How should I store posters?

Posters are a great way to decorate walls and showcase interests. However, posters are often printed on thin paper and can easily get damaged if not stored properly. When deciding how to store posters, there are a few key factors to consider:

Roll vs. Fold

The most common debate with poster storage is whether they should be rolled or folded. Here are the pros and cons of each method:


  • Keeps poster flat and reduces creasing/bending
  • Takes up more space
  • Can be tricky to tightly roll without damaging poster


  • Takes up less space
  • Can damage poster over time as creases weaken the paper

In general, gently rolling posters is ideal if you have the available space. Make sure not to roll too tight, as this can cause cracks and lines. If space is limited, carefully fold along the edges and seams to minimize creases.

Storage Location

When picking a storage spot, you’ll want somewhere dry, cool, and dark. Moisture, heat, and sunlight will all speed up deterioration:

Good Locations

  • Closets
  • Drawers
  • Cabinets
  • Under beds

Avoid places like attics or garages, which can get too hot and humid.

Tube vs. Flat

For rolled posters, you can store them in tubes or flat:


  • Protects edges from damage
  • Pricier
  • Takes up more space


  • Less expensive
  • Compact storage
  • Edges may bend/creasing

Tubes are ideal for long-term storage and rare/valuable posters. Flat is fine for cheaper posters, just be very careful unrolling and rerolling.

Other Supplies

Some other supplies that can help store posters:

  • Acid-free tissue/glassine – Interleaf between posters to prevent scratches
  • Archival plastic/poly bags – Adds moisture barrier for flat posters
  • Mylar sleeves – Helps protect rolled posters
  • Poster hangers – Prevents creasing edges

Using these archival-quality supplies will help posters last as long as possible.

Should I Dry Clean Posters Before Storing?

Dry cleaning posters before storage can help remove dirt, oils, and other contaminants. However, there are some risks:

Potential Benefits

  • Removes dust and grime
  • Kills mold/mildew
  • Brightens colors

Potential Risks

  • Harsh chemicals can damage paper
  • Heat can cause poster to become brittle
  • Ink may run if not colorfast

If dry cleaning, ask for gentle cleaners and low heat. Test a small corner first to check for colorfastness. For rare posters, it’s likely safer to spot clean gently with distilled water rather than full dry cleaning.

Alternatives to Dry Cleaning

Some gentler options instead of dry cleaning:

  • Spot clean stains with distilled water and soft sponge
  • Use white vinyl eraser on scuffs
  • Air out poster to dissipate odors
  • Brush gently with a soft pastry brush to remove dust

Avoid using cleaners, sprays, or treatments, as chemicals can seep into the paper and cause damage over time.

How Should I Handle and Transport Posters?

Careful handling is key to prevent rips, creases, and other damage when moving posters:

  • Wear clean gloves while handling to prevent dirt/oils from hands transferring
  • Unroll posters slowly and evenly
  • Keep posters flat and well supported to avoid bending
  • Roll posters gently, don’t fold
  • Store posters upright rather than stacking flat

For transport:

  • Roll posters and wrap in acid-free tissue paper
  • Use sturdy cardboard tubes or folders to prevent bending
  • Place inside protective plastic sleeve or bag
  • Keep climate controlled – too much heat or cold can damage

Rushing while handling posters or transporting hastily leads to tears, creases, and other damage. Take it slowly and ensure adequate support.

What Kind of Frame Should I Use to Display Posters?

When displaying posters, proper framing helps keep them looking their best:

Frame Recommendations

  • Acid-free matboard – Helps buffer poster from glass/frame
  • UV glass/plexiglass – Protects colors from fading
  • Archival foam core backing – Supports poster flat
  • Metal or wood frame – Sturdy and long-lasting

Avoid flimsy frames, glass touching the poster, or cardboard backings, as these won’t adequately protect the poster.

Tips for Framing

  • Measure carefully to prevent compression in the frame
  • Use archival-quality hinges/corners instead of tape or glue
  • Keep out of direct sunlight to prevent fading
  • Use frame backings like foam core for support

Proper alignment, spacing from glass, and high-quality materials are important when framing to keep posters in good condition.

What’s the Best Way to Store Posters Long-Term?

