How to Store Large Pictures in Frames

The way to properly store a large picture in a frame is tougher than you think. Any picture frame will protect a picture from environmental irritants like dust, fingerprints and debris. But to delay the ravages of time, you must take greater care with your photographs. When stored over long periods, sunlight, moisture and acid can penetrate the frame to destroy or erode your picture. To prevent common storage problems from occurring, invest the time and money it takes to store your pictures correctly.

Keep important memories forever with the proper storage techniques.

Step 1

Put on a pair of lint-free cotton gloves. Touching the photographs with your bare hands will leave behind oil prints that will stain the picture over time.

Step 2

Place the picture in an aluminum or other metal frame. Unlike wooden frames, metal frames do not produce the acids that yellow pictures over time. When choosing a metal frame, the United States National Archives recommends one that has archive-quality, low-acid, lignen-free ragboard or matboard backing. This backing will not yellow the pictures over time or cause them to stick to the glass frame.

Step 3

Drape a clean sheet, canvas cover, cardboard frame box or fireproof box (for valuable photos) over the frame.

Step 4

Place or stack the framed pictures vertically in a dark room. For the most ideal storage conditions, the National Archives recommends an above-ground closet. Closets have the consistent temperatures (between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit), and low humidity (between 35 and 50 percent) that framed pictures need for long-term storage.

Step 5

Check the frames once or twice a year. Moisture leakage, insect infestation or other problems may destroy even expertly stored pictures. Minimize any damage by catching the problem early. While examining your pictures, put on your white gloves and leave the frames open for a few minutes. This helps to dissipate any gas that has built up.

Meg Butler

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.