Care and Framing of Pastels

Pastel paintings should be handled with special care. 


Artists who work in pastel and charcoal may spray the art with a fixative.  Many artists choose not to do so because the spray darkens the pastel colors and disturbs the texture of the pastel strokes as the droplets splatter the pastel.  Do not spray the art without direct permission from the artist.


AVOID TOUCHING the SURFACE of the artwork.  If you must lay some protective covering over the pastel for transporting, use wax paper, affixing it so it will not slide around damaging the art.  It is better if you can lift the protective covering with spacers/risers along the outside edges so it does not touch the art at all.  The framer should not lay a ruler or mat or frame samples on top of the pastel.  Handle pastel paintings extremely gently if/when working face side down.  When securing the painting into frame, lean painting vertically so loose pastel dust will not fall on glass.


Frame in the following layers, from top to bottom:


1)    Use a frame moulding  deep enough to support the layers of materials selected.


2)    Use UV filtering glass.  Do not use plexiglass or acrylic sheeting as the static electricity will draw pastel dust to itself.  The glass should not touch the pastel.


3)    We recommend all mats used on pastels be acid-free and cut with reverse bevels; the latter prevents pastel dust from showing on the beveled edges. The mat helps to lift the glass above the pastel.


4)    An acid-free foam board spacer may be used as an optional way to create space into which pastel dust can fall (or as a design preference).


5)    The original pastel painting - which has been carefully mounted by hinges or corners mounts to an acid free backing board.


6)    The acid-free protective backing board and then the dustcover – usually a brown or black kraft paper to help seal out dust and insects.


7)     Do not use hammer-in style bumpers on the back of the frame as their application can cause vibrations that could shake loose some pastel dust.


8)    When transporting your newly framed pastel or charcoal, rest it on its back so driving vibrations will not cause pastel dust to be loosened.

Educational Pages
Art Mediums:

Anamorphic Art


White-Line Woodblock Prints...


Lost Wax Casting Process

Art History:

Dutch Old Master Treatise

Lineage and History of American Impressionism:
The Road to Annapolis

Art Preservation:

Custom Framing

Protecting your Art

How to Care for Bronze Sculpture

Care and Framing of Pastels


Frequently Asked Questions About Portrait Commissions

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