the ultimate guide to moving artwork

Your Ultimate Guide to Moving Artwork

Moving is stressful enough. Adding on the stress of possibly breaking a cherishable piece of artwork is not something that anyone wants to experience. Whether it’s an incredible art piece created by Vincent Van Gogh himself or a masterpiece put together by your wonderful 3-year-old, you want to ensure its safety during a move.

Art is timeless and close to the heart, which is why we hold it so valuable as to hang it on our walls. Moving artwork can be complicated and quite scary. If not moved correctly, your artwork can be damaged very easily. 

And unfortunately, pieces of artwork are usually something that cannot be replaced. So let’s not take that risk! All worries of damaging special artwork can be put to rest by following the appropriate steps. 

Keep reading for the ultimate guide on moving artwork!

Supplies Needed When Moving Artwork

Before beginning the move, you’ll need the correct supplies. Having the right tools and supplies helps ensure your artwork’s safety. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Boxes in various sizes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape & masking tape
  • Brown packing paper
  • Markers (permanent and wide-tipped) 

Be sure to not forget anything on this list. The items are essential for a happy move. 

How to Package

Although it may seem simple enough, you can’t just place artwork inside a box and call it a day. There are specific ways that the packaging must be done to eliminate all possibilities of damage. Let’s look at some packaging tips. 

Using the Correctly Sized Box

This is vital to your artwork’s safety. When moving any size piece of artwork, you’ll want to package it inside a box that is slightly larger than the piece itself. A good way to determine a good size box is to lay the box flat and put the artwork on top of it. 

The artwork should be smaller than the box. If you have multiple pieces of art, it’s a good idea to pick up a variety of box sizes and bring them home to match each artwork piece to its rightfully sized box. When packaging smaller pieces, it is okay to put more than one inside of one box. 

However, when moving a larger piece, it’s important to only place one inside a box. 

Protecting the Artwork Further

The most important part of the artwork is its face. To protect the artwork’s face, you should wrap it several times around in plastic wrap. You’ll then want to use the brown packing paper.

Lay out the paper on a flat surface and overlap each piece until creating an area larger than the artwork that you are about to wrap in it. If applicable, lay the artwork glass side down. Wrap the artwork up completely as if wrapping a present. 

Then, use the packing tape to wrap around the artwork width and lengthwise. Be sure to wrap each artwork individually. 

Extra Tip: Do not use newspaper for wrapping your artwork. The newspaper may leave marks and stains!

Sealing the Box Correctly

Slide the artwork into the box gently. Be sure that the side opposite of the opening is sealed thoroughly. There shouldn’t be wide enough spaces in the box for the artwork to slide around.

If there is extra space in the box, you can fold the sides around the artwork’s frame and secure it with the tape. 

Marking the Packages

This is where your heavy-duty permanent marker comes in. Use this marker to boldly place “GLASS” on any boxes containing artwork that’s made of glass. This helps movers and yourself know which boxes may need a little extra care. 

You should also use the masking tape to place an “X” across the glass itself. This trick helps keep the glass from possibly shattering during the moving process. But glass is not the only item that should be marked. 

All boxes containing artwork should be marked with larger letters, using the permanent marker, “FRAGILE.” Even though they’re not made of glass, they are still very fragile and should be marked as so. Another great tip is to include the room where the piece is going on the outside of the box.

If a piece of artwork is for the living room, bedroom, bathroom, or other, it should be labeled so. This decreases the amount of actual moving that needs to take place, which decreases the chances of damage. When arriving at your new location, you’ll know exactly where the box goes. 

Run a Movement Test

Before loading up and revving the engines for your journey, run a movement test. You can pick up a box and gently shuffle it back and forth to see if there is any movement inside. If there is, you can grab some newspaper, crumble it up, and add it to the box if needed.

As long as the artwork is wrapped in the brown packing paper, the newspaper won’t ruin it. And adding the crumbled up newspaper to the box will help keep everything in place.

How to Position in a Truck

Place the boxes containing your artwork on their sides. You won’t want to lay them flat. Also, be sure to find a good spot for them on the moving truck. It’s a great idea to slide these boxes between larger items that won’t move during the trip.

This helps keep the boxes from falling over or moving much during the move. 

Embarking on Your New Journey Worry Free

The stresses of moving are already high, don’t add the stress of damaging beloved artwork. Use this guide when moving artwork and put your mind at ease by knowing that all your artwork is safe. But the artwork isn’t the only thing that we want to keep safe during a move.

Head over to our blog on the top 10 moving safety tips that everyone needs to know!