How to pack paintings for moving

Packing GuideMay 11, 2020

The artwork is not just valuable. It is an emotion given physical form. An old photo is a fond memory of times long gone. A painting you made when you first picked up the brush is a testimony to your artistic progress. That old frame you bought years ago might be a tender reminder of the warmth of your childhood home. Now that you’re moving, you’d certainly want to bring all those memories with you. And, needless to say, you want them to get to your new home without a scratch. That’s why our long distance movers Columbus Ohio created this guide. To help you pack paintings for moving in the best and safest way possible.

Tools of the trade

Let us start with the list of tools you will need for this project:

  • Measuring tape (Tape measure) – You will need it to check the size of your paintings, and find the fitting box.
  • Hand-held tape dispenser (Tape gun) – It’s not essential, but will make your job of securing paintings much faster and easier.
  • Scissors (or an X-acto knife) – Necessary for cutting bubble wrap and wrapping paper or packing tape, if you don’t have a tape gun handy.
  • Nitrile gloves (or art handling cloth gloves) – Not necessary, but adds another layer of protection when handling your precious paintings. If you opt not to use them, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before you start packing artwork.
  • Marker – Once you’re done packing, you will need to label the boxes.

    Scissors, x-acto knife and packing tape - packing paintings for moving
    Having the right tools and supplies will make your job easier.

On to the supplies

The artwork is delicate and easily damaged when packed inappropriately. Therefore, you should only use quality packing supplies when you pack paintings for moving. Yes, you will spend a bit more on them, but your cherished memories are priceless. And finding quality packing supplies in Ohio is easy.

That said, let’s check the list of packing supplies you’ll need to secure your paintings:

  • Boxes – When choosing boxes, remember – not only paintings go in them. You will need enough room for padding also! Therefore, buy boxes that are at least a few inches wider than your paintings on all sides.
  • Packing tape – Quality packing tape is a must when securing the boxes and padding.
  • Artist tape – Artist tape is similar to masking tape but is acid-free, easily removable and doesn’t leave a sticky residue once removed.
  • Foam – If you want, you can also use a soft blanket.
  • Glassine – Glassine paper is highly recommended for packing paintings.
  • Brown paper – Also known as “kraft paper”. It’s highly durable and, therefore, ideal for wrapping breakables when moving.
  • Bubble wrap – The main mean of padding. You will have to wrap your paintings in it a few times, so make sure you get enough.
  • Cardboard corners – Necessary if your painting is framed.
  • Cardboard (optional) – used for separating paintings if you pack more than one in a single box. You can also use it to make cardboard corners if you don’t buy them or run out.

Of course, if you’re using packing services our movers Hilliard Ohio provides, you don’t have to worry about procuring any tools or materials. Only about pointing our expert packers in the direction of your paintings.

Let’s pack paintings for moving

The packing process might seem scary at first. Don’t worry, though – after you pack a few paintings you will get the hang of it.

1. Prep the surfaces

You will need enough space to place your paintings and tools. A large kitchen table would be ideal, but you can also do it on the floor. To start, clean the surface and spread foam or blanket. This will provide a soft surface you can place your paintings on, without the risk of damage.

Woman cleaning table
Clean the surface thoroughly before you place your paintings on them.

2. Make an X with tape across the glass surface

You can skip this step if your painting doesn’t have a glass cover.

Use artist tape to make an X shape across the glass surface. Start in the corner and go diagonally, ending in the opposite corner. For added protection, you can make a star (asterisk) pattern.

3. Wrap the painting

Spread a sheet of brown paper (if the painting is framed) or glassine (if it’s not framed) on the packing surface. Place the painting face down on the paper. Cut the excess, but leave enough to be able to fix it in place with artist tape.

4. Place cardboard corners

Skip this step if the painting isn’t framed.

Prevent damage to the painting and the frame by adding protective cardboard corners when packing. If you don’t have any, you can easily make them from excess cardboard.

5. Add protective padding

Place a sheet of bubble wrap on the surface of the table, so the flat side is facing up. Wrap the painting tightly at least 3 times. You can do more, just be mindful that the wrapped painting still needs to fit inside the box. Be sure to leave at least 2″ on top and bottom of the box, so you will be able to easily seal it with packing tape.

Scissors and packing tape resting atop the bubble wrap
Both bubble wrap and crumpled brown paper are excellent for padding!

6. Prepare the box

Create a cushioning layer at the bottom of the box. You can do this by using either excess brown paper or bubble wrap. Crumple the paper loosely and place it on the bottom of the box. Don’t overdo it, as you’ll have to repeat the process on top, once the painting is in the box.

7. Place wrapped painting(s) in the box

If you’re packing more than one painting in a single box, pack them so they are facing each other. Place a cardboard piece between them for extra protection.

