How to Best Preserve and Protect Your Art

The Ultimate Guide to Preserve and Protect Your Art
“Blue Fiori Sun” (2013) by Dale Chihuly displayed at the Desert Botanical Garden | Image source:

An art world is a competitive place, and for artists who have spent years perfecting their craft, it can be difficult to find representation. Do you have a valuable piece of art that you would like to protect for generations to come? Do you want to be sure that your work is not lost or destroyed by fire, flood, human error, or other disasters? It can be challenging to find a guide on how to protect and preserve your art. There are so many different types of pieces in so many different mediums that it is hard for one blog post or series of posts to cover them all.

Moreover, the art world is contentious. To stand out and be successful, you need to have excellent skills, a great portfolio, and the right connections. You also need to protect your work from copyright infringement and preserve it for future generations of artists. This guide will help you understand copyright law and give you tips on caring for your art so that it lasts for years to come.

This post will show you how to physically protect your art from damage and copyrighting and how to protect the ideas behind your work. We hope this information will help you keep your creations safe for years to come!


As an artist, you may be looking for ways topreserve and protect your art. Art is one of the most important pieces of our culture. It’s what we leave behind when we die, and it tells the story of who we are as a society. Protecting that legacy should be a priority!

It’s no secret that artists are an emotional bunch. Whether it’s the fear of rejection or the wild joy of a successful show, these ups and downs can have significant impacts on how you look after your art.  However, to safeguard your work for future generations — not to mention your sanity — it is essential to take time out of the process and focus on preserving what you’ve created with care. This part of the post will explore some tried-and-true techniques for protecting your work from fading colors, cracked varnish, water damage, and more so that we may enjoy them long into the future.

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Difference Between Preservation and Conservation

The term “preservation” is often used interchangeably with the word conservation. But there are distinctions between these two words.

Preservation is about preventing damage to a work of art and preserving it for future generations. It’s also about ensuring that we can continue to enjoy an artist’s vision without the risk of losing it forever. It includes preventive actions and additional precautions that ensure your artwork is in the best physical shape it could be for as many years as possible.

On the other hand, conservation is about repairing and restoring artworks that have already been damaged — in essence, saving paintings from decay by stopping cracks before they get any larger and cause irreparable harm to the work of art. To be more precise, it is about repairing a work of art and treating it to preserve its structure and appearance for future generations. It includes restorative treatments and additional measures to recover loss or damage from sources such as fire or water. It is often used for the restoration of older works of art. The goal is to restore works as close as possible to their original state using non-damaging and reversible materials so that we can still enjoy them in the future, regardless of how much time has passed since the artwork was created.

The following section will give you tips on how you can preserve your art pieces at home without damaging them or spending too much money!

How to Preserve Your Work?

We’ll look at how to protect your artwork from damage over time with proper framing techniques as well as storage solutions for both large and small pieces of work. We’ll also discuss what materials best suit different mediums, such as watercolor paintings or acrylic works. Lastly, we’ll touch on how to take good care of your canvases by giving them a little TLC with some simple cleaning tasks. So if you’re looking for ways to make sure that the hard work you’ve done is preserved for years to come, we’ve got you covered!

Many artists are working on large pieces of work that will take months to create. These projects can be costly, but they don’t have to be stressful when you know the best way to protect your art from damage.

The first tip we have for you is to buy high-quality acrylics and watercolor paints. The reason for this is because when you buy cheaper brands, they tend to dry up much faster, which can lead to streaks in your painting or even make it unusable altogether if the paint starts cracking apart on your paper.

You also want to purchase a quality brush that will not shed bristles onto the surface of your paper with water before you start painting.

Have a rag or towel handy to dry watercolor paint brushes or acrylic paint brushes and clean up spills as soon as they happen — this prevents the paint from drying on surfaces that it isn’t supposed to be on, which will make for an easier cleanup process later! It’s essential to clean up any spills on an art surface as soon as you can with a dry cloth only — never use anything wet! The oil in your fingers can cause flaking when it mixes with paint which, in turn, will cause your painting to deteriorate.

Additionally, always exercise caution when using other people’s art supplies. You don’t know where those brushes have been or what kind of paint they contain; it’s best to use your own supplies whenever possible.

You can protect your paint strokes by using water-based acrylic or oil paints. Water-based paints will dry quicker and won’t react with materials like paper. If you use oil-based paint, let them dry for 24 hours before moving them so that they’re not too heavy with oil and don’t cause any flaking or tearing in the paper.

Use varnish as an additional protective layer over your artwork if there’s any watercolor or pen. This will help protect the work from smearing and keep your colors fresh-looking for years!

Store your art in a dark, cool place with plenty of ventilation. You can also keep your paintings sealed behind glass or plastic for protection from dust and sunlight.

