Useful Tips for Safely Packing and Moving Fine Art

If you are planning to move your gallery to a new location, probably the biggest concern on your mind is how to do it so that your priceless art pieces don’t get even the slightest scratch in the process.

Even if you have some fine art shipping experience, it is always risky to carry precious and sensitive items. Thus it is of paramount importance that they get to their destination in the unchangeable condition, whether it is moving oil-paints, porcelain or sculptures. Your best bet to achieve that is to hire a professional commercial moving company which can take care not only of the moving part, but also safely packing the items. But if you prefer to take care of the packing part yourself, below are a few key tips for prepping your fine art for transport. You can check out more on for more tips.

Source: Fine Art Shippers

Prepping your art and materials

First things first, you need to draw up a detailed plan for packaging fine artworks. Decide whether you will move all items and pack them. Make a list of packaging materials and check how each item is packaged. Paintings framed and unframed, vases or sculptures cannot be packaged in the same manner. You need to make a list of the supplies you will be needing. Some of the packaging materials you may need are:

  • Bubble wrap. For art packaging, Bubble wrap is essential. It can be used to wrap the whole part for the prevention of scratches and dentures and for vacuum filling to reduce the movement within the box. However be aware that artworks of some kinds cannot be wrapped in bubble wraps directly because they can harm the surface.
  • Cardboard boxes or crates. Only use durable corrugated cases with a double wall which are slightly larger than the artwork you have to ship. In custom-designed boxes, large paintings and sculptures should be conveyed. It’s the only way of keeping them safe while in transit. Check with the art moving company to find the optimal way for your most important items in packaging and crating services. Crates, for example, when properly designed, it can stop moisture, low vibration, high impact shocks and waste contamination.
  • Packaging tape of high-quality. Don’t try to save on the tape or it could lead to a catastrophe. You only need high-quality tape that will stick well and hold the box tightly throughout the journey. After all, before your art reaches its destination, you do not want the packaging to worsen.
  • Markings or shipping labels. Although shipping labels cannot prevent damage (e.g. Fragile, Do not Stack, Top Load Only, etc) they can draw the attention of art movers to box content and show which boxes are to be handled with maximum care.
Source: Medium

When it comes to preparing for art items that are flat such as photographs or paintings that aren’t framed, there will be additional steps to take in order to safely move them.

First, you want to remove paper clips, plugs or objects which could be damaging. You must place between each piece of work you are packaging to move a layer of glass or archival tissue. You also want a sheet in your final stack at the top and at the bottom. Then, wrap the images in a plastic bag and reduce the risk of exposure to moisture. Your best option for this is using plastic archiving. Then, before sealing, remove any excess air from the wrapped pile.

By placing the package wraps in the center of a masonite safety board, you can preserve this fine art. Type it at all four corners to prevent movement and shipment shifts. Use a second Masonite to create a “sandwich” artwork with the articles.

Source: The Spruce

Packing framed art

If your art has a glass screen, use tape to create a large X all across the glass side till the glass edge, in order to prevent your glass from shattering and damaging your art, in case of it breaking in transit.

Use a piece of cardboard packaging, cut to cover the glass in the same size as the frame. Wrap the whole thing into bubble wrap safely. It’s a good time to get wild so you don’t leave exposed corners! Only tape the wrap itself — not the artwork or framework.

Gently place the art in the package, leaving enough padding on all sides. Check for any big gaps where items could shift and migrate during transportation. Label your packet “FRAGILE” on all sides and in clear writing to ensure that your movers are aware that they are transporting art and will manage it with care.

Source: Medium

Handling the move of your art pieces

If you are unsure whether you can handle certain artworks, request professional assistance and advice. The key to stress-free packing and relocation of your items is good preparation. But if you have a lot of these items and do not have a suitable vehicle, having a moving company to handle your move is your safest bet.

If your artwork is particularly valuable, inquire with your moving company about extra coverage. The best move is to leave the movers who have experience with art to do it quickly and efficiently for you in order to relocate your work in safety.

Even if you are hiring art professionals to move your item, always make sure your latest evaluation is the highest retail price. This practice helps to get the entire value of the item when something unexpected happens during movement or shipping.

Each box should have a clear label, which speaks to what it holds directly. Umbrellas show the item should remain dry while a broken glass of wine says it is vulnerable. You want a “face” on the outside to indicate the placement of the artwork inside the package. To ensure accurate examination is carried out upon arrival, you should complete a report on the condition of the artwork before moving the item including previous damage photographs or paintings.

Moving fine art can be a difficult task but if you follow all the necessary steps to packing it safely and work with the right commercial moving team, moving your gallery or just relocating art pieces will surely be a piece of cake!