How to pack artwork for moving

Packing, as a part of the moving process, requires a lot of patience, planning, and effort in order to be successful. You need to think about many details upfront, so you don’t waste precious time and even money. A significantly more difficult situation is when you need to transport one of your valuable artworks. Whether it is an old painting or a statue, you need to be extra cautious. You have to know specifically how to pack artwork for moving to avoid damage and even injuries in some cases.

What options do you have to pack artwork for moving?

Every owner should be familiar with different options when they need to pack artwork for moving.

  1. If you need to move your paintings, prints, or some smaller items, artwork box or mirror box should suffice.
  2. For your larger items like statues, or huge paintings with robust frames, wooden crates will do the job.
  3. Extra-large instruments like a grand piano will definitely demand special packing and transportation treatment.
  4. Things like collectible cars and old-timers are totally different things where you need to hire specialized transport.
  5. For jewelry and similar valuables, the safety box is a preferable solution.

To be completely sure that your valuable items will be intact, the best solution would be to hire professionals. Dorothy & Martha Moving NYC is an example of a company specialized in moving the artwork. So, if you happen to need that kind of service, calling one of the reputable companies will be the most painless option.

For delicate items, professionals are the best option

Why would you risk damaging something so valuable, or even priceless? You wouldn’t. There are not many arguments saying it another way. Usually, the costs of repair can be way above the moving costs, so it’s not worth it at all. Another thing, you probably don’t have enough experience in dealing with transportation, loading, and unloading. Not only you can break something but there is a great chance you can injure yourself. Just like in Brooklyn you can find professionals to move your art, you can find them in other places with ease as well.

A beautiful large piano in a hall.

The piano is a delicate item even if it doesn’t look like it.

Proper materials to use when you need to pack artwork for moving

There are some situations where you can pack your artwork yourself, as long as the risk is not significant. In order to do so, you will first need to obtain proper packing materials. Some of the essential things are:

  • Painters tape
  • Packing cardboard
  • Wrappers
  • Boxes of appropriate size
  • Fillers that can’t damage your goods
  • Glassine paper to cover sensitive surfaces
  • Tubes for foldable canvases and similar items

Pay close attention to fillers and wrappers. There is a chance that they are not made from high-quality materials so they can damage your item. Some fillers dissolve in high humidity areas and become sticky. You can only imagine the horror of finding your precious painting covered in that. Also, avoid any kind of newspaper or printings since they can leave ink and color trails on your item. There are many high-quality materials out there, like eco packages, you just need to find them.

Word “fragile” on a wooden crate.

Wooden crates are necessary for valuable fragile items.

Use multiple boxes for smaller artwork

For things like small paintings and smaller statues, it is possible to group them together. Pack each item in a separate and safe package, then put them together in a larger box. If there is a room between them, fill it out so they don’t move in transportation. In fact, you can even place them together in a wooden crate to make them safer. For larger pieces, there is no other choice than to use sturdy specialty boxes or large wooden crates. Unfortunately, huge pieces are very difficult to handle so we are back to professionals.

Small golden elephant statue.

Small artwork pieces can be grouped together for convenience.

Packing steps to take when you pack artwork for moving

Pack your items clean

Before placing your artwork in a storage box, it’s essential to clean them properly. That way, you will avoid damage that may occur because of the dust, humidity, moisture, heat, and rust for the long-distance move. Generally speaking, some items are more sensitive than others. Humidity and moisture are particularly damaging for a wooden object, so check even the protection layer on the wood. Metal will definitely last longer and be more resilient to rust if a thin layer of oil is applied. Leather items need additional attention and it’s quite easy to find a protective solution to buy.

Pack slowly step by step

  • Cover your glass surfaces with tape. Just a simple “x” mark will prevent the glass from shattering in case it breaks.
  • For pictures without glass, find something firm and strong enough to prevent friction of the painted surface.
  • Cardboard corners are generally a good solution for frame corners. Protect them so they don’t damage during moving.
  • Different kinds of wrappers are a great way for additional protection. Not only they will keep everything in place but they are also there to prevent friction.
  • Prepare the bottom of the box and carefully place the item inside. Fill the empty space with materials intended for filling. Usually, you know you did a great job if the item is not shifting inside.
  • Seal the package and label it properly. Particularly, pay attention to mark the bottom of the box and with words like “fragile” and “artwork”.

Loading and transport of your artwork

There is a couple of rules when it comes to loading. First, never try to do it if you are not sure about how it’s done. This is the job for professionals so let them handle it. Second, flat items like paintings should always be on their edges, never on their flat side. Third, be smart about placing the items inside the truck. You should never place a heavy item on top. The last, use a rope and tie your boxes so they don’t move during transportation.

When you pack artwork for moving, you may come into a situation when you need to rent climate-controlled transport. Temperature changes and humidity have a habit to sneak inside your boxes and damage your artwork. Especially, if you are moving them long distance. That’s why you will need this specialized transportation to ensure nothing can happen to your precious possessions.