Expert Tips: Prevent Paper Art Warping & Yellowing
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Use Acid-Free Materials
  2. Store Art Properly
  3. Prevent Exposure to Direct Sunlight
  4. Control Humidity and Temperature
  5. Use Archival Quality Adhesives
  6. Start with a Flat Surface
  7. Handle Art with Clean Hands
  8. Avoid Using Paper Clips and Other Metal Objects

When it comes to creative paper handling, preventing warping, curling, and yellowing of paper-based art might seem like a mystery. But don't worry—you're not alone. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can keep your paper-based art in top-notch condition. Ready to learn more? Let's dive in!

Use Acid-Free Materials

First things first: let's talk about the type of paper you're using for your art. If you've ever seen paper turn yellow over time, it's likely because the paper wasn't acid-free. Acid, you see, is a real mischief-maker when it comes to your artwork. It can cause yellowing, deteriorate the paper, and ultimately ruin your masterpiece over time.

So, how can you avoid it in your creative paper handling? The answer is simple: use acid-free materials. Acid-free paper is specially made to resist yellowing and deterioration, which makes it a great choice for preserving your art. And it's not just the paper—you also want to make sure any materials that come into contact with your art are acid-free too, like mats or backing boards.

Remember: preventing warping, curling, and yellowing of paper-based art starts with a solid foundation, and that means using the right materials. So, next time you're shopping for supplies, take a moment to check the labels and ensure you're choosing acid-free options. Your artwork will thank you!

Store Art Properly

Now, let's discuss what happens after you've created your masterpiece. You might think that once the paint or ink dries, your job is done—but not so fast! How you store your art can make a big difference in preventing warping, curling, and yellowing.

For successful creative paper handling, you should always store your artwork flat, rather than rolled or folded. This helps prevent any unwanted creases or bends. Also, refrain from stacking artwork on top of each other. Instead, try to store them side by side or in a portfolio case which offers a protective surface for each piece.

And remember, the environment matters too. A cool, dry, and dark place is the ideal spot for your artwork. Keep it away from any potential sources of damage like radiators, windows, or leaky pipes. By following these simple storage tips, you'll go a long way in preventing warping, curling, and yellowing of your paper-based art.

Prevent Exposure to Direct Sunlight

Ah, the sun! It's great for beach days and picnics, but not so much for your art pieces. Direct sunlight can be a real party pooper when it comes to maintaining the vibrancy and integrity of your paper-based art.

Here's the thing—when your artwork is constantly under the harsh gaze of the sun, it can cause the colors to fade. That’s not all. It can also lead to premature yellowing of the paper. So, unless you're going for that aged, antique look (which can be cool, but not always), it's best to keep your art away from sunlight.

It's simple creative paper handling: if you're planning to display your artwork, choose a spot that doesn't get direct sunlight. You might like how the sunrays dance on your piece in the morning, but trust me, your artwork doesn't feel the same. Think shady, think safe!

Control Humidity and Temperature

Now, let's talk about another pair of culprits that can meddle with your paper-based art—humidity and temperature. Too much moisture can invite mold, while too little can make your paper brittle. And don't even get me started on temperature. Too hot and your art can dry out and warp, too cold and it can become brittle.

So, what's the ideal condition for your art? Well, you don't need to create an art vault, but a stable environment can work wonders. Aim for a humidity level around 40-50% and a temperature that hovers around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a key part of creative paper handling and can help prevent warping, curling, and yellowing of your paper-based art.

Consider investing in a dehumidifier for those damp days or a humidifier when the air gets too dry. As for temperature, keep your art away from heating vents, air conditioners, or anywhere else where temperatures can fluctuate quickly. Remember, your artwork likes stability—no surprises!

Use Archival Quality Adhesives

Let's move on to the sticky situation of adhesives. When it comes to creative paper handling, the type of adhesive you use can make or break your artwork—literally! So, if you want to prevent warping, curling, and yellowing of your paper-based art, stick to archival quality adhesives.

Why, you ask? Well, regular adhesives might be okay for a quick fix or a temporary hold, but they can cause long-term damage to your art. They can turn yellow over time, eat away at your paper, and even cause your artwork to warp. And trust me, no one wants to see a masterpiece looking like a potato chip.

Archival quality adhesives, on the other hand, are designed specifically for artwork. They won't yellow over time, they won't harm your paper, and they won't cause warping. It's like the superhero of adhesives! So make sure you're using the right tools for the job. Your artwork will thank you!

Start with a Flat Surface

Right, let's get straight to it. When it comes to creative paper handling, starting with a flat surface is as fundamental as, well, paper itself. You wouldn't build a house on a wobbly foundation, would you? So why start your paper art on anything less than a flat surface? It's a simple, effective way to prevent warping and curling of your artwork.

When you start with a flat surface, you're providing your paper with the support it needs to stay smooth and flat. Imagine trying to draw a straight line while riding a rollercoaster—it's not impossible, but it's definitely not easy. The same goes for working with paper. A flat surface can help you avoid unnecessary wrinkles and ripples in your paper.

But what if you're working in a space that doesn't have a flat surface? No worries! A simple solution is to get a drawing board. These portable, flat surfaces give you the stability you need, no matter where your creativity takes you. So remember, before you dive into your next paper art project, take a moment to ensure you're starting on a flat surface. Your art—and your sanity—will thank you.

Handle Art with Clean Hands

Just like you wouldn't eat a sandwich with dirty hands, you shouldn't handle your paper art without clean hands either. It might sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook this critical step in creative paper handling. It's not just about keeping your art clean; it's about preventing the yellowing of your paper-based art.

Why? You see, our hands naturally produce oils that can be transferred onto paper. Over time, these oils can cause the paper to yellow or even deteriorate. Not a pretty sight, right? So, before you start creating your masterpiece, make sure your hands are clean. And I mean really clean, not just a quick rinse under the tap. A good wash with soap should do the trick.

But what if you've just eaten a greasy slice of pizza and can't wait to get back to your art? In that case, consider using gloves. Art handling gloves, which are often made of soft cotton, can protect your paper from the oils on your skin. And the bonus? You'll feel just like a professional artist!

So, the next time you're ready to dive into your creative process, pause for a second. Have you washed your hands? This simple step can help prevent yellowing and extend the lifespan of your paper art. Remember, clean hands make for clean art!

Avoid Using Paper Clips and Other Metal Objects

Alright, let's talk about something that's a common sight in paper handling: metal objects. Paper clips, staples, binder clips - they're all great for keeping papers together. But when it comes to creative paper handling and preventing warping, curling, and yellowing of paper-based art, they're not your friends. Yes, you heard that right!

Why should you avoid them? Well, over time, these metal objects can rust. And guess what rust can do to your precious paper art? That's right, it can cause discoloration and even damage the paper. That beautiful piece of art you spent hours on? It might not look so beautiful with a big rust stain on it.

Instead of using metal objects, consider using plastic clips or archival tape. These won't rust and are safer for your paper art. They're also pretty inexpensive and easy to find at any art supply store. So, while they might not look as cool as a shiny metal paper clip, they're a much better option for keeping your art safe.

And remember, it's not just about using the right materials. It's also about storing your art properly and controlling the environment. But we'll get to that in the next sections. For now, just remember: say no to metal when it comes to paper art!

If you're looking to improve your paper art skills and prevent issues like warping and yellowing, don't miss the workshop titled 'The Art of Paper Cut' by Mar Delmar. This workshop will provide you with expert tips and techniques to create stunning paper art that stands the test of time.