How to store canvas paintings at home?

By Mandy Moss

To store canvas paintings is a priority that many people tend to not think about until it’s time to do so. Whether you are redecorating or moving to a new home, you want to care for your  fine art even when it’s not on display.

When you store canvas paintings, it’s best to find a plastic or bubble Wrap which will protect the surface of the art.  Make sure you Keep the canvas away from a light source and in a climate-controlled area. Your artwork should stand in upright position if possible.   

Anything from a plain canvas, oil paintings to one with a sentimental art value need to be stored properly in your home, if you are not displaying them.  Whether you are an avid art collector or perhaps you just like to change the seasonal mood of your home, art should be stored properly for resale or reuse.

4 Tips for How to store a canvas paintings

It’s time to pack up your art collection, but you’re not sure how.  You might think, “ahhh I’ll just throw some towels on top of it, and place it in my car, or store it upstairs”. 

Wrong answer. 

Canvas art needs to be stored properly in order to preserve the longevity of it. Even if it is a plain canvas, these useful tips below will help you maintain quality: 

Plastic wrap

Use a plastic wrap or bubble wrap to tightly secure the canvas.  You do not want anything to hit the surface of the canvas and damage it. 

Bubble wrap to store a canvas paintings

The last thing you want is for someone to notice a thumbprint or ding on the surface. Bubble wrap will help prevent those small anomalies that could damage the surface. 

Pro tip: Storage blanket will work as well.

Store Paintings Upright

It’s best to store paintings is upright.  Try to avoid laying the canvas pieces on the floor.  If you do have to lay it on the floor, do not stack it on top of each other.  

There are some very cool painting racks to help you store the artwork on amazon, like this one.

If you can find storage materials and build a modular storage Painting rack by yourself even better. That way you can use one storage unit to store multiple pieces, sizes and shapes.

Climate-controlled space

Choose a room in your home that is climate controlled and has no windows or air ventilation.  Basements and attics are a big no-no in the canvas storage world. A room with no windows or exterior walls is great for art storage, but sometimes that may be hard to find.  At best find a room that has a good climate control.

Check consistently

When you have found that perfect room, the job is halfway done. Once you wrap it and store it upright, you will want to consistently check your paintings.  Make sure the stored paintings don’t have any holes in the wrap or blankets. 

Ensure the room temperature isn’t too cold or too hot.  Storage areas are places we don’t frequent much in a home, so we want to check the room to make sure the area is still adequate.  You never know when a pipe will break, or a tiny little pest can seep thru the doors and find a home in your preserved artwork!  

Pro-Tip:  Take documentation of your artwork that you store, so you know your inventory.  The last thing you want to do is forget a valuable piece of art that could make or break a room’s décor or even worse get lost!

What not to do when storing your art collection?

There are many rooms in your house that you might think work best for the art storage.  However, there are many key elements to a storage space that you do not want to store Paintings in.  Picasso or not, art is art!

Do Not:

  1. Place your artwork directly in sunlight. Paint can fade and cause portions of the art to wilt away from the heat.  Even if it is wrapped properly you do not want it to have a faded look when you do place it back on display.
  2. Place your artwork in the basement.  Humidity is key.  In Basement we usually find concrete floors. Overall place is in most cases full of moisture and damp. Guess what?  You will find an icky mold growth that might infest the painting.  To fix it will cost money and a lot of time given that it is fixable!
  3. Place in the attic.  Attics might have a great holding place in your mind, but they are one of the worst places for your canvas.  Attics tend to be hot and dry, and that is a very bad climate for the canvas.  Why?  Because heat will expand and contracts the canvas, causing the paintings to eventually warp.  
  4. Stack on top of each other.  It’s easy to find a neat corner on the ground to save space and simply stack the paintings on top of each other.  Not a good idea!  Weight can distort canvas features, destroying the paintings all together. 

Can I fold canvas painting?

I would say absolutely not. If you are storing the painting, folding is not a good idea at all. However, rolling the canvas painting is okay to do, but not for long periods of time.  Since storing the canvas straight can take up room in your home, some might think it would be okay to roll it.

You can for a short period of time, but if you are trying to preserve your artwork for years and years to come, rolling can still damage its surface.  If the canvas is not as expensive you might want to consider storing those ones as rolled vs. the pricey ones.

How to store your art prints

Art prints are different then canvas prints, as they are copies of the original.  However just as valuable to many of us.  Since it is a print and not canvas, the paper reacts differently  in environments than a canvas. 

Before storing you might want to consider glazing the print. Glazing is simply adding a light smear to the print using a glazing oil.  It is transparent, so you do not need to worry about any added coloring effect

If you are using a storage box, such as this 20 Piece Aluminum Storage Rack, make sure that you do have the prints touching each other.  Place a piece of light cardboard or acid free paper in-between each print to avoid touching.  This protects the print from light or dirt when you lay them down flat.


Hope you found information valuable. Although the preferred storage space for artwork is really your wall, sometimes we have to place our canvases in a storage for preservation. 

Our children’s artwork or simply the ones  that don’t work with our décor but hold a valuable sentiment,  can all be reasons for storing a canvas.  Regardless the reason, storing the art properly is necessary to maintain the quality of the canvas and the significance it may have to you.  This way painting will last forever.

Read next: