Using conventional picture frames to display your art is more environmentally-friendly than stretched canvas. Picture frames are more recyclable and reusable compared with stretched canvas frames. Old art can be replaced with new art using the same frame. This is especially true for art prints that allow an inexpensive and quick way to change your art style anytime.
Inevitably, picture frames will undergo wear and tear. They need to be maintained to prolong their lifespan, aesthetic and reusability. To begin with, getting durable picture frames made of good quality wood might be a good idea. But fibreboard frames can also last a long time if they are cared for properly.
1. Use non-abrasive cleaning cloth
We all use cloth to dust and clean. For cleaning picture frames, make sure you use soft non-abrasive cloth such as microfibre cloth. In fact, set aside a microfibre cloth exclusively for cleaning picture frames. Don’t use this cloth for other cleaning purposes.
Sharp microscopic objects are sometimes picked up by cloth during cleaning. If the cloth has already been used to clean multiple objects, these residues may stick onto the cloth and scratch the surface of the picture frame.
Microfibre cloth has electrostatic properties and will remove dust from the glass or acrylic front cover. Do not spray a cleaning solution onto the front cover to remove finger or oil stains. Cleaning solution may corrode the frame material and even seep onto the artwork.
Instead, spray a little cleaning solution onto the cloth and gently spot rub onto the stain. Go over with a dry cloth until the stain disappears.
2. Place away from wet areas
Don’t place or hang framed art too close to windows, shower area or cooking stove. Any water, moisture and steam can damage both frame and artwork. This also means the kids must take their water gun and bubble-blowing playtime away from the art.
Preferably, art should be kept indoors. If you must have them displayed outdoors, make sure the frames are waterproof and offer the art sufficient protection from getting wet. In this case, it would be worth the effort to get frames that are specifically made for the outdoors.
Similarly, extra care must be given to picture frames placed in the bathroom and kitchen.
If guests spill water onto the frame or touch them with wet hands, try to clean up as soon as politely and discretely possible. Water stains can form on surfaces and can become permanent.
3. Prevent warping and bowing
When wood warps or bows, it loses its straightness and bends can be seen along the frame. Exposing frame material to hot and cold conditions will make it expand and contract. Subjecting the frame to repeated temperature fluctuations may deform the material permanently.
Watch out for warping and bowing for frames placed near the fireplace, cooking stove or oven. Place art away from locations with extreme temperature changes. Get frames that are properly varnished to slow down absorption and loss of moisture that can also cause deformation.
Non-wooden picture frames such as those made of aluminium can be dented easily. Improperly hanged frames can drop too often and get damaged. Picture frames and art are decorative items just like vases and table lamps. So, take extra care in minimising impact when moving around them.
4. Get professional treatment
It would be a good idea to invest in professional care for picture frames. Things we can’t do ourselves such as tightening connections, mending cracks, replacing backing and cover, varnishing, etc., should be left to the professionals.