Artwork defines our personality, character, and interests. Art is of sentimental value, like china plates and jewelry, especially when it’s an heirloom.
Moving artwork can be tricky; a sullied painting, a shattered frame, or a chipped sculpture will ruin a moving day. It would be best if you were meticulous when packing artwork for moving. Wrapping, padding, and moving require careful handling.
This article is about packing artwork to protect them from dents and scratches.
Artwork Packing Materials
If you want your cargo to arrive safely at your new home, you’ll need the best packing materials and enough padding supplies.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to pack artwork for moving:
- Flat cardboard box
- Mirror box or artwork box
- Wooden crate
- Packing paper
- Parchment paper
- Bubble wrap
- Plastic wrap or palette
- Painter’s tape
- Permanent or Sharpie marker
Note: The kind of artwork you’re packing determines which materials you’ll purchase.
See Also: 3 Ways to Pack Large Pictures for Moving
3 Ways to Pack Artwork for Moving
We’ll consider three significant kinds of artwork, canvas, framed art, and 3D art (sculptures), each with a different packing style.
First, you need a wide, clean, flat surface like a big table or the floor. Place a piece of clothing like a towel or blanket on the surface to protect your artwork from scratches.
Pack Framed Art for Moving
A specialty box is an artwork, mirror, or picture box used to pack framed art. You only have to slide in your wrapped paintings. Although pricey, these boxes are an excellent investment to protect your art.
When ordering, select a box 2-3 inches bigger than your artwork on all sides. Anything more means extra padding than required.
Pack one large artwork per box. Pack smaller artwork together in a large cardboard box but use enough padding.
Here’s how to pack framed art for moving
- Make a large ‘X’ and a plus on the glass frame of your painting using masking tape.
If the glass breaks in transit, the tape will hold the shards and protect the art.
- Place packing paper on a flat surface large enough to accommodate the painting.
- Lay the painting in the middle of the paper with the glass facing the paper.
- Wrap the ends of the paper around the frame and secure the length and breadth with painter’s tape.
- Wrap the piece in 2-3 sheets of glassine, plastic, palette, or kitchen wrap to protect it from friction damage.
- Wrap the piece in 2-3 strips of bubble wrap, then tape it in place.
- Tape cardboard corners or improvised cardboard pieces to the frame for extra protection.
- Stuff the bottom of the box with bubble wrap and crumpled packing paper or wadded newsprint.
- Load your artwork into the box.
- Fill the sides of the box with padding and shake the box lightly to be sure if the artwork isn’t moving around. Pack more padding material till you have a snug fit.
- Pad the top of the box and tape the flaps shut.
- Use a marker to label the ‘Top’ of the box, then write ‘Artwork: Fragile’ and ‘Handle With Care’ on the side.
Labeling ensures everyone treats your cargo with care and saves time looking for boxes when unpacking.
See Also: 3 Ways to Pack Paintings for Moving
Pack Framed Canvas for Moving
Follow the steps below to pack your canvas for moving:
- Place parchment paper on a flat surface large enough to accommodate the painting.
- Lay the painting in the middle of the paper facing the paper.
- Wrap the ends of the paper around the frame and secure the length and breadth with packing tape.
- Wrap the piece in 2-3 strips of bubble wrap, then tape it in place.
- Pad and label the box as outlined above.
Parchment paper doesn’t stick to paint and protects the painting from debris, oils, dirt, and dust; the paper is also used to pack mixtiles.
Pack Unframed Canvas for Moving
Please follow our step-by-step guide:
- Cover the canvas with glassine or parchment paper.
- Tape a cardboard sheet to the back of the canvas.
- Wrap the canvas in glassine to protect it from moisture, debris, dust, and oils.
- Wrap the piece in 2-3 strips of bubble wrap and secure it with painter’s tape.
- Place the canvas between two cardboard sheets and secure with painter’s tape.
- Stuff the bottom of a mirror or picture box with ample padding material: styrofoam, crumpled paper, or bubble wrap.
- Slide the canvas into the box and stuff more padding in empty spaces to fit snugly.
- Tape the flaps of the box shut.
- Label the box as explained above.
Pack Canvas Using Cardboard Shipping Tubes
Need to move unframed canvas and massive art prints? We suggest you pack the artwork in fitting cardboard shipping tubes. All you have to do is measure the piece’s dimensions with measuring tape.
Once you have accurate measurements, follow the steps below to pack:
- Lay the canvas painted side down between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Wrap the piece in a glassine and secure its edges with painter’s tape.
- Loosely roll the canvas and paper.
- Prepare the shipping tube like you did the cardboard box.
- Slide the canvas inside the shipping tube.
- Place the caps on and seal them with packing tape.
- Label the tube accordingly.
Note: Glassine protects your canvas from moisture, debris, dust, and oils. Also, your canvases will arrive at the new home without punctures, wrinkles, or missing parts.
Pack 3D Art (Sculptures) for Moving
The extended parts of sculptures are most vulnerable, one moment they’re there, and the next instant, a bump snaps it right off. Take no chances. The slightest dent will render a sculpture imperfect.
Follow the steps below to pack sculptures for moving:
- Place the smaller sculpture in a plastic bag and then in a smaller box stuffed with padding.
- Cover every nook and cranny of the piece in cling wrap.
- Pad the extended parts and holes of the sculpture in bubble wrap.
- Wrap the whole sculpture in 2 inches of bubble wrap.
- Wrap packing paper around the piece and secure it with painter’s tape.
- You’ll get a fairly round shape at the end.
- Place the sculpture in a box and pad it with framed art.
See Also: How to Pack Mirrors for Moving
Do not pack anything more than 45 pounds in a cardboard box. Packing larger sculptures might be harder than regular-sized items, and if too heavy, it might strain the cardboard box and slip from beneath, breaking in the process.
Hence, wooden crates are a safer option when packing large sculptures. Wood crates store and pack wine bottles because of their ability to absorb impact and protect their contents.
Line the crate with 2-3 inches of bubble and reinforce all wooden crates with masking tape. Please remember to stuff the wooden box with padding supplies after packing.
You can get a wooden crate from a craft or shipping supply store.
Tips For Packing Artwork For Moving
- Wash your hands before handling oil or paint canvases.
- Glassine is a better option than plastic wrap when packing canvases.
- Newspapers leave prints on items and wrap them with packing paper instead.
- Don’t pad with packing peanuts or paper shreds. They can stick to glass and don’t provide enough cushion.
- Never pack more than 45 pounds in a box.
- Reinforce the top and bottom of boxes with masking tape.
- Get insurance for your artwork if you’re using a moving company.
- When loading boxes containing artwork in the truck, stack them upright, not flat. Support artwork with sturdy boxes, like a box of clothes.
We hope this article made packing easier and your valuables safer. Please don’t hesitate to share this article with your loved ones.