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Framing and Care for Your Charcoal or Pastel Drawing

Thank you for purchasing a drawing! Two coats of fixative, designed for charcoal and pastel, have been applied to your artwork to help protect the surface and minimize the risk of smudging, fading and flaking. However, even with fixative, charcoal and pastel can still flake during the framing process and well after. Using the right materials and techniques can help keep your frame’s matting and glass glazing clean.


Handling and Storing

  • Try to keep artwork flat and face up when transporting,

  • Cover unframed artwork with a sheet of glassine or parchment when storing or transporting.

  • It is always best to hang any artwork away from direct sunlight.


    NOTE: With any artwork, professional framing is recommended. A frame shop will have professional materials, and experience with delicate artwork, to help protect artwork from fading or discoloration.


If you decide to frame the artwork yourself, I highly recommend that you create a “dust catcher” – a gap between your drawing and the mat, allowing dust and flakes to fall in a hidden channel away from the mat or glass (see fig. 1). Acid-free materials are also recommended to prevent discoioration.

MATERIALS (A) Frame with glass (not acrylic) glazing;
(B) Outer mat - what you’ll see when framed; (C) Inner mat or “dust catcher” - window must be larger than that of outer mat”; (D) Acid free mounting board; (E) Acid free mounting tape

STEP 1 With two pieces of 1” tape, create a hinge connecting the underside of the outer mat (B) to the mounting board (D), so that the mat flips down without tape being visible. fig.2

STEP 2 Take two pieces of 1” tape. Remove the backing of each. With sticky sides facing each other, stick them together to create a T-shape. Make 2 of these and apply each to the back of artwork, so that the top of the T-hinge extends beyond the artwork. fig.3

STEP 3 Gently place the artwork on the mounting board (D), such that the artwork is visible through the mat window (B). Once you have the artwork positioned how you would like it, gently press down on the T-hinges to secure it to the mounting board. fig.4

STEP 4 Place the inner mat or “dust catcher” (C) between the artwork and the outer mat (A). Flip down the outer mat. If done correctly, the artwork will be secured to the mounting board, the inner mat will be hidden, and there will be a narrow gap between the artwork and the visible outer mat. fig.5

STEP 5 Finish assembling the frame.

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