How To Store Pastel Paintings

Well after last week’s hair-pulling experience, I am DELIGHTED to present my newest Pastel Painting Tip video: How To Store Pastel Paintings.

How To Store Pastel Paintings

A couple of things I didn’t mention in the video:

Glassine and acid-free tissue are generally available at art stores.

– Another reason I don’t use acid-free tissue anymore is that it tears much more easily than glassine. For instance, when I remove the tape to unwrap it, the paper will tear. Not so with the glassine.

– Never use cardboard as a mounting board. You may think you’re going to store a painting temporarily but it’s surprising how often ‘temporary’ turns into long-term. The acid in the cardboard will eventually affect the pastel paper you worked on. This is especially a concern with thinner papers such as Canson Mi-Tientes. Use an acid-free board only.

– I mentioned briefly about the glassine and acid-free tissue being anti-static. This is very important. Do not be tempted to put your pastel in any sort of plastic or cellophane bags. If you do, you’ll find bits of pastel all over the bag next time you look. Also, removing the pastel from the bag without smearing it can be quite a feat! If you feel the need to put your pastel in a bag, make sure you first wrap it in glassine or acid-free tissue.

– You can store your stacks of work on a shelf (see picture below) or in drawers. If you need to access a piece, best is to remove the stack from the shelf or drawer and then look through the stack. It’s much easier to do this than trying to do it while the stack is on the shelf or in the drawer.

How to store pastel paintings: Here is a part of the homemade shelving unit I use for storing pastel paintings. I also use it for storing pastel papers and sheets of glassine
Here is a part of the homemade shelving unit I use for storing pastel paintings. I also use it for storing pastel papers and sheets of glassine

I think that’s everything about how to store pastel paintings. As I think of other things, I’ll add them to the blog. I also hope you’ll join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Some Cool Things About My YouTube Channel!

I’m pretty excited that my YouTube Channel subscribers now total 952!! Whoo hoo!! Closing in on 1000 subscribers – that will be a celebration day! You can help make that happen by sharing the video and/or this blog post.

Also, one of my videos now has over 10,000 views!! (YouTube sent me a notification about this so obviously it’s a milestone, even in ‘its’ eyes!) Click here to see that video.

Demo At Peninsula Gallery Next Saturday

One more thing….I’ll be demoing in pastel at Peninsula Gallery in Sidney, BC next Saturday 22nd August from 1-4pm. I love that it’s called an Art Encounter. I’m looking forward to that!!

How To Store Pastels: At work on a pastel
This will be me at Peninsula Gallery on Saturday!

Hey that’s it for this time. Such a relief to actually get that video up. Last week, I didn’t have a hope it was going to happen. Funny how things turn out 🙂

As always, it’s a great pleasure to hear from you. I know your time is precious so believe me when I say how much I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

Until next time,

~ Gail

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18 thoughts on “How To Store Pastel Paintings”

  1. Thanks again. I like the idea of stacking as I am so worried about my pastels and framing all of them can be so expensive !
    I am not sure what glassine is but I -have the tissues in between Canson Mi Tientes pads.

    1. Iris, I find stacking (rather than leaning or hanging upright) to be the safest way to store pastels. And yes, framing is soooo expennsive! This way, you can store work and then review it when you need to frame something. I find that looking at the work through the glassine also gives you a sense of how successful the piece is as you only see the big shapes and values.

      I know that Canson makes pads of paper (16 sheets?) with glassine dividers. I’m not sure if that’s the pad you have though. To check out what glassine is, click the link above in the article – it’s right under the video.

  2. Great video and really useful info.

    I first found your work on youtube and have really enjoyed watching how you work: especially useful to a complete newbie like me. Thanks for taking the time to do them. 🙂

  3. Hi Gail. What do you think about using Crystal Clear bags, which are anti-static? They seem to pick up a small bit of pastel, but don’t require glassine.

