Product Care - Prints

Care & Display of your Giclee Print

Art-quality giclee prints are very special. They are found in the world’s finest museums, art galleries and private art collections and are worthy of being treasured and cared for in the same way as an original.

Your giclee print is professionally printed on archival-quality heavy-duty canvas using the finest archival pigment-based Epson inks available. Your print is finished with a coat of UV-inhibiting satin varnish designed to add an extra level of protection to the inks and to increase the longevity of the colors.

 The giclee printing process carefully reproduces the rich colors and beautiful detail of each brush stroke of the original painting and any “imperfections” you may perceive are a feature of the original painting.

Hanging: All our ready-to-hang canvases are pre-wired and do indeed arrive ready to hang. To help keep your painting level, I recommend hanging your painting from a pair of Ook picture hanging hooks spaced apart on the wall (they don’t need to be perfectly level). You can also use a small ball of museum wax (or wall putty, it is sometimes called) at the corners to keep your painting firmly fixed in place on the wall.

If you purchased a rolled giclee print, this information is for you: Make sure to unroll the print from the cardboard tube onto a clean flat surface. If you do pick it up, be very careful to use two hands to support the print so it will not bend. A crease in the print is very likely permanent. Even better, take your print directly to the framer while it is still in its packaging. The cardboard tube your art print comes in is not suitable for long-time storage as it is not acid free and archival. If you want to use the tube for long-term storage, make sure the giclee is first wrapped in archival tissue.

Best Framing Results: Your wrapped canvas can be hung directly on the wall without framing for a contemporary look. If you decide to frame the artwork, canvas prints are correctly framed using an acid free paper backing and no glass over the front. This way, the canvas can breathe and the back of the canvas is protected from such things as tiny insect eggs, dust, and mold.

In terms of style, I highly recommend using a floater frame. Floater frames are designed to cradle canvases: the frame screws into the back of the canvas, which allows the canvas to “float” in the frame, leaving a small black gap around the print which offsets the artwork beautifully. The frame stands away from the sides of the print allowing you to experience the print all the way to its edge. Floater frames can be made in a variety of finishes, including gold, silver, black, white, custom colors, or in any type of hardwood and stain finish. They are usually simple in design, with clean lines and perhaps carved corners, and perfectly enhance the contemporary paintings I create. Make sure to ask your framer about them.

Getting the Most out of Lighting: Your painting will look different depending on the changing quality of the surrounding light.  Natural ambient light will create a nice feel for your painting during daylight hours, the colors subtly changing as the sun rises and sets throughout the day.  At night, however, you will be fully reliant on artificial light to illuminate your artwork.  Have you ever noticed how great paintings look in a gallery setting?  Art galleries use warm or cool-toned spot lighting to accentuate the colors in the painting, and they usually intensify the light on the painting’s center of attention.

You can imitate this effect in your own home by installing halogen or LED directional spot lighting in the ceiling above your painting.  These lights are surprisingly inexpensive for an electrician to install, and if you wish you can purchase the fixtures and bulbs yourself online. As a general rule, use cool lighting to illuminate a painting that has predominantly cool colors, and use warm lighting on a painting with mostly warm colors (the wrong color bulb can “suck the life out of your painting” or cause your painting to look “muddy.”) If you’re not sure, a daylight spectrum bulb is your best choice, or try the other bulbs to see the difference.

Many houses are already fitted with recessed ceiling lights. These can be adapted to directional spot lighting with minor handyman work.  Even without direct lighting on your painting, however, the artwork will still present well with nearby lighting.  One thing to avoid is hanging your painting behind a hanging chandelier, which will cast a direct glare spot in the middle of the painting, without highlighting the natural colors. 

Where NOT to hang the art: To keep the colors in your giclee vibrant for many years, avoid displaying your print in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lighting, both of which emit UV radiation. Best is to hang on a wall in indirect light and if lighting is needed, LED or halogen is best. 

Make sure to avoid hanging artwork above a heat source such as fireplaces. In addition to the damage caused by radiating heat, dirt that rises with the heat may cause damage. Similarly, avoid placement in a moist environment such as a bathroom. That said, some people buy a giclee print so they CAN hang it over the fireplace or in a bathroom, knowing they won’t be damaging an original (which should never be hung in those locations). If that is you, by all means, go for it, while knowing the risks. I sometimes do it myself with canvas giclee prints because I want art in those locations.

Cleaning: To clean your giclee, best is to gently use a soft sable brush or a clean thick-pile microfiber dusting cloth reserved specifically for this purpose. If necessary, to remove grime, a soft microfiber cloth or Q-tip dampened very slightly with saliva or pure water can also be used very gently, exerting only the slightest of pressure. NEVER use solvents or cleaning agents. Avoid using your hands to wipe off any dust as this can also scratch the surface and/or add oils. If in doubt, or if anything marks or stains your giclee, get expert advice from a conservator or fine-art framer. 

Avoiding and/or Fixing Damage: First off, the basics: Avoid contact with moisture, solvents, hard objects, and adhesives as these can damage and/or scratch the surface of your print.

And the less obvious: When storing or transferring your canvas print, take care to protect the canvas surfaces from becoming dinged or dented. Do not allow any rigid object to contact the front or back surface of the stretched canvas as this could create permanent indentation damage. Also avoid leaning the canvas against walls in areas where there is wind or draft, as canvasses are light and can fall over, potentially denting or ripping the canvas as they fall. Avoid touching both the surface and the back of the canvas. Do not apply any kind of pressure (even finger pressure) to the back of a canvas as mobility in the paint backing can cause the finish on the front to crack in that area over time. 

If your canvas print does get slightly stretched or dented in an area, spraying a mist of water on the problem area on the back side of the canvas causes the canvas to shrink as the water dries, and this will usually pull out slight indentations. It depends on how severe the indentation is. In the event of a deep indentation or the canvas gets ripped in an accident, don’t despair immediately as it very likely can be fixed by a professional.

Ditto if the front surface gets scratched to where it has lifted the color off the canvas in places, or created a mark, a fine artist can generally be hired to repair it by painting over it with acrylic paint to match and blend with the image.

Mold: If your canvas is not backed with archival acid-free paper, the back should be checked periodically for mold and mildew. Should your painting get black or white spots of mold on the back of the canvas lightly mist it with one of these to stop mold growth:

  • Lysol (a brand of anti-germ/bacteria cleaner – the spray and not the liquid form) is recommended by the New Orleans Conservation Guild.
  • Commercial rubbing alcohol (70% alcohol) mixed with water in a fine mist spray bottle is recommended by MOMA.

In rare events, a thin whitish-grey film of mold will form on the
front of the canvas. In this case, MOMA suggests a cotton swab lightly dampened with a mixture of 70% alcohol and water can be dabbed onto small clusters of mold. However, this should be carefully tested on a small area before proceeding further. Or check with your framer or conservator.

Copyright: Copyright of your giclee print is retained by the artist and any reproductions of your giclee are legally prohibited without permission of the artist. The exception to this is social media or other social sharing. It’s fun to show off your new art and this is a good place to do it — and giving artist credit is greatly appreciated!