Home Entertainment & Arts Painting, safety, and health hazards: How to make your art studio safe

Painting, safety, and health hazards: How to make your art studio safe


If you are an avid artist, you can likely attest as to how fun it is to create art. However, it’s obviously not going to be as fun if you accidentally make someone ill by not being sufficiently careful with how you either maintain your art studio or produce art in it.

Here are a few tips and tricks you can follow to help keep your studio safe – for both yourself and anyone else who may have access to it – as you get to work on that next masterpiece.

Keep as much of your skin covered as possible

When painting with traditional and water-soluble oils, you shouldn’t simply leave your hands and arms exposed to potential splatters from the paints.

As an Artists Network article warns, skin absorbs substances – and, if you use a solvent-soaked paper towel in an attempt to remove paint from your skin, that paint could enter your body. Hence, when painting, you should wear disposable gloves.

Make sure your studio is properly ventilated

When working with oils or acrylics, “properly ventilated” would mean having – if possible – multiple windows open as well as using a strong fan to draw clean air into the studio.

Meanwhile, if you intend to use any fixatives or spray-on solutions, it would be crucial to do so outside, as no amount of ventilation indoors is likely to suffice for protecting your health from the resulting fumes.

Don’t leave work containers near food/drink containers

You probably don’t need to be told that leaving, say, diluting or rinsing water near water intended for drinking is almost a disaster waiting to happen. So, it would be wise to use narrow-mouth containers for rinsing brushes – and, if pets have access to your studio, cover the water when you aren’t using it.

To help guard against cross-contamination, you should also reserve specific cups, plates, trays and the like for painting purposes – and store them separately to your regular dishes.

Follow any safety instructions provided with your materials

Those instructions were put on the materials for a good reason: to help guide people who might be genuinely unsure how to safely handle them.

So, if you don’t know – for example – how to dispose of certain materials without imperilling your health and safety, don’t hesitate to carefully check what’s printed on those materials’ packaging.

Prevent anyone from touching your artwork while it’s drying

While you might have designed your studio as something of a shared space, you should still reserve part of it for keeping your freshly-finished art away from where other people could touch it – and thus potentially damage it as well as their own health.

Artist Niki Hilsabeck writes for EmptyEasel.com: “I have a white cat who loves to rub on my pastels, and as funny as it is to see a pink or blue cat, I don’t want him ingesting the pastel when he cleans himself”. Keeping your art pristine could also eventually enable you to sell it to a prestigious collector like Charles Saatchi. Hey, you never know…

Claire James