Mixed media art is a wonderful way to express your creativity and personality, using a variety of materials and techniques to create unique and stunning pieces. Whether you are an artist yourself or a collector of mixed media art, you may wonder how to care for your artwork and keep it in good condition for years to come.

Mixed media art can be challenging to maintain, as it often involves different types of media that may react differently to environmental factors, such as light, humidity, temperature, dust, and insects. Moreover, some mixed media artworks may have delicate or fragile elements that require special handling and storage.

In this article, we will share some tips and best practices on how to care for your mixed media artwork, based on the advice of experts and experienced artists.

What is Mixed Media Art?

Mixed media art is a form of art that combines two or more artistic mediums into one piece of art. For example, you can add sculpture to your painting, or draw on top of photography prints. Mixed media art can also include items that are not considered traditional art materials, such as scrap paper, found objects, natural elements, and more.

Mixed media art can take many different forms and styles, depending on the materials used and the vision of the artist. Some examples of mixed media art are:

  • Collage, which involves cutting and pasting various materials onto a surface, such as paper, fabric, wood, metal, etc.
  • Assemblage, which involves arranging and attaching three-dimensional objects onto a base or a frame, such as boxes, bottles, toys, etc.
  • Altered art, which involves transforming or modifying an existing object or artwork into something new, such as books, furniture, clothing, etc.
  • Mixed media painting, which involves using different types of paint or other mediums on a canvas or a surface, such as oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolor, ink, etc.
  • Mixed media sculpture, which involves creating a three-dimensional form with various materials and techniques, such as clay, metal, wood, paper mache, etc.
  • Mixed media photography, which involves manipulating or enhancing photographic images with other mediums or techniques, such as painting, drawing, collage, digital editing, etc.

How to Care for Your Mixed Media Artwork

The following are some general tips on how to care for your mixed media artwork. However, keep in mind that each artwork is unique and may have specific needs depending on the materials and techniques used. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with the artist or an expert before cleaning or handling your artwork.

Displaying Your Mixed Media Artwork

When displaying your mixed media artwork, you should consider the following factors:

  • Light: Avoid direct sunlight or bright artificial light that can cause fading or discoloration of your artwork. Use UV-filtered glass or acrylic to protect your artwork from harmful rays. If possible, rotate your artwork periodically to prevent uneven exposure to light.
  • Humidity: Avoid high or low humidity levels that can cause warping, cracking, mold growth, or corrosion of your artwork. Use a dehumidifier or a humidifier to maintain a stable humidity level between 40% and 60%. Avoid placing your artwork near sources of moisture or heat, such as bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, radiators, etc.
  • Temperature: Avoid extreme or fluctuating temperatures that can cause expansion or contraction of your artwork. Keep your artwork in a cool and dry place with a consistent temperature between 65°F and 75°F. Avoid placing your artwork near windows or vents that can create drafts or temperature changes.
  • Dust: Avoid dust accumulation that can damage the surface or the texture of your artwork. Use a soft brush or a microfiber cloth to gently dust your artwork regularly. Do not use any chemicals or solvents that can harm your artwork. If your artwork has delicate or fragile elements that cannot be dusted safely, use a glass or acrylic cover to protect it from dust.
  • Insects: Avoid insect infestation that can eat away or damage your artwork. Use insect repellents or traps to keep insects away from your artwork. Do not use any pesticides or insecticides that can harm your artwork. If you notice any signs of insect damage on your artwork, contact a professional conservator immediately.

Storing Your Mixed Media Artwork

When storing your mixed media artwork, you should consider the following factors:

  • Packaging: Use acid-free and archival-quality materials to wrap and pack your artwork, such as tissue paper, bubble wrap, cardboard, foam board, etc. Avoid using materials that can cause staining, scratching, or abrasion of your artwork, such as newspaper, plastic, tape, staples, etc. Label your artwork clearly with the title, artist, date, and any special instructions for handling or unpacking.
  • Container: Use a sturdy and durable container to store your artwork, such as a wooden crate, a metal box, a plastic bin, etc. Make sure the container is large enough to fit your artwork without bending or squeezing it. Use padding or cushioning materials to fill in any gaps or spaces in the container and prevent your artwork from shifting or moving. Seal the container securely with tape or locks and label it with the same information as your artwork.
  • Location: Choose a safe and suitable location to store your artwork, such as a closet, a cabinet, a shelf, a drawer, etc. Make sure the location is clean, dry, dark, and stable. Avoid storing your artwork in places that are exposed to light, humidity, temperature changes, dust, insects, rodents, or other hazards. Do not stack or pile up your artwork on top of each other or other items. Store your artwork horizontally or vertically depending on its shape and size.

Examples of Mixed Media Art from Carolyn Johnson Gallery

To give you some inspiration and ideas for your own mixed media art or collection, here are some examples of mixed media art from our Carolyn Johnson Gallery:



  • Mixed Media Art: Ocean scene with acrylics, metallics, gel medium, shells and resin on wood panel.



  • Mixed Media Art: Underwater ocean scene with acrylics, metallics, gel medium, resin and collage fish on wood panel
  • Mixed Media Art: Dolphin sculpture with acrylics, metallics, gel medium, resin shells, glass and drawing - mounted on skimboard base.



We hope you enjoyed this article on how to care for your mixed media artwork. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. And if you are interested in buying or browsing our mixed media art collection, please visit our website or follow us on Instagram. Thank you for reading!