Museum Wax


Reusable wonder wax

It’s stickier and firmer than Play-Doh and comes off easier than Poster Putty. A little pinch of museum wax on the back of a frame stabilizes it, and holds its position firmly against a wall. Level your artwork and it’ll stay level. If you rotate works on display at home, pull the framed art off the wall, remove the wax, and then reuse it on the next piece you hang. It’s handy for gently tethering display pieces to shelves, too.

I first found out about Museum Wax ($6) from friends who did art-handling work in museums, where it is, in fact, used. Outside of the galleries, it’s also a prime tool in the museum’s photo studio. While on staff photographing artwork from the permanent collection of a Southern California museum, I was taught to use museum wax for shooting still-life work: Museum wax is just right for table-top photography of smaller objects, particularly to hold the object being photographed to its out-of-view support. Small dabs of museum wax are easily positioned to remain unnoticeable, and wipe clean off ceramic and glass surfaces without the need for solvents. It’s a key tool for food stylists, too.

A little of this stuff goes a long way. It is reusable, and doesn’t seem to dry out or lose it’s tackiness. I still have a clump I was given many years ago.

-- Elon Schoenholz 10/9/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2009 — editors)