What Does Archival Mean?
Posted by KATIE BERGGREN on
We've all had photographs, kids artwork or paperwork turn yellow with age. Especially if it has hung or sat in the sun for any amount of time. Say, left in the backseat of the car?
Craft supplies for kids are notoriously created for quick art that doesn't age well. Which is a bummer because we sometimes want to keep ALL the art pieces our kids make! Be sure to take photos of them!
Construction paper, when I was a kid, was probably filled with acid and thus yellowed and faded quite quickly. You can purchase acid-free construction paper these days, though.
Craft projects aside, when you are looking for high-quality frameable fine artwork for your home, and you connect with something that really moves you and you intend to have that artwork around for a long time (compared to say, a greeting card or receipt), you want to look for the words "archival" and/or "acid free" in the description of the art.
Preferably "archival". Which implies the finished piece is stable enough for library or museum standards. This is your best bet for your money, giving your art print the best chance of a long life down the road.
“Archival” means that a print or artwork image is meant to have lasting life, potentially 150-200 years, if treated with care. The paper is resistant to deterioration and there is no acid in the ink that will cause yellowing or fading over time.
Not all art inkjet or fine art printers use acid-free ink/pigments, though, so you may look for that specific note. High quality printers with acid-free ink require an investment on the artist's part.
We don't all make this investment in the beginning of our art careers. I have been upgrading my Epson inkjet art printer every few years for about 13 years now, each new model prints better and better. The art prints get more and more clear and gorgeous and are now created with acid-free pigments. Benefits that I pass straight down to my collectors!
Remember, “Archival” means that a print or artwork image is meant to have lasting life, potentially 150-200 years, if treated with CARE.
How to treat an art print with care? Cover it with clean glass in a frame, and hang/display it out of direct sunlight. Also, keep it out of moist environments.
This way you can enjoy your special art piece for many years, even generations, without having to put it in a dark box under the bed to save the image.
Would you like a free copy
of my Framing E-Book? Get it here:
I ship my prints to you in plastic sleeves with a board for sturdiness. The backing board is acid free and the plastic sleeve is labeled as archival safe and acid free. But you still shouldn't keep the art in the sleeve for an extended period of time, especially in warm or sunny conditions. Inside a frame, a piece of art can breathe (a window mat helps with this, too).
The Archival Paper Prints you purchase from me can be passed down from generation to generation.
Share the love! I offer prints created from many of my original paintings.
Fine art prints are made from photographs of original paintings, read more.