When you make an investment in an art print, then you are sure to want it to last for years. However, in order to do that, you have to be careful to take certain steps in its care. Lithographic prints are on paper and paper can be very fragile, especially as they age and if their care isn't just right. If you want your prints to last, then here are a few things you should know about their preservation.
Use Only Acid-Free Materials
If you plan on framing your own lithograph, then make sure everything that touches the print is archival and acid-free. The problem is that if any of the tapes, mats, covers, and frames don't have this feature, then it will damage and yellow your print. Not all spray adhesives are acid-free, and some materials dry out as they age, so choose wisely.
Pick up your print carefully by the corners or lightly touching the edges to keep the oils in your skin from affecting the print. Try not to touch more of the print than you need to. Some people recommend gloves, but unless you've got something really old and fragile, it's not really necessary. Be careful not to bend or cause a crease in your artwork or cause a tear.
Light can cause any artwork to fade or turn yellow, so it's important to limit your print to light exposure. Keep it out of direct sunlight or even bright indirect light like a lamp. If you must light up your artwork, use special lighting specifically designed for artwork and limit it as much as possible. If you frame your artwork under glass, it is worth making the investment in one that is protected against ultraviolet light.
Protect Against Humidity and Temperature Fluctuations
Keep your print out of areas that have high moisture content or tend to have big temperature extremes. Too much humidity at a warm temperature and your artwork could get moldy and attract insects. If it's too dry, then you may have problems with brittleness. Best to keep your print in an area with moderate humidity and room temperature.
Another option, if you want your lithograph to last as long as possible, is to place it in an archival box and store it in a temperature-stable place. However, that would defeat the purpose of enjoying it on your wall with your family and friends. If you want to enjoy and make an investment in fine art, then lithographic prints may be a practical choice for you. Contact a lithograph printer like charles w brogdon to see what types of artwork they can provide for you.