You’re going to want to start using UV protection on any surface that might be exposed to sunlight or other harsh light sources like fluorescent lights, which can cause fading in color or even cracking in paint layers over time.

Next up, if you’re a traditional painter, would be finding the framing methods best suited for the type of art you are doing. As different kinds of paintings, such as oil on canvas or acrylic on paper, require different treatments, you may need to look into which type of framing suits your style best.

One of the precautions you can take while preserving and protecting artwork is using a cover such as Plexiglas, which will keep dust, dirt, and other particles at bay for years (at least if cared for appropriately) without causing any damage. This form of preservation should be used for artwork that is meant to last a long time.

Three versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, discovered by French scientist Pascal Cotte. Photograph: Lumiere Technology Photograph: Lumiere Technology | Image source:


In addition to physical preservation, there’s also copyright protection for any artwork created in this day and age. Copyright is a form of protection under the law that grants an artist their original work. To copyright art or any other type of non-text media, such as images, it must be registered with the US Copyright Office.

If you create your own artwork instead of buying one from someone else’s site (such as Etsy), it would be wise to copyright your art as soon as possible after creating it. This ensures that the copyright owner can control what happens with the art regarding reproduction or modification and gives them legal recourse if someone were to steal their work.

Copyright law gives you ownership of your original design. It allows you to control what happens with it regarding reproduction or modification. Consequently, doing so can be a barrier for others who would like to use the work. It is granted automatically when your artwork is created, but registering copyright will provide more protection and allow legal recourse if someone were to infringe on your rights. Moreover, it can grant you a copyright lawyer and the option to have the person who committed the copyright infringement pay the lawsuit costs. Copyrighting does have its drawbacks, but it is a great way to protect your work in more than a physical sense.

Furthermore, one aspect of art protection that is important yet largely overlooked is how to protect your art online. There is much about the digital world that is unexplored, and digital rights fall under that category.

Art Protection on the Internet

As the internet leaves many opportunities for your art to be stolen, you should have some precautions in place, especially if you want to prevent your art from being used without your permission.

In cases of visual art, you can do quite a few things — some of which may rely on the site’s accessibility and usability, but they can serve as good guidelines for how it is possible to protect your art online! First and foremost, you should add a visible watermark to your art before you upload it. Not only does this serve as your signature, but it can serve as proof of ownership in case of any legal action or dispute.

Similarly, you can always add lowly visible information to the images you upload online. For example, suppose you are creating a set of pictures that people can buy personally. In that case, you could put the buyers’ names someplace on the piece where it would not be too visible and then lower the opacity enough that it is detectable but not visible. This can give you an edge if you see your work being distributed without your consent.

Next up would be a relatively simple option — that is, if it is available. Namely, disabling right-click will render people unable to download your art and claim it as their own. This is heavily reliant on whether the site you are using to host your art has that option or whether you have the necessary programming knowledge to pull it off if you are the owner of the website you are displaying your art on.

There is also the option of uploading only low-resolution images, with high-quality resolution versions being available for purchase if someone truly wants it.

In addition to all of this, make sure that the people can contact you — for instance, have your email address in your descriptions on social media. It will be easier for someone to contact you about a new project or to reach out to ask for your permission to use your work.

Next up — music! Similar rules apply to music too. There is the option of digital watermarking. Hiding information in the music itself, instead of the visual watermarking the previously mentioned type of art has the luxury of using.

Furthermore, you can also upload only low-quality recordings and inform the visitors or potential customers that a high-quality version is available for purchase and/or digital downloads, should they wish to have it. Of course, the ability to contact you is paramount here too.

And as a third example, we shall look at movies. To protect them, you can employ a technique called digital fingerprinting, which is hiding and collecting information to track your film.

Moreover, this medium also allows for the separation of free and paid content. You can upload only a low-quality version of your work — with a compression rate of fewer than 151 kilobits per second for video and 49 kilobits per second for the sound. You then offer the same pieces of art as, for instance, digital downloads for a certain price in your online art stores. Finally, ensure that your contact information is always available and up to date so that the ideal customer does not give up when they cannot find a way to contact you.

Then, if you are selling your art through, for example, a print-on-demand service provider or through an online gallery, ensure that you have the commercial rights as that may cause issues. This is also one of the reasons why registering for copyright is a good idea. 

Although this is not an exhaustive list and does not cover everything, it can help to highlight that the internet is a very public place for showing your work. Millions of people use the internet and have access to anything that you put there. That is why it is essential to employ techniques that will aid you in taking care of it in the best and safest way possible.

That is where ARTDEX may come in handy! It is a community that connects art lovers and artists themselves. There, you can find all types of information that you may need regarding the preservation and protection of your art and get first-hand experiences and recommendations too. There is nothing like tried and true ways of protecting your art, and what’s a better way to learn than from someone who knows what to do in the situation you might have found yourself in? And someone like that can always be found on ARTDEX!


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