    1. Hi Maggie,
      I haven’t used bags when it comes to pastels (I have for prints). Other than the static factor, there’s the smear factor when it comes to bags. No matter how careful, I’d be afraid of smearing the piece. It needs to go in AND it needs to come out so that’s twice the chance of smearing. When you remove it for good (for framing for example), you could dismantle the bag ie ‘unwrap’ it from the piece which would prevent smudging but you still have to get it into the bag in the first place! If you fix your pastel painting completely, you might take a chance. But in the end, I’d prefer to wrap the painting first, then put it in a bag. That would certainly protect it further from smearing and moisture. But I think it’s unnecessary especially if you are storing them flat.

      It sounds like you may use bags. Is there a reason you have gone this route? Is it a lot easier to use bags?

      Thanks for asking the question!

  4. I’ll add one thing to this. Krystal Seal archival art and photo bags are great. They’re even better than glassine at not attracting powder off the pastel painting, something about the material repels it. Putting the art directly into these, I can store it in boxes or slide it into the archival pockets of an Itoya Profolio for easy display.

    When I’m selling again, matting and shrink wrapping paintings with an archival back board would let me store them on a shelf or a prints rack without a problem. But currently and when I’m just painting for myself, the bags alone do fine within the Profolio. Much easier to look through than the several archival boxes with glassine barriers for my earlier work.

    1. That’s such great info Robert. How do you find slipping them into and out of the bags without smearing them? I’m wondering if they are available in Canada. I’ll have a look.
      You mention matting and shrink wrapping for selling. I would have been worried about a static build up with the shrinkwrap but it seems you have found it fine to use.

  5. Oh, one more thing I forgot, because I sometimes do ATCs in pastel or pastel pencil. The little archival soft sleeves and ULtra Pro top loader sports card protectors are equally good at not smearing pastel paintings. The archival stiff holders also give UV protection.

    The system in your video is great for shipping too, with the addition of another foam board taped over the top of the glassine and enough padding in the box that it won’t shift. That makes it tempting for me to cut foam core boards to fit neatly into Priority Mail boxes for any art smaller than those boards if I go back to selling art.

    1. Again, thanks for more info. For those who may not know, ATC stands for Artist Trading Cards and are about 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in size.

      Yes, I was going to mention about shipping but then thought vieo was getting too long! So thank you for mentioning it and describing the process 🙂

  6. Hi, Gail!
    I love your blog and your helpful answers, constant encouragement to press on and your willingness to teach! Thank you especially for the instruction. I’ve been wondering about whether it’s proper to store paintings matted or without mats. II know it’s more expensive, but I was sorta thinking it might provide a bit more protection for the paintings if they have to sit for awhile. Also, do you organize them by date painted or subject matter? If just the glassine works, how many paintings can you stack before the ones on the bottom get messy? Do you catalog your finished paintings to know where to find them? I’m just at a point where I realize some are really worth keeping! I guess I’m my own worst critic at times. My helper came in (I’m disabled) and when she saw my paintings, she fell in love with many of them. It was quite a surprise to me, actually. She has a whole slew of them in the hallway to take home~!~ Anyways, I’m getting off topic. Thank you for your willingness to teach. It means the world to me!

    1. Betty thank you for your enthusiastic and warm comment! To your questions – with the glassine, I have stacked at least ten high with no problems. It’s the shifting movement that might cause problems. Love your questions about organization. Unfortunately so far, I haven’t got organized!! The only thing I do is stack by size. Organization, a system to do so, is something to consider for sure. Right now, I pretty much can put my hand on what I need but if work accumulates, I will need a system! Thanks for bringing up the issue.

  7. I use only clear bags. They work like a charm. No going back to glassine. Easy Peasy. Use both sides. Come in different sizes. No static, no smearing. Artist Aline Ordman turned me into them. There’s no going back!

    1. Thanks Joyce. What do you mean by “use both sides”? I have heard a few people mention these no static bags. Isn’t there a chance of smearing as you slip the paper in? What is the brand name? Why not glassine?

  8. I use the dividers from pastel paper pads (or buy some) to make pouches, then store them, matted or not, vertically in an old dish rack. That way they never come in contact.

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Gail Sibley

Artist. Blogger. Teacher.

My love of pastel and the enjoyment I receive from teaching about pastel inspired the creation of this blog. It has tips, reviews, some opinions:), and all manner of information regarding their use through the years – old and new. Please enjoy!

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