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Best Way to Pack Artwork for Moving

Best way to pack artwork for moving

Art is usually purchased one piece at a time, a collection of sentimental artifacts or artistic masterpieces accumulated over the years to decorate and tell a story in your home. Now that you’re moving to a new home, you want your pictures, paintings, and sculptures to make it safely through the transition — but how? We’ve listed our best tips for packing artwork for moving, from letting the professionals take over to more DIY approaches. Have a look.

Proper packing materials are key

The best way to pack artwork for moving is with a lot of padding, but more importantly, the correct kind — those that won’t inadvertently cause damage to these precious pieces.

So what will you need?

  • Painters tape
  • Packing cardboard
  • Bubble wrap
  • Appropriately sized box
  • Packing material like clean paper or air packs; avoid packing peanuts or newspaper
  • Optional: Glassine paper for artwork with no glass covering; mailing tube for canvases that would travel better rolled up

It’s so important we’ll say it again: don’t use newspaper or packing peanuts! Even if things don’t get damp, newspapers can transfer ink onto your delicate artwork and packing peanuts tend to deposit little pieces of styrofoam everywhere. If the peanuts are made from corn, even worse: if they get the slightest bit wet they turn to corn glue. You can still find plenty of green alternatives for packing that won’t damage your art.

Go slowly and carefully: framed art

Step one: If your artwork has a glass pane, use your painters’ tape to make a big X across the glass side, and go around the edge of the glass near the frame. Just in case your glass breaks in transit, this will prevent it from shattering everywhere and damaging your art.

Step two: Use a clean piece of packing cardboard, cut the same size as the frame to cover the glass. Note: don’t put it right up against the glass, but against the frame itself. If your artwork doesn’t have glass this same step applies, but it is highly recommended to use Glassine or other art protectants directly over the art itself. 

Step three: Wrap the entire thing securely in bubble wrap. This is a good time to really go wild with wrapping so you don’t leave any exposed corners! When taping the wrap in place, only adhere the tape to the wrap itself — not to the artwork or frame.

Step four: Carefully place the artwork in the box with plenty of cushion on all sides. Make sure there aren’t any large gaps where things could shift and move during transit. Be sure to mark your box “FRAGILE” on all sides and in clear writing to ensure your movers know that they are moving artwork and that they handle it with care.

For delicate or antique frames…

In some cases, it’s best to have the professionals do what they do best and pack up your fragile artwork. Call your local gallery or frame shop to have your pieces packed properly for a small fee — after all, they have spent a lot of time considering how to pack artwork for moving to shows and buyers. Protecting your valuables for the move, whether they are paintings or sculptures, is worth it the extra effort.

Ready to buy some new pieces to adorn your home? Have a look at the current trends in minimalist decoration to get some fresh ideas.