Packing for a long-distance move takes careful planning and preparation. When most people approach
the task of packing, they think about the big items—like furniture, appliances, and electronics. But what
about artwork? Your decorative wall hangings and art pieces must be packed carefully to ensure they’re
not damaged during your long-distance move. Whether you decide to pack your artwork yourself or hire
professional packers from Burly Boyz Moving & Storage, this guide will help make sure your artwork
arrives safely at your new location.
Types of Artwork
Different types of artwork have specific packing requirements. From framed and unframed artwork to
decorative sculptures, here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of artwork:
- Fine Art: Any pieces of art that you invested in due to their recognized aesthetic, intellectual,
and creative properties are considered fine art. Fine art pieces require additional care and
attention and should only be packed and transported by movers specializing in fine art.
Typically, fine art is wrapped in acid-free paper and moved in stiff wooden crates with straw or
shredded brown paper inside.
- Framed Paintings and Prints: Most of the art in an average home is considered “decorative art”
and usually consists of reproduction paintings and prints. This type of artwork is often framed
and protected by a thin panel of glass. Reinforcing the glass and packing it in a padded box is the
ideal way to transport framed artwork. Framed mirrors should be packed the same way.
- Unframed Paintings and Prints: Some decorative wall art isn’t framed—such as wrapped
canvas, wood or laminated board. The lack of glass and a frame make this type of artwork the
easiest to pack. Wrapping each piece in brown paper and bubble wrap protects the surface
during your long-haul move.
- Sculptures and Décor: This artwork category includes any décor, sculptures, and collectibles
that aren’t considered fine art. Decorative sculptures and décor pack well when wrapped in
bubble wrap and brown paper and placed in a box with crumpled newspaper or packing peanuts
between items to prevent shifting during transport.
Packing Tools and Supplies
To help simplify the task of packing your belonging for a long-distance move, have these items on hand:
- Cardboard boxes in different sizes
- Masking tape
- Packing tape
- Felt Pens
- Packing peanuts
- Brown paper
- Bubble wrap
Buy Boxes to Match Artwork Size
Choosing the correct size box for your artwork is essential because the less room there is around the
piece, the less likely it is to shift and get damaged during your long-haul move. At Burly Boyz Moving &
Storage, we offer moving boxes in various sizes, including our Mirror/Picture Box—available in small,
medium, and large. If you can’t find a box to match your artwork, you can use a cardboard box cutter to
modify a larger box to fit—using packing tape to reinforce the edges. For sculptures and décor items,
use a large enough box to fit plenty of newspaper or packing pieces between items—or pack them in
separate moving boxes for added protection.
How to Pack Framed Artwork Step-By-Step
Whether you hire a professional packing service like Burly Boyz Moving & Storage or tackle the task
yourself, each piece of artwork should be handled with care. The most common type of artwork, by far,
is framed paintings and prints. Here’s our step-by-step guide to help get you ready for moving day!
1. Protect the artwork surface:
A few layers of plastic wrap can go a long way to protecting your
artwork. Remove the back of your frame and lift out the artwork, leaving the glass in place at
the bottom. Wrap the picture in 2 or 3 layers of plastic wrap and place it back in the frame.
Place the rear piece back on.
2. Protect the glass:
To help make sure your artwork’s glass doesn’t crack or shatter during your
move, it’s essential to protect the glass. Use masking tape to tape the glass in an “X” from
corner to corner. This helps to reinforce the glass. Measure the inside edges of your frame and
cut a piece of cardboard to fit. You may need to cut two pieces if your frame is thick. Place the
piece of cardboard against the glass.
3. Protect the frame:
The corners can become scuffed and damaged if your frame isn’t properly
packed. Use foam or cardboard “corner protectors” on each corner of your picture to give your
frame added padding during your long-distance move.
4. Wrap it up:
Use brown packing paper to wrap your picture like a present. Use at least one layer
and secure it with packing tape. Wrap it again with a layer of bubble wrap and tape the edges.
It’s now ready for boxing!
5. Measure your picture:
Before finding the perfect box for your artwork, you need to know what
size to look for. Once wrapped in packing material, your artwork should fit snugly in the box.
Allow for half an inch of space on each side.
6. Find a box to match:
Mirror/Picture Boxes are ideal for moving artwork because they fit closely
around the frame and prevent shifting during long-distance transport. Framed artwork should
be packed separately, with each item wrapped and boxed individually.
7. Shake it up:
Before you tape up the box, give it a gentle shake to make sure you have enough
packing material in the box. If you’re using a much larger box than your picture, make sure to
add crumpled brown paper to the open spaces around the artwork.
8. Tape it up:
Once your wrapped picture is in the box, close it and secure all edges with packing
9. Mark contents and “FRAGILE”:
To make unpacking easier, label each box with a short
description of what’s inside. Writing “FRAGILE” on the box will also let your professional movers
know that the items inside are delicate.
10. Load into moving truck:
Since glass is fragile and can break during long-haul moves, it’s
important not to stack your boxes of artwork. To move your pictures safely, place the boxes on
their edge vertically and stack them beside each other. As an added cushion, place padded
blankets between each box. Secure the boxes with a cargo strap— tight enough to keep them
from moving, but not so tight that your boxes are crushed.
Appraisal and Insurance
To protect the value of your artwork, consider getting it appraised and insured against loss, theft, and
damage. This is particularly important for your fine art pieces. Many people don’t have an accurate
estimate of the current market value of their collection, so it’s a good idea to get an appraisal. If an
insurance claim needs to be made, an accurate appraisal will help ensure you get their total value
reimbursed. Most moving companies offer comprehensive insurance to cover your move—but you may
also need secondary insurance for individual high-value items.
Hire Trusted Movers
It’s a big job to pack your belongings and prepare for moving day. An essential part of moving is making
sure that your artwork, décor, and collectibles are packed and transported safely. At Burly Boyz Moving
& Storage, our expert packers ensure that your items are carefully wrapped, packed, boxed, and loaded.
Our long-distance moving company will transport your items to your new location or to one of our
secure storage facilities. Your belongings, including your artwork, can also be covered under our
property and cargo protection plan. Contact us today for your free quote!