How to Care for and Preserve Antique Prints

How to Care for and Preserve Antique Prints

Posted on May 11th, 2023

Antique prints are a window into history, offering a glimpse into the past through intricate and often beautiful designs. These prints are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike, as they provide a unique connection to the past that cannot be found in modern art forms. However, antique prints require special care and attention to ensure their preservation and longevity.

In this article, we will provide you with tips and tricks for caring for and preserving your antique prints, so that you can enjoy them for years to come. From handling and storage to framing and cleaning, we will cover all aspects of preserving antique prints. We will also discuss restoration techniques and the value of antique prints, providing a comprehensive guide to understanding and caring for these fascinating pieces of history.

Whether you are a collector, enthusiast, or simply appreciate the beauty and history of antique prints, this article will provide you with the knowledge and tools to care for and preserve your prints. At Andrea Easton Antique & Decorative Prints, we are committed to providing our clients with the finest examples of antique prints, and we believe that preserving these pieces of history is essential for ensuring that they continue to be appreciated and valued for generations to come.

Introduction to Caring for Antique Prints

Antique prints are delicate and require careful handling to avoid damage. The materials used in antique prints, such as paper and ink, can deteriorate over time, making preservation essential for maintaining their beauty and value.

Proper care and preservation of antique prints involve a combination of storage, handling, and conservation techniques. With the right tools and knowledge, you can keep your antique prints in pristine condition for years to come.

When it comes to preserving antique prints, prevention is key. By taking the necessary steps to protect your prints from damage, you can help ensure that they remain in excellent condition. This includes proper handling, storage, framing, and cleaning techniques that can help prevent damage from dust, sunlight, moisture, and other factors.

Handling Antique Prints

When handling antique prints, it's important to avoid touching the surface of the print with your bare hands. The oils from your skin can damage the print over time. Instead, wear gloves made from cotton or nitrile to protect the print from oils, dirt, and other contaminants.

When removing an antique print from its frame or storage, handle it by the edges or use a clean, flat surface to support the print. Avoid bending or folding the print, as this can cause creases or tears in the paper.

If you need to transport an antique print, use a protective sleeve or folder to prevent damage during transport. Never leave an antique print in a car or other vehicle, as exposure to heat and humidity can cause damage.

Storage of Antique Prints

Proper storage is essential for preserving antique prints. The best way to store antique prints is in acid-free materials, such as acid-free folders or boxes. These materials are designed to protect the print from acid and other contaminants that can cause deterioration over time.

Store your antique prints in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and humidity. Exposure to light and moisture can cause fading, discoloration, and mold growth. Avoid storing your prints in attics, basements, or other areas that are prone to temperature fluctuations and moisture.

If you plan to store your antique prints for an extended period of time, consider using a climate-controlled storage facility. These facilities are designed to maintain a stable temperature and humidity level, which can help preserve your prints for years to come.

Framing Antique Prints

Framing is an important part of preserving antique prints. A properly framed print can protect it from dust, moisture, and other contaminants. When framing an antique print, use acid-free mats and UV-protective glass to prevent fading and damage from light.

Avoid using adhesives or tapes on the print, as these can cause damage and discoloration over time. Instead, use archival methods to mount the print, such as hinging or dry mounting.

If you're unsure about how to frame your antique print, consult a professional framer or conservator for advice. They can help you choose the right materials and techniques to ensure that your print is properly protected and preserved.

Cleaning Antique Prints

Cleaning antique prints should be done sparingly and with great care. Avoid using water or any cleaning solutions on the print, as these can cause damage to the paper and ink.

To clean an antique print, use a soft-bristled brush or a clean, dry cloth to gently remove dust and debris. If the print is particularly dirty or has stains, consult a professional conservator for advice on how to clean it safely.

It's important to note that not all antique prints should be cleaned. If the print is in good condition and the dirt or stains are not affecting its beauty or value, it may be best to leave it as is.

Restoration of Antique Prints

If your antique print has suffered damage or deterioration over time, restoration may be necessary to preserve its value and beauty. Restoration involves repairing tears, removing stains, and addressing other forms of damage to the print.

Restoration should only be done by a professional conservator who has experience working with antique prints. Improper restoration can cause irreversible damage to the print and reduce its value.

Before undergoing restoration, it's important to assess the condition of the print and consult with a conservator to determine the best course of action. Restoration can be expensive, so it's important to weigh the costs against the value of the print.


Antique prints are a beautiful and valuable art form that require careful attention and preservation to maintain their beauty and value over time. With the right techniques and knowledge, you can ensure that your antique prints remain in pristine condition for years to come.

At Andrea Easton Antique & Decorative Prints, we are committed to providing our clients with high-quality, authentic antique prints that have been carefully selected and authenticated. If you have any questions about caring for your antique prints or are interested in purchasing one of our fine antique prints, we invite you to reach out to us. Our team is always ready to assist you and provide you with the finest examples of this beautiful and timeless art form.

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