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How to Pack Artwork for Moving

If you’re an art lover, you’ve probably accumulated your fair share of beautiful artwork to decorate your home throughout the years. Shaping empty interior space into cozy, memorable rooms is exciting and fulfilling. But, what are you supposed to do with all of your paintings when it comes time to move?

Moving is a complicated endeavor, and owning artwork can make the process even more stressful than it already is. The responsibility of protecting your fine art during a move can be difficult, but we’ve compiled our top tips on how to pack artwork for moving.

Follow our guide below to learn about the best way to pack artwork for moving.

Tips Before Packing Your Artwork

Gather supplies. Before you begin packing your artwork, you’ll want to make sure that you have access to the right materials. Artwork is fragile and easily susceptible to breaking, so an abundant supply of padding is needed. Necessary supplies include the following:

  • Moving boxes of various size
  • Bubble wrap
  • Painter’s or masking tape
  • Packing material (e.g. cardboard paper or glassine paper)
  • Markers

While you can use newspapers or packing peanuts as alternative packing material, they carry a risk of ruining your precious artwork. Newspapers can stain your fine art with ink and peanuts can stick like glue or cause a styrofoam mess. Instead, it’s best to use heavy-duty material, such as cardboard paper and moving blankets, for vital protection.

Use secure moving boxes. You’ll need a fresh supply of sturdy moving boxes to protect your valuable items when moving. If you don’t have any boxes around your house, it’s easy to get free moving boxes at various places.

If the moving boxes you find for free aren’t durable enough, we recommend investing in sturdy, high quality moving boxes at your local supply store. You want to ensure that your artwork fits snugly, so look for moving boxes of appropriate size for each framed art and glass piece you own. When determining the right size moving box, it’s important to account for the bubble wrap and packing material that will take up extra space inside.

Drive the right vehicle. You can follow the steps on packing artwork perfectly, but it just takes one mishap on the road to damage or destroy your valuable artwork. For example, delicate artwork laying in the back of a pickup truck is highly susceptible to bumpy roads and intense weather conditions. On the other hand, cargo vans and box trucks with an enclosed cargo space help safeguard your artwork from external elements.

Of course, you should take into consideration other items that must be transported if you’re preparing for a big move. Plan accordingly and determine how big of a moving truck or van you need before packing.

How to Safely Pack Artwork – Paintings, Framed Art and Prints

Step 1: Artwork with a glass pane should be handled with care. With your painter’s or masking tape, mark an X across the glass and continue taping the edge of the glass near the frame. This tape will ensure that if the glass does break, it won’t shatter completely and damage your art. If you don’t own art with a glass pane, then you can skip this step.

Step 2: Use a clean piece of cardboard paper to cover the frame of your glass-covered art. Alternatively, you can use glassine paper on artwork that doesn’t contain glass, like a canvas painting. As an extra protective measure, it’s advisable to place cardboard on the corners of the frame as well.

Step 3: Wrap your artwork with substantial amounts of bubble wrap. It’s essential to ensure that your artwork is padded and not exposed, so don’t hesitate to layer additional bubble wrap throughout the frame. After sufficient wrapping, seal the bubble wrap with tape.

Step 4: Once your artwork is wrapped and secure, carefully place it into the moving box and ensure that it fits tightly without large gaps. Be extra careful. If necessary, fill in the gaps of your moving box with extra pieces of cardboard. After taping up the moving box, write a clear “FRAGILE” warning on each side of the box to let you and your movers know that it should be handled with care.

Additional Resources

If you found this article to be helpful, check out other posts for moving help and tips.