For long-term poster storage and preservation:

  • Gently roll posters around an archival-quality tube
  • Wrap in acid-free, lignin-free tissue paper
  • Place inside archival plastic/poly bags or Mylar sleeves
  • Store flat in cool, dark place around 60-70°F and 40-50% humidity
  • Use archival cardboard folders if framing for protection
  • Keep in protective solander box or cabinet to buffer from environmental risks

Proper supports, gentle rolling, and archival supplies are key. Monitor for any signs of yellowing, ink fading, mold, or paper brittleness over time.

Digitization for Preservation

For irreplaceable vintage posters or ones in fragile condition, digitization helps preserve the image long-term:

  • High resolution scanning captures fine details
  • Keeps digital copy if original is lost/destroyed
  • Digital files are easy to quickly duplicate as back-ups

Just be sure to store digital copies on multiple platforms, like external hard drives, clouds, flash drives, etc. to prevent data loss.

How Do I Protect Posters from Damage?

Here are some tips to help prevent poster damage:

1. Control Exposure to Light

Keep posters out of direct sunlight. UV rays will quickly fade colors.

2. Maintain a Stable Climate

Humid or hot conditions cause paper to become brittle. Ideal is 60-70°F and 40-50% relative humidity.

3. Protect from Pollutants

Particles in the air can discolor paper over time. Store in plastic sleeves.

4. Use Safe Adhesives for Hanging

Avoid tape, tacks, or adhesives that may stick. Use reversible options like poster strips.

5. Handle With Clean Hands and Gloves

Skin’s oils and dirt transfer easily. Wash hands and wear gloves before handling.

Prevention is easier than repairing damage later. Be mindful of lighting, climate, pollutants, adhesives, and handling when caring for posters.

How Should I Store Posters on Different Materials?

Store posters carefully based on what type of paper they’re printed on:

Regular Paper

  • Vulnerable to moisture and light damage
  • Gently roll, interleave with acid-free tissue
  • Store in cool, dry place away from direct light

Photo Paper

  • Sensitive to humidity, pressure, scratches
  • Keep flat in individual archival plastic sleeves
  • Avoid stacking or folding

Blueprint Paper

  • Prone to tears without proper support
  • Never roll tightly – can crack emulsion
  • Hang or store completely flat


  • Vulnerable to moisture damage and mold
  • Roll gently around wide archival tube
  • Keep in climate controlled space

Know your poster’s paper type and its vulnerabilities when deciding optimal storage. Adjust to keep each material in the best condition.

What Are Some DIY Poster Storage Options?

Here are some budget-friendly DIY approaches for storing posters:


  • Use clean plastic/PVC pipes, cardboard tubes, or pool noodles to roll posters
  • Wrap poster around tube, then wrap both in plastic wrap or clean sheet

Flat Filing

  • Use acid-free cardboard or archival plastic between posters
  • Place inside large envelopes, folders, or cardboard drawers
  • Can add index labels for easy organization


  • Hang on wall using removable poster strips or command hooks
  • Change location of hangers periodically to vary tension


  • Thrift store frames with glass/plexiglass removed work well
  • Use acid-free cardboard or foam core as backing

Get creative with materials around the home, just be cautious of potential damage from improper storage.

What Storage Mistakes Should Be Avoided?

Here are some poster storage mistakes to avoid:

Rolling Too Tightly

Causes cracks and creases in the long run. Roll gently around a tube slightly larger than the poster.

Improper Materials

Cardboard, construction paper, and wood contain acids that break down paper over time. Use archival tubes, mylar, etc. instead.

Excess Moisture

Damp basements, garages, and attics encourage mold growth and paper yellowing.

Direct Sunlight

Fades inks and causes brittleness faster. Keep posters completely out of sun.


Tape, glue, and other adhesives can permanently damage paper. Use reversible mounting options instead.


Creates harsh creases that weaken posters. If folding, be extremely gentle and minimize creases along one edge.

With some awareness, common mistakes like these can easily be avoided to keep posters in great shape.


Storing posters properly is all about being gentle, using archival-quality supplies, and keeping them in ideal environmental conditions. By carefully rolling or flat filing posters, keeping them free from moisture/light damage, and using protective tubes and sleeves, they can stay vibrant and intact for many years of enjoyment. Pay attention to each poster’s unique material weaknesses too. With a little time invested upfront into proper storage, your poster collection will stay vibrant for the long haul.

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