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Packing and Moving Artwork

Updated on January 19, 2020
Monica Pocelujko profile image

has a B.A. in English and 7 years of experience as a freelance writer working on the Internet.

If you have an art collection, regardless of whether it has any financial value or just emotional meaning, if you are planning to move you will want to make sure that it arrives safely intact at its destination. Items like fine art and oil paintings will need to be taken special care of to ensure that they are not damaged during transport.

Be sure and select a reliable moving company for the job. Short of riding along with them the best thing that you can do to protect the items in your art collection is to see to it that the most valuable pieces are insured in case of loss or damage while they are being moved. Pertaining to this you should have pictures on file of your entire art collection. Each piece of art should be displayed by itself and its condition should be noted.

If you are moving the art collection yourself, here are some ways to pack up your art to give it the best chance at reaching its destination unharmed:

1. If you need to pack large paintings or mirrors, you should do so in special cardboard picture boxes. The difference between regular moving boxes and picture boxes is like night and day. Picture boxes are large, flat, and can be adjusted, which makes them ideal for safeguarding framed artwork.

2. Corner protectors can come in handy too. They will serve to cushion your artwork and to help prevent damage to the corners of the frames and keep the corners from damaging other items.

3. If you have any sculptures, you will need to have the basic packing supplies like unprinted newspaper, bubble wrap and packing peanuts available.

Framed Artwork

Here's something you should always do when packing a framed painting, mirror, or photograph. Using masking tape, place two strips over the glass in an X shape. That way in case the glass breaks, the tape will prevent it from shattering and damaging the picture underneath and possibly harming you as well. After you've done this, put the corner protectors on and place bubble wrap around the frame and paper.

Although glass can be dangerous when you're moving, you also need to take some extra precautions if the art isn't encased in glass:

1. There's a chance that the plastic in the bubble wrap may react with or stick to the paint, so cover the painting in unprinted newspaper. It's important to use unprinted newspaper because the ink from newspapers can also react with the paint.

2. Next place bubble wrap over the painting.

3. If you want to add a little extra protection, you can also tape sheets of cardboard on top of all this.

Now you are ready to pack the item into a picture box. Place some scrunched up pieces of unprinted newspaper on the bottom of the box. Then place the item inside. Once that's done, close the box, tape it shut and label it as "Fragile."

Sculptures and Antiques

Sculptures and antiques must be placed in boxes that are larger than the items themselves. Be certain the box has some extra room because each item will have to be covered with bubble wrap or newspaper, increasing its size.

After you have obtained the correct boxes, then you can start your packing. Carefully wrap each piece with bubble wrap or newspaper, and tape the covering closed. Fill about one-third of the box with packing peanuts. Once the item is inside the box cover it with more peanuts. Make sure the item is secure, then tape the box closed. Write "Fragile" on the box.

When moving it is essential to pack your art collection correctly. Whether the investment is financial or emotional, artwork is central to the character of every home. If you follow the above procedures, you can rest easy knowing that you have done everything possible to see to it that your art collection survives the move unscathed.

© 2020 Monica Pocelujko


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