Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Kari-Ann Ryan

Artwork is highly prized, so packing it for a residential move can be a daunting experience. The frame or glass encasing the painting can break during transport, nicking the valuable artwork. Follow these eight steps for packing artwork safely and prevent damage of any kind to the treasured pieces.

1. Obtain Protective Moving Supplies

A picture-perfect move starts with the right supplies. Boxes come in several sizes, some of which are ideal for moving paintings. Picture shippers come in specific sizes. The maximum frame sizes these boxes come in range from 14 x 19 x 2 inches up to 59 x 59 x 4 inches.

Artwork shippers are designed to provide optimum protection to the paintings inside. A plastic-lined top prevents punctures. The painting floats in between two removable layers of soft foam pillows. The price per box can be high, ranging from $55 for one up to $352 for 10 or more.

Paintings that exceed the dimensions offered by artwork shippers should be packed into oversized artwork boxes. Or opt for mirror boxes that are made with sturdy corrugated construction and come with custom-fit designs. Surround the paintings with bubble wrap before placing inside the box.

Bubble pouches are an alternative to picture shippers. Heavy-duty and lightweight, bubble pouches are ideal for moving delicate items. They are available in most custom sizes and come with resealable Velcro closures; as a result, they can be reused. However, bubble pouches are pricey.

Along with the bubble wrap, gather additional supplies: glassine paper, blue painter’s tape, plastic wrap, packing paper, and packing peanuts. Secure the boxes with packing tape and masking tape. These supplies can be obtained from a retail store or a moving supply company.

2. Mark a Crisscross Across the Glass

Protect the glass shielding the painting by placing a strip of painter’s tape from one corner to the other. Add strips of the painter’s tape around the border of the glass. The painter’s tape is key to preventing the glass from damaging the artwork if it shatters during the move.

Instead of painter’s tape, consider using artist’s low-tack tape. This type of tape is manufactured with fewer adhesives, making it less sticky; as a result, it leaves no residue and is easier to remove from the glass at the destination.

3. Cover the Artwork

Cut two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the surface dimensions of the painting’s frame. Sandwich the art between the sections of cardboard. Tape the cardboard together, being careful to avoid taping the frame. If the painting lacks a glass cover, lay glassine between it and the cardboard.

Glassine paper is essential for protecting paintings. The paper consists of water, air, and grease repellant. When the artwork is on canvas, it is crucial that acid-free glassine paper is used. Never substitute wax paper, parchment paper, or newsprint—as they can damage the artwork.

4. Wrap the Painting

Wrap the artwork with plastic wrap. Then securely cover the entirety of the painting with bubble wrap. Make sure that the bubbles point toward the painting, not outward, so that they serve as an adequate cushion. Secure the bubble wrap with packing tape.

Pack painting for a move

5. Prepare the Box

Prep the shipping box by stuffing several crumpled sheets of packing paper at the bottom. Test for movement by placing the painting into the box. If it shifts, remove the artwork, and add more paper. Place more packing paper at the top of the box and seal it.

6. Mark as Fragile

Use a thick marker to mark the box as fragile on all sides. Add descriptors, such as “artwork,” as well. Ensure the movers place the painting in the appropriate location in the new home by writing where it will go, such as “guest room” or “master bedroom.”

7. Place in Moving Truck

The position of the packed artwork impacts how well it stays protected during transport. Ensuring the picture boxes are placed on their sides—not flat—allows them to absorb pressure better. Keep the boxes on their edges and wedge them between heavy objects so that they do not fall over.

8. Unpack Immediately

Unless the artwork is intended for long-term storage, unpack the paintings right away. Bubble wrap, foam, and plastic wrap have the tendency to trap moisture and create condensation that can damage the paintings. Packing materials should allow air circulation while providing optimum protection.

Packing sentimental or valuable artwork requires an understanding of the right packing materials to use and the proper techniques to guard against damage. The eight abovementioned steps help those on the move transport their artwork with minimum, if any, damage.

When you prefer to hand over the task of packing your artwork and other possessions to the moving pros, choose Mid-West Moving & Storage. We offer specialty packing services for valuables, such as paintings, sculptures, and other fragile pieces of artwork.

Our specialty packing services are offered in addition to our standard packing service. Licensed and bonded crews choose the right boxes to fully protect your artwork and valuables. We handle antiques and fragile items expertly to prevent damage during packing, transport, and unpacking.

Customers can opt for full or partial packing services. No matter what the size, shape, or value of your items, our experienced movers handle them with care and professionalism. We provide an inventory of all packed boxes, too. If you have used boxes left over, we’ll pick them up.

Our moving crews start the relocation process by arriving at your home with the right boxes and ample packing supplies. With decades of industry experience, we take care of the packing quickly and efficiently. You can rest easy knowing your possessions are safely packed.

As an established residential moving service, Mid-West Moving & Storage is prepared to pack and transport your artwork and belongings to your next destination with minimal stress and maximum protection. Our services are available to Chicago, Illinois, residents.

Call our Chicago, Illinois, location today at 847.593.7201 or fill out a form online and request your free moving quote.

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