How to Safely Pack Framed Art for a Move

Framed artwork can be awkward to pack and move, as it can be easily ruined and doesn’t stack particularly well. With the right strategies, however, you can get your framed artwork to your new apartment safely, so keep reading for everything you need to know.

Consider removing artwork from the frame

One way to better ensure the safety of certain types of art is to remove the piece from the frame and place it rolled up in a protective tube instead. This works best for pieces that are thin acrylic paint or simply printed, as you won’t have to worry about the paint cracking from being rolled up.

Before rolling up your artwork, place it between two pieces of protective, acid-free tissue paper. Roll the piece gently, and then slide it into a protective cardboard tube. Finally, securely tape the end of the cardboard tube.

Choosing the right boxes

If you choose not to pack your artwork in a tube, it’s important to make sure you select the right type of box. Many moving companies and home improvement stores sell boxes that are specifically made to hold framed pictures and mirrors, so these will be your best bet for any artwork that’s important or valuable enough to you to merit its own box.

If you’re fine with the easier but potentially slightly less safe option of packing multiple pieces of art in one box, look for a box that’s barely taller and wider than the largest piece you have. The smaller your box, the less your artwork will jostle around inside it.

Padding and protection

It’s important to use enough padding – and the right kind of it – to keep your artwork and frames from being damaged, especially if you’re packing multiple pieces in one box. For a start, wrap each piece with paper so the tape can’t pull any of the paint or the finish on the frame off.

Next, wrap each piece with bubble wrap or a thick towel or blanket. If you’re using bubble wrap, use packing tape to secure it around the artwork. You want to make sure your boxes are packed full so nothing moves around too much. You can add pillows or other blankets or towels into the box to fill empty space and add additional padding.

Extra tips

For items in very large frames, you can use a TV moving box with foam corner protectors. Art can be ruined more easily than a TV screen, so you’ll still want to wrap yours with bubble wrap or a blanket before putting it in the box.

Be sure to label boxes of artwork with “fragile” and “do not stack” so movers know not to handle these boxes roughly or stack things on top of them. For some extra protection for pieces with glass covering them in the frame, make an “x” with masking tape covering the glass. This will ensure that if things go wrong and the glass breaks, at least it will stay in place instead of fully shattering and damaging the piece behind it.

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