How to Move Art Safely

For most people the artwork and other collectibles they own are very special to them. Usually these items represent an investment and as such are valued not only for their financial value, but because of the beauty they bring to your home. If you are relocating, learning how to move art and other valuable and fragile items is an important part of the process. Proper preparation and packing is the key to moving art safely. Ideally this task should be left to professionals who have the skill, experience and proper materials. Having your moving company’s professional packers prepare your art and other delicate items will be money well spent.

If you decide you want to tackle this job on your own, you will need to purchase professional quality packing materials if you want to be certain that no damage occurs to these valuable possessions during your move. The following are some professional tips on how to move art and other easily broken or damaged items.

Packing Paintings or Prints with Glass

  • Put masking tape across the glass in an “X” pattern
  • Cover the glass with a piece of heavy or corrugated cardboard, mat board or foam sheet
  • Wrap the entire painting in bubble wrap
  • Secure edges of bubble wrap with masking tape to keep it secure
  • Purchase professionally designed “mirror/picture” cartons from your mover or a moving supply company
  • If putting more than one piece of artwork in the same box, pack them facing each other
  • Fill extra spaces in the box with crushed packing paper or other filling
  • Close box and securely tape it especially around outside edges

Packing Oil Paintings

Oil paintings require special care so as not to damage the surface of the painting. If the painting is extremely large, heavy or very valuable, it is best to have a custom built crate made specifically for this item. This method will afford the maximum protection. A job of this nature should be left to the professional packers employed by your moving company. A representative from the company will carefully measure the painting to ensure that the crate is made to the correct size. If not using a crate then the following method is an option:

  • Wrap the painting in a special glassine paper, which is similar to wax paper but is designed especially for packing paintings
  • Carefully wrap the entire painting in a thick layer of bubble wrap
  • Purchase construction foam which usually comes in 1” to 2 ½” thickness, the larger the painting, the thicker the Styrofoam needs to be
  • Cut a sheet of Styrofoam to a size that is 2” wider than the size of the framed painting
  • Cut strips of Styrofoam to fit all around the frame, making sure they’re the depth of the frame
  • Tape the layers together securely making a foam package
  • Cut two large cardboard sheets the same size as the Styrofoam package so that you can fold the cardboard up over the ends
  • Tape the cardboard securely to the Styrofoam
  • Encase the entire package into the appropriate size picture box
  • Securely tape the carton closed
  • Please note that the maximum weight for large mirror/picture cartons is generally 65lbs, if your painting weighs more then be sure to use the wooden crate option

Packing Sculptures and Figurines

When it comes to moving art, sculptures are especially difficult to pack because of their irregular shape and size. Very large, heavy or extremely valuable sculptures should be crated however smaller pieces can be packed in cartons provided they are properly protected.

  • The entire sculpture or figurine should be wrapped in enough bubble wrap that you cannot feel the sculpture inside the package, leaving no area exposed
  • Use high quality packing tape to secure the package
  • Use an appropriately sized box that is not too large, and won’t allow for movement within it
  • Fill the bottom of your box with packing peanuts to a minimum depth of 2” to give the best protection – the heavier the item, the more peanuts should be used
  • Put your piece in the box and use packing paper or other fill material to surround it
  • Seal the box with packing tape

Packing Fine China, Crystal and Other Breakables

As with moving art fine china, crystal and other fragile items require special care when moving. Even if you are planning to pack most of your household items, you may want to consider having your moving company handle this for you. If you are determined to do this yourself then be sure to:

  • Purchase professional, triple-walled china boxes from your mover or a moving supply company
  • Purchase proper packing paper, tissue paper, bubble wrap and high quality packing tape
  • Always pack plates on their end, never flat

One of Premiere's specialties is to act as a hand courier for transportation of your art. Please contact our Premiere Van Lines branch closest to you for more information or to get an estimate.

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First, I would like to thank you and your team for the great work done over all the moving process.  Your guys did amazing work, we got all the information we need about our moving, we knew that you cared about us.  The loading day, everything went smoothly, the team was professional and took great care of our stuff!!  Thanks for all!!

Julie & Steve from Montreal

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