how to store watercolor paintings

Excellent watercolor paintings start with using the best materials to make the paintings, proper organization of these materials, and the final artwork. This process, if managed well, will result in high-quality water paintings that can last for the longest time.

Water coloring is a fun-filled activity and can also be a hard nut to crack if an artist has not mastered organizing, storing, and documenting the fruits of their labor.

However, the most significant storage challenge comes when several artworks are involved wherein they stick to one another because they are wet. This can compromise the paintings’ integrity.

Are you facing this challenge with your own paintings? Don’t fret; this article will guide you on how to store watercolor paintings and help your masterpieces last longer.

Start with a Good Foundation

The outcome of any activity largely depends on the input that has been placed. Therefore, if you want to have an easy time storing watercolor paintings, the best thing is to start with a good foundation.
With that said, a good foundation involves the use of high-quality art materials and creating your artworks in a favorable environment.

The Golden Tenets to Observe for Watercolor Paintings

1. Maintain cleanliness

You should maintain your environment’s overall cleanliness while painting. For example, you need to ensure that your hands and all the equipment used for this work are clean. Cleanliness eliminates dust, food residues, and smoke which could tamper with the outcome.

Additionally, the paper, paint, water, and canvas should be clean with no traces of oil or fingerprints. Lastly, make sure to clean the brushes and all the equipment after use.

2. Use acid-free materials

Next, consider using acid-free materials in the whole painting process. This means the paper, the masking tape, and the portfolio materials are all acid-free.

This is important because acid results in the yellowing of the painting. Because of this, your artwork will start to wear out sooner rather than later, especially when exposed to light and heat.

3. Limit exposure to sunlight

Additionally, it’s best to limit your work’s exposure to sunlight. This is because exposing your artwork to sunlight will result in color fading and cracking.

In addition, exposure to direct sunlight for a long time will significantly reduce its lifespan. Therefore, always ensure that direct sun cannot access your artwork by using curtains in the room.

Moreover, it’s best to avoid fluorescent bulbs since they emit UV radiation. If you have to use bulbs, consider using LED lights.

4. Avoid extreme humidity and temperature

You should also ensure the climate in the room you’re storing your paintings is just right. Too much heat or humidity will damage the watercolor painting. If the space is damp, use dehumidifiers.

Organizing Your Artwork

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After using suitable materials for your watercolor paintings, it is time to store them properly. Here is what you need to do to ensure that they are ideally kept.

Store the painting horizontally

Watercolor paintings and drawings should be stored horizontally and lie flat. They should not be rolled up in a tube since the paint might wear off.
Additionally, rolling up will invite space for humidity. Finally, if your artwork will be stored for a long time, you should ensure that your painting is secure in its storage space.

Store in non-plastic sleeves

Next, it’s best to avoid storing your work in plastic sleeves. If you keep the artwork in a plastic sleeve, it might get damaged easily because of the condensation that might take place inside.
Although cellophane and clear bags can be used to transport or display the artwork, they should only be used for a limited amount of time. Nonetheless, if you have to use them for storage, ensure that they are acid-free.

Do not touch the surface

After you have finished painting, you should not touch the surface of the artwork. If you must move the painting, consider using cotton gloves to reduce any chances of dirt or contamination.

Right packaging

If you’re storing multiple paintings, consider using acid-free packaging such as glassine and tissue. You can wrap the paintings with these materials or rather put the material between them. In fact, glassine is deemed to be the perfect material since it separates pastels to avoid smudging.

Store in a dark and dry place

Once you have wrapped up your artwork with a glassine envelope, it’s best to keep it in a cardboard box and find a dry room with a non-fluctuating temperature or climate. Dry surfaces will ensure that molds will not distort the painting.


Once your artwork is dry and can be permanently stored, it is critical to label the box. Moreover, similar paintings can be kept in the same box or separately.
However, it is crucial to consider the available space and use it efficiently. For example, you can label them using markers or use colored boxes with different colors.

Storing Materials Used for Watercolor Paintings

Once you’ve stored your paintings, it’s time to keep the materials used. Let’s take a quick look at how to store some of these materials.

How to store Copic markers

Copic markers are tools sometimes used in painting since they provide a smooth application of dazzling colors. However, they need to be stored properly so you can use them again for other artworks.

With that said, artists can store Copic markers in specifically designed containers, allowing them to lie vertically to show their color within a glance. This will enable artists to see all colors with a glance.

How to store dry erase markers

Dry erase markers are also perfect for painting because they come in various colors. However, they need to be stored in containers that will enable them to lie vertically upside down so that they don’t dry fast.

This method allows the pen to stay fresh and provide the proper hues when painting. Finally, always ensure that they have the marker pens by closing them immediately after use.

Final Thoughts

An impressive artwork takes a lot of effort, both in painting and storage. So, to help you preserve your watercolor paintings, you must observe the above-mentioned golden tenets on how to store watercolor paintings.

They will not only help you store your painting safely but also save you time. In addition, you will notice reduced smudging and distorted artworks, thereby preserving your beautiful paintings until you’re ready to present them.

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