Moving Framed Paintings or Photographs? Here’s How To Pack Safely

When one of our College Muscle Movers has to move their own artwork, it’s easy: They just roll up the posters they bought for $5 each at the campus store and put a rubber band around the tube and they’re ready to go.

If you’re at the stage of your life where you’ve invested a little more in your décor, you’re going to want to take the process more seriously. No problem, our movers know how to treat precious art with the care and respect it deserves. But if you’re planning to take care of the packing on your own, you’ve got a few challenges to consider.

Every part of a painting or photograph is a potential packing disaster: fragile glass that can shatter, ornate frames that can flake and crack, and delicate paper or canvas that can rip and tear.

Here’s how to make sure your art makes it to your new location looking picture-perfect.

What’s It Worth?

First, if you’re using any kind of moving or shipping service, you should consider whether your art warrants additional insurance. By default, most services provide a basic level of insurance per pound. That might be okay for furniture, but a valuable painting doesn’t weigh much.

If your art is likely to have a high value, consider having an appraiser  review their value and provide you with an estimate, and take pictures of all the pieces before insuring them separately from your other possessions and packing them up. The American Society of Appraisers can help you find a qualified professional.

Self-Moving

Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Because artwork tends to be more valuable and delicate while taking up less space than most items, consider transporting it in your car instead of the moving truck. This will require less careful packing and will reduce the risk of damage caused by shifting truck contents.

Packing Your Framed Artwork

Here are some simple steps that will help you keep your art safe if it’s in a frame and under glass.

1. Secure the glass with painter’s tape. Damage to glass is the most likely mishap that could happen to your art, but it’s also the easiest to repair—as long as it doesn’t damage the canvas. To ensure this, use painter’s tape (because it will be easy to remove later) to create a loose square grid pattern with additional diagonal strips on the glass. This way, even if the glass cracks, it will be held in place instead of scraping against the art.

2. Cover the frame in a layer of bubble wrap. You may wish to place a sheet of cardboard or a layer of acid-free paper on the glass front of the painting first to provide stability and reduce static cling. Then, wrap the entire piece in a thick layer of bubble wrap, securing it with tape at the back—not at the sides.

3. Slide the painting into a box only slightly larger than the frame. You may have a hard time finding a box with the perfect fit, but College Muscle Movers has a good selection of specialty sizes and you can find suppliers with a full range. If your painting is valuable, financially or sentimentally, it’s worth tracking down a box that will offer a snug fit to your wrapped painting. You can even buy special Styrofoam wedges designed to fit over the corners of your frame to provide additional padding and stability. Seal it up tightly and you’re all set. If you’re loading the box into a moving truck, carefully select a stable area at an edge of the truck or between two large objects unlikely to crash into it, like upright mattresses.

 

That’s it! Of course, if you’re talking about exceptionally valuable paintings, you’ll want to look into having the pieces professionally crated and shipped by specialists. For almost anything else, these steps will offer the best protection with the least expense.

Any questions? We’re always happy to help. Give the College Muscle Movers a call at 1-800-818-8449 and we’ll get you the answers you need.