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How to Pack Paintings for Moving

Your relocation date is quickly approaching, and you’re preparing for your long-distance move. Although you have almost everything figured out, you are not sure how to pack paintings for moving appropriately. This process requires a more careful approach than other items, but if you know how to pack glassware and mugs, then you’ll probably figure this out as well. We will share tips that will give you all the answers you need on how to protect and secure your valuable paintings from damage.

Every painting requires special treatment when being placed into a box

What Not to do When Packing Paintings for Moving

It doesn’t matter if your artwork collection consists of masterpieces or is unique because of its sentimental value. Every piece deserves complete protection, and we understand if this gives you anxiety about moving out and additional moving stress. Since canvas art is usually large but flimsy and often has a frame with glass, it requires extra safety when moving. That means you should keep in mind several factors before you start learning all the packing tips and tricks. We would like to share the common moving mistakes you should avoid if you want to keep your artworks safe, regardless of what are your reasons to move.

  • Do not go for materials and supplies that will scratch or stain the glass or frame, and don’t try to reduce the costs of moving by using cheap supplies that are not suitable.
  • Avoid padding such as foam peanuts, since these little balls can be broken up into thousands of tiny pieces and can squeeze into the smallest crevice or furrow. Also, they are usually made out of potato or corn byproduct, so the slightest bit of water or moisture will make them turn into glue.
  • If you have pieces that do not have a frame or glass cover, you should roll them up and place them inside a tube box.
  • Think about their new arrangement in advance, especially if you’re moving into a smaller home, don’t let them be packed for weeks just because there’s no room, so keep that in mind when house-hunting.
Canvases without a frame should be rolled up and placed into a tube box

List of Things You Need to Pack Your Piece of Art

Before packing, you should buy all the necessary boxes and packing supplies to protect and transport your art safely. If you don’t work with appropriate materials, you run the risk of damaging your canvases. Make sure you acquire the following:

  • Boxes. They should be a little bit larger across their length, width, and height than the painting.
  • Glassine paper. It is recommended as the first layer of protection.
  • Bubble wrap. Bubble wrap will keep your items protected from impact damage.
  • Flat cardboard sheets. Use them as an additional layer of protection.
  • Duct tape. It is irreplaceable for sealing boxes.
  • A permanent marker. It is important to label every package.

What if My Artwork is Larger Than the Boxes I Have

When you don’t know what to do with your large and bulky piece of art, an excellent solution is a picture or a mirror box. The advantage of a used box is not just the ability to store huge canvases, but it can also be used to pack one or more frames at a time. It provides extra protection against damage and prevents movement inside.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Newspapers for Packing

No matter if you are trying to reduce moving expenses remember that these materials can scratch the glass or leave spots of dirt and ink on canvas and that’s why you should avoid them. The ink from newspapers can cause damage by rubbing off, and parchment paper can scratch the glass or the paint because of its coarser texture.

Some unique pieces should be placed into a crate

Packing and Protecting Your Artwork Adequately

When searching the right packaging for such fragile items, always find a flat box larger than your artwork by about 3 or 4 inches on each side. However, if you can’t find a perfectly–sized box, check out some of the best-sized boxes for moving. Simply use more padding material to make sure all the sides of the painting inside a large box are fixed. Below we will share some advice that should help if you never before tried to pack a piece of art.

How to Pack and Protect Your Paintings

Since there are so many different types of packing materials, you should know which ones are appropriate for the type of items you are packing. Now, let’s take a look at this step-by-step guide for packing paintings:

  • The first thing you need to do is to take your canvas off the wall, place it on a flat surface, and make an „X“ across the framed glass with tape. Use painter’s or masking tape to prevent the glass from breaking.
  • Cover the top of the framed painting with a cardboard sheet. You can also use several layers of plastic bubble wrap. Make sure that the cardboard isn’t bigger than the entire painting. Its main purpose is to cover the glass.
  • You can use cardboard corners for the frame as protection in case the frame is valuable or expensive. Or insert cardboard protection for all sides of the frame, you can easily do that with a piece of used cardboard you no longer need.
  • Bubble wrap is excellent for padding. You can use one layer or add several for better security. Wrap your canvas both horizontally and vertically and secure the edges with tape. That is how to use bubble wrap on paintings.
  • Now it’s time for boxes. Each box should contain just one picture, placed carefully inside. If there is space left, add enough packing paper to prevent any movement.
  • Before sealing the box with tape, gently shake it and check if the contents are moving around. In case they are, add in more padding until the picture is completely fixed.
  • Close, seal, and write “fragile” on all sides of the box to warn your movers that they should be careful with those packages.

Of course, if you don’t have to worry about moving budget and having the cheapest way to move out of state, you can always contact movers with professional moving services and request a professional packing service so you don’t have to worry about a thing once you donate unwanted items. The best time of the year to move is whenever you’re ready. There’s an option to save money even with hiring professionals – chose to relocate during the cheapest time of the year if you’re flexible with your moving date. You can also easily find cost-effective auto shipping services if you want to transport your car across the country. In case you want to pack your artwork by yourself at home, consider this advice, and make sure you have enough boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and a place where you can safely do it. If you’re moving alone to another state ask someone to help you if the artwork is too large and you cannot pack it alone.

Some unique pieces should be placed into a crate

Packing Very Delicate Paintings When Moving

If your artwork is rare or unique, you should pack it with even more care. The best solution is to get them professionally created, and you can always ask galleries if they are willing to help you for a small fee or share their tips for moving and shipping an artwork. The total value of such artwork requires extra effort, time, and money. However, you shouldn’t have second thoughts about that considering the significance of such pieces.

Don’t Forget the Insurance of Your Framed Artwork

If your relocation company and insurance agency cover the basic moving package, that doesn’t mean that your paintings are included. Often such items require an additional insurance policy. Call a representative and ask exactly what is covered so you can add an invisible protection wrap around those precious boxes.

Tips for Finding the Best Insurance

When shipping such a valuable piece of art in a box, you cannot just hope that everything will arrive intact. You need insurance that your painting will come home safe and won’t cause you a headache or relocation depression. In case your insurance doesn’t have a separate policy, then you have several possibilities on how to insure your collection before relocating:

  • Buy special coverage for specific items within your insurance, in this case, for canvases. This policy usually is not as sophisticated as a fine art insurance policy.
  • Make a claim with an art insurance expert. These separate insurance companies are experienced in creating policies to protect your items and they know how to appraise them and will take care of any unexpected damage. You will probably have to create a photo inventory for the purpose of insurance.