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A watercolor is unique in that it has a special blend of beauty and charm that is not achieved on any other art work. Watercolor paintings are delicate and are easily damaged, buckled and discolored, and can even crumple if not cared for properly.

Watercolors attract art lovers for their beautiful soft hues, subtle blending effects, varying degrees of transparency and even application. Watercolor-inspired home décor continues to trend this season too, and this is quite the apt time to bring a lovely watercolor painting home.

The color pigments used in watercolors are finely ground and combined with a water-soluble binder like gum Arabic. Artists mix the colors with water and paint them over absorbent surfaces like textured paper. When the water evaporates the color pigments stay on the surface bound by the gum Arabic.

If you have brought a lovely painting home and are wondering how you should take care of it, here are a few helpful tips for you.

  1. Watercolors Need to Be Framed

Watercolors are best off when you frame them under glass, and there are compelling reasons to do so.

Watercolors are usually done on paper which will deteriorate very fast if left in the open. Also, the paper is never given a water-resistant coating prior to being painted upon because it will make application of colors difficult. Most artists refrain from applying any protective varnish over their completed work which makes the paintings quite vulnerable to environment damage.

Watercolors get reconstituted when they come into contact with moisture. Colors may shift, run or break, thereby ruining the painting. A glass front will protect the painting from dust and moisture damage.

You might not like the idea of putting your pretty watercolor behind glass but even dust has the potential to damage the painting permanently. The paper on which watercolors are done is a very delicate surface and will be easily damaged when you dust is. A glass protective panel will protect your art from dust and moisture as well as from insects, mold and mildew.

Ensure the glass your framer uses is glazed. UV-coated Plexiglass or Denglass is quite apt for the job.

There, now you see why framing a watercolor under glass is recommended by experts.

  2. Archival Framing Techniques Are Essential

Archival framing assures the looks, life and quality of your art for decades to come. A well-preserved art work will outlast almost every other item you have used to spruce up your interiors including your favorite rug and sofa.

So what exactly is archival framing?

Archival framing involves using materials that do not affect the painting adversely in any manner. The mat, the backing and the hinges used for attaching the painting to the mat are all 100% acid-free.

The mat board should be made from cotton or linen rags. This is completely free of damaging acids and is considered to be of the highest quality.

Use of adhesives like glue is a complete no-no as far as quality framing is considered. Paper tapes or Japanese paper hinges are great for attaching the artwork to the mat board. They are of archival quality and do not leave any permanent effect on the painting.

Archival framing essentially is a fully reversible process and does not physically alter the original artwork in any way.

3, Quality of Frame Matters

When you go for archival framing, you cannot have too many options for the color. We often use colorful mats to help the art really pop but when it comes to archival framing the choice you have is a bit limited. Archival mats are usually used in neutral tones.

If you really want an ornamented art display you can consider going for customized and decorative frames. They will provide the right combination of glamour and functionality to your art work. Our Sydney custom picture framing services will meet all your framing needs.

If you are using a non-archival frame, you will have to line the insides of the frame where it touches the art with pH-neutral substance.

4. Hang the Painting Away from Light

Paintings in watercolor are particularly vulnerable to the effect of external factors like light and humidity.

Never hang your painting opposite a window or on a wall where it is exposed to full sunlight for most part of the day. This will cause colors to fade and the paper to become brittle.

The color pigments in watercolors are extremely sensitive and will quickly fade when exposed to the ultra-violet rays in sunlight. You will also be dismayed to see the paper drying out, turning brittle, bleaching out and taking on an ugly yellow hue.

Fluorescent light is also as bad as sunlight for watercolors, so you will have to keep your art work away from it as well. Your gallery expert will tell you that the UV concentration in fluorescent light is the same as in sunlight.

You should ideally hang the painting in a room with halogen or incandescent lighting. A low-emission ceiling spotlight is the best to highlight the painting.

5. Do Not Hang in Wrong Places

All places in your home are not suitable to hang art. Keep the watercolor away from heat, oils, odors and moisture in the kitchen. Also do not hang them near heaters or other heat-emitting appliances because that will damage the color pigments permanently.

The best tip from experts is to rotate the paintings periodically to protect them from over-exposure.

6. No Dramatic Changes in the Environment

Dramatic fluctuations in the environment can also damage the painting. You feel colder in museums and art galleries because their temperatures are set below 20 degree Celsius and the humidity is maintained between 50%-65%.

You need not fret too much unless you have a 100-year-old watercolor to preserve. The filtration system of your home HVAC will do the job quite well for other artworks.

Ensure there are no dramatic fluctuations in temperature or humidity levels in your home. This will be harmful to all your fine art possessions.


Watercolors are luminescent and add a soothing, and serene charm to your home. By keeping in mind the above points you can assure they remain beautiful, and preserve them for posterity.