How to Store Canvas Paintings

Canvases are the usual substrate for painting and hold some of the world’s greatest works of art. Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch are the most famous. Canvases are stronger than paper and will last hundreds of years under the right conditions. Also, painters agree that canvases feel good “under the brush” when painting. 

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

If you’re an artist or a collector of fine art, you likely have multiple pieces on canvases. That’s wonderful for decorating, but if you need to store your canvas paintings, it can be a challenge. That’s because, while durable, canvases aren’t bulletproof. They can rip, stretch and tear if not stored correctly. Sunlight, heat, and cold can also be problematic for canvas paintings. 

Need help storing your canvas paintings like a pro? No problem! You’ll find the best tips, tricks, and advice for storing canvas paintings below, courtesy of Storage Solutions! Read on to ensure your canvas masterpieces stay in pristine condition while in storage!

how to store canvas paintings like a pro

Never Store Canvas Paintings Laying Flat

This first tip is the most critical for protecting canvas plantings. Storing them flat puts your painting at severe risk. They can warp, stretch or something may fall and tear a hole in them. You might accidentally step on them, which would be a disaster. Instead, store all canvas paintings standing on their frame’s edge. It’s the very best position to keep canvas paintings long and short-term.

Pack Large Canvas Paintings in Mirror Boxes

To protect your canvas paintings to the max, mirror boxes (aka mirror cartons) are best. Technically, mirror boxes are for large mirrors, large paintings, and large prints with glass in their frames. Mirror boxes have two parts, a top and a bottom. These two parts telescope inside each other to extend for extra-large canvas paintings. They also provide a double layer of cardboard for extra protection. (Just FYI, Storage Solutions sells mirror boxes at most locations.) Lastly, remember to put a “FRAGILE” sticker on both sides of the mirror box. 

Use Large, Clean, Flat Boxes to Pack Canvas Paintings

No mirror boxes? No problem! You can use a large box and slide the canvas painting into it like an envelope. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find a new, large cardboard box that, when flat, is about 6 inches longer and wider than your canvas painting.
  2. Leave the box flat, and tape closed one of the two open sides. 
  3. Wrap your canvas painting with a sheet or a large paper pad.
  4. Slide the wrapped canvas painting into the cardboard box’s open end like an envelope.
  5. Seal the other end with tape.
  6. Put a “FRAGILE” sticker on the box or write it on both sides with a magic marker.

Pack Small Canvas Paintings together in a Large, Square Box

Storing small paintings together works best to ensure your canvas paintings stay upright while stored. It will keep them together and upright and keep them clean too. The step-by-step instructions to do it are below:

  1. First, wrap your small canvas paintings in acid-free packing paper. 
  2. Place several sheets of crumpled, acid-free paper in the bottom of the box and smooth them flat.
  3. Next, place your small canvas paintings next to each other on their edges in a large box. 
  4. Fill the box with like-sized canvases as best you can. (Don’t squeeze them in too tightly.)
  5. Fill any gaps with more crumpled paper and seal the box.
  6. Put a few “FRAGILE” stickers on the box. 

Do this will all of your smaller canvas paintings, sorting them by size. Small paintings in a small box, larger in a larger box, etc. Also, put a few “UP” stickers on the boxes so they don’t get laid on their side in storage.

Rent a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Climate-controlled storage is the best method to protect valuable canvas paintings. If you have a collection of paintings on canvas with a high value, climate-controlled storage is your best choice. Yes, it costs a little more per month, but it’s worth the extra few dollars. Climate-controlled storage is between 50℉ and 80℉ throughout the year, so your paintings will never be in extreme hot and cold. Also, climate-controlled storage units are almost always inside units, so there’s less dust or risk of insects.

how to store canvas paintings like a pro

How to Store Rolled Canvas Paintings

Canvas paintings that aren’t on a frame are a little easier to store. However, you still need some tools to do it correctly to protect them well. For example, you’ll need mailer tubes, acid-free paper, and some packing tape. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to pack rolled canvas paintings:

  1. Purchase mailer tubes wide and long enough to hold your rolled canvas paintings.
  2. If you roll paintings together, place a piece of acid-free paper between each one.
  3. Gently roll the paintings and acid-free paper into a roll.
  4. Slide them gently into the mailer tube.
  5. Seal the tube ends with their plastic lids and tape them on.

While storing, it’s best to keep your rolled paintings standing upright. That way, the center of the paintings won’t stretch or warp. To do this, put several of them together, standing up in a larger, tall, empty plastic bin. It’s easy, will keep them organized, and the plastic keeps out bugs, rodents, and moisture.

These Tips on How to Store Canvas Paintings Brought to you by Storage Solutions

Did you learn a lot about packing your canvas paintings for storage today? We hope so and that our tips and advice help you keep your precious paintings pristine.

At Storage Solutions, we have safe, clean storage units where you can store your paintings in peace. They’re secure, too, with 24/7 video cameras, an on-site manager, and large, keypad-controlled gates. Most of our locations also offer climate-controlled storage if your paintings need the extra protection it provides. 

Click here to find out more, see our locations, and get phone numbers for each. You can also visit the Storage Solutions self-storage location near your home and meet the on-site manager. They will happily answer any questions and help you choose the best storage unit for your specific needs. 

This article was originally posted on 9/16/2019. It was updated on 09/27/2022.

Read More Storage Solutions Articles

1 thought on “How to Store Canvas Paintings”

Comments are closed.