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Will hanging this canvas in the bathroom ruin it?
January 29, 2014 5:26 PM   Subscribe

We just found a great place in our apartment to hang this Vintage Color Wheel canvas, but not sure it's the best place given the humidity from the shower. I can only find warnings against mixing oil paintings or acrylic paintings and humidity. This isn't exactly high art, so I'm not as sure that we should avoid hanging this in the bathroom. At the same time, I don't want to wreck this awesome find. Do you think we'd do much damage if it was hung in our relatively small bathroom?
posted by meindee to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It will be okay if you have it framed under glass, with backing. You should not just hang it up on the wall with out glass protection. It would begin to warp, damage. Get it framed and enjoy it at many apartments to come.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:25 PM on January 29


I've had watercolors in my bathroom for decades without ill effect , and those would be a lot more vulnerable to water damage than this. "Printed canvas" probably means textured vinyl. No need for glass or framing. Just run the fan when you shower and for 10 minutes after, with the door open, if you're getting any condensation on the mirrors.
posted by beagle at 6:29 PM on January 29


Get it framed and check the frame for mildew periodically. In my experience, sealing the glazing to a coroplast backing with a plastic framer's tape will seal out moisture but it's not foolproof. Hanging anything in a bathroom is iffy, but especially an unprotected painting. Basically youur goal is keep moisture off the piece.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:30 PM on January 29


Put it this way:

Would you rather spend $100 to have this professionally framed behind glass, or would you rather spend $100 on another quirky piece of bathroom art? Or would you rather not hang something worth $100 in your bathroom?

FWIW I hung an unprotected paper thing (in a frame, but not with glass) in my bathroom for years and never noticed any change. However, that was an unusually well-ventilated bathroom. YMMV.
posted by Sara C. at 7:30 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Having actually clicked your link, I will also say that, you know, it's a $40 thing from Pottery Barn. It's not priceless art. While it will most likely be damaged eventually if you don't frame it, it's not the kind of thing you were going to hand down as an heirloom. It will be easily replaceable if anything happens to it.
posted by Sara C. at 7:32 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


From the photograph and description it looks like a prefabricated canvas which is a cotton surface coated with two thin coats of acrylic primer with an acrylic graphic (the wheel) printed on top. Mold loves acrylic paint and will make little nests on the reverse of the canvas and the front, depending on condensation. I would say, as others have above, it's not an expensive piece and would be fine for the bathroom as decoration. If you want to keep the work in good condition, the key would be how often you shower in that bathroom location, and how much you dry the room after you shower. Dryness will help keep the work in acceptable condition. If you want to seal it from water, there are some mineral spirit based varnishes you could use to treat the front and back, but it may alter the surface gloss.

Acrylic paintings also collect cigarette residue, so if you are a heavy smoker with the door closed, the surface will eventually shift yellow. Framing the work behind glass will trap moisture, if the room gets a fair amount of humidity. Ambient environments such as Hawaii or San Francisco that have a lot of air moisture will also be a consideration.

Hope this is helpful.
posted by effluvia at 8:22 PM on January 29


If you like it so much you want it to last a long time, instead of spending more money on having it framed, buy a second one as a spare.
posted by yohko at 8:27 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Former Art Framer here.

DO NOT FRAME THE CANVAS. This will actually trap the moisture between the glass and the canvas.

I think you'll be fine to hang it in your bathroom as long as you take it down every once in a while and wipe the back with a rag dampened with an anti-fungal/water solution. Just make that part of your bathroom cleaning routine. Every time you scrub the shower or toilet, take a minute to wipe the canvas down too.

I'd recommend doing a spot check to make sure your anti-fungal of choice doesn't discolor the canvas first. Personally I'd try a couple drops of tea tree oil.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:21 AM on January 30


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