How to Store Pastel Drawings? (10 Beginner Tips)

May 17, 2023 by

You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a stunning pastel drawing, delicately blending vibrant hues to bring your vision to life.

As you step back to admire your masterpiece, a question arises: How do you preserve and store your precious pastel artworks, ensuring their longevity and keeping them in pristine condition?

In this article, we will embark on a journey together, exploring ten beginner tips on how to store pastel drawings.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

These 10 tips on how to preserve pastel drawings will allow you to store pastel drawings and keep them safe.

Table of Contents

1. Get Your Drawings Framed

Framing works excellent for different sizes since shops offer frames in a variety of sizes.

But, it’s costly, so not great on a limited budget.

It’s best to frame some pieces and go for other cheap methods to store pastel drawings. 

2. Frame Them Yourself

Instead of hiring a framer to do the job for you, you can do it yourself. Many online shops sell custom or standard-size frames and mounts that you can buy. 

frame art

3. Leave an Inch Border

While this isn’t exactly a tip to store pastel drawings, it will help you a great deal. When you start drawing, you should leave a border of about an inch on all sides.

You can then apply tape to this border.  

4. Avoid Normal Tape

The acid in the tape will get onto your pastel drawing and will turn it yellow over time.

As a result, your pastel drawings will get destroyed in storage with regular tape.

If you use both cardboard and tape to store pastel drawings, the effect will double since both have acid. 

5. Use Glassine for Storage

Glassine is a type of paper that museums use to store photos and paintings, and it’s relatively cheap.

You can buy a large sheet of Glassine and then cut it into desired sizes or buy it in different sizes.

When using Glassine, cut a piece from the sheet that is the same size as your pastel drawing paper. Next, place it on top of the drawing to completely cover it.

Then, use acid-free tape to tape the edges of the paper with the Glassine. 

6. Use Glass and Glassine Together

It’s best to get pastel drawings framed in glass since it keeps them safe. But, cover the pictures with Glassine first so that the glass doesn’t touch the pastels.

If the pastels touch the glass, they will get smeared. And, if you’re hiring a framer, do ask them if they intend to use Glassine first. 

7. Use Non-Acid Foam Boards

Aside from Glassine that doesn’t pull the pastels from the paper, you can use two pieces of foam board to store pastel drawings.

The foam board should be an inch larger than the pastel drawing on all sizes.

For added protection, you can cover the drawing with Glassine first and then use foam. Next, place the picture between the two boards and use non-acid tape to seal them. 

8. Glassine and One Foam Piece

Instead of sandwiching your drawing between two pieces of foam, you can attach your picture to one part of the foam.

The foam will act as a support for the drawings.

Then cover the drawing with Glassine paper and use tape. Leaving an inch border on the paper will come in handy here. 

9. Use a Big Mirror Box

You can store pastel drawings even after you’ve sandwiched them between foam boards.

The mirror box will add another layer of protection and keep the pastel away from the outside weather.

They usually come in two pieces, and it’s a great way to store your drawings when you want to move them. 

10. Keep Them Flat in Storage

Whichever method you use to store pastel drawings, place them flat onto a surface.

If you’re using a mirror box, put a pastel drawing flat between two mirror pieces and store the mirror box in a safe location.

Place the drawings where nothing will fall on top of them, e.g., on top of a cabinet or a dresser, etc. 

To further explore how to store and protect pastel drawings, we recommend checking out this in-depth video by Jason Morgan:

Why It’s Important to Store Pastel Drawings?

Fixatives are one method for preserving pastel drawings, but most artists don’t go for it since it dulls the colors of the pastels.

Still, it would help to find ways to store pastel drawings since you don’t want the pastels to get smudged.

Therefore, it’s essential to store pastel drawings so you can save your work.

What Tools Do You Need?

A pastel drawing is always in danger of getting messed if you don’t know how to store pastel drawings.

pastel drawing example
pastel drawing

For storing pastel drawings, you’ll need non-acid tape for most of the storage methods.

In addition, you may need Glassine, acid-free foam boards, or a big mirror box to store pastel drawings.

Final Remarks

Now that you know how to preserve pastel drawings, you can use the ten tips and a storage method that works for you. First, when drawing with pastels, you need to have Glassine and acid-free tape in your studio.

Then, you can use either foam boards, glass frames, or a mirror box to store pastel drawings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store pastels?

The best way to store pastels is by using individual protective sleeves or layers of glassine paper to prevent smudging and protect the delicate pastel layers. Place the pastel artworks flat in a portfolio or storage box with ample spacing to avoid any accidental contact or damage.

How long do pastel drawings last?

The longevity of pastel drawings depends on various factors, including the quality of materials used, the storage conditions, and the level of protection provided. When stored and cared for properly, pastel drawings can last for decades or even centuries, retaining their vibrancy and beauty over time.