How To Transport Your Artwork Safely When Moving

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Moving soon? Have a lot of artwork that you’ll need to transport to your new home? Regardless of whether you have one-of-a-kind artwork that is priceless to you, or even just simple and affordable pieces from your local craft store, you want to make sure it arrives at your new house unharmed and in one piece.

Packing artwork, paintings, and framed photographs for any move can be a little daunting, as it requires a little more care and attention. Artwork is usually large and awkward to move, so you want to be extra careful when it’s time to transfer to another environment. Keep reading as we describe some simple tips to help you transport your artwork so that you can have a little more peace of mind.

Moving? Here’s How To Safely Transport Your Artwork

Before we dive into how to safely transport your artwork, here are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind before you get started.

Before You Start…

The first tip we have for you is to be wary of packing materials that can scratch the glass or leave stains on your canvas prints. It might sound silly, but a newspaper is not a great medium to use because the ink can rub off in transport and damage your artwork. Similarly, parchment paper is fairly rough and can scratch or etch any glass covering your photos, so we suggest that you avoid it.

We also suggest avoiding all forms of packing peanuts to pad your boxes. Trust us – they have this horrible tendency to break up into teeny tiny bits that can wedge themselves everywhere. Just imagine trying to clean all of those little fluffy bits from the tiny spaces between the glass and the frame of your family photos. Annoying, right? Plus, most packing peanuts today are more eco-friendly, made out of corn or potato byproduct, which is great for the environment. However, the second even the slightest moisture hits them, they turn to a sticky mess.

Our last tip is for posters, hanging flags, or any other “loose” wall art. Transporting posters and lightweight paper artwork can be a hassle. No matter what you do they always seem to get a big fold in them. Our advice is to roll them loosely and place them inside a cardboard tube. Any hobby or art supply shop will have them leftover if you’re willing to ask.

Supplies You Might Need

Here is a list of some of the supplies you will most likely need:

  • Sturdy moving boxes, preferably slightly larger than the artwork you’re packing up]
  • Bubble wrap – you can never have too much of this when you have a lot of artwork to move
  • Glassine paper (this is optional, but as we mentioned above, wax and parchment paper can damage your artwork)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Flat cardboard sheets (typically one for each piece of art)
  • Packing tape
  • A permanent marker to label your boxes.

Unframed Artwork

Here’s how to simply pack unframed paintings and canvas artwork. First, try to touch the surface of your artwork. Cover it with tissue paper or use white cotton gloves. You can even wrap it completely with plastic to protect it from moisture. Cover the corners with more acid-free tissue paper and tape the corners of your artwork to those flat and sturdy cardboard sheets you have on hand. Foamcore works for this too.

Depending on how fragile the piece is, you can add a few layers of cardboard on both sides and tape them together. Consider using a mirror box if you’re worried about it. Otherwise, your cardboard wrapped and taped artwork should be fine.

Framed Artwork

Framed artwork has a few more steps. We think that each frame should have its own box with space on each side. You can buy them or make them yourself. First thing first – if your artwork is covered in glass, use your painter’s tape to create a large “X” over the glass from corner to corner to prevent the glass from cracking or shattering. Start again by wrapping the artwork with tissue paper. Then you can wrap your piece in bubble wrap and make sure that the corners are adequately covered (the corners are the most susceptible to damage during transport).

The next step is to prep your box. Place form or your choice of packing material as a layer to rest the frame on. Then fill any open areas with more packing material to create a snug fit. Remember to make sure that the boxes with your frames are properly closed and secured and clearly marked as fragile.

Sculptures and Other Art

When it comes to sculptures and other random pieces of art, bubble wrap is your best friend. Wrap at least two layers around each piece and secure well with tape. The next step is to fill up your box about ⅓ of the way with shredded paper or other dunnage. Create a little space for your art piece and then fill up the rest of the box with shredded paper or packing materials. Use your best judgment, but not all pieces need their own box. You might be able to get away with putting 2-3 items in one box.

The goal is to minimize movement when you transport your artwork, which is why we love bubble wrap so much. Tape your box securely and don’t forget to label it properly.

Conclusion

Transporting your artwork doesn’t have to be a big hassle or worry when you follow some of the above tips. At the end of the day, when you’re doing a big move you can always pay for movers who know how to properly transport your items. However, if you’re like us and want a little more control over our treasured items, then taking the time to prep your artwork before transporting can go a long way into making sure they stay safe and damage-free.

If you’re renting a moving truck and are wondering how to pack your artwork, our tip is to make sure nothing is set on top of your artwork boxes. Your best bet is to tightly pack them into your personal car so that they can’t move or won’t be thrown around when you inevitably have to break or turn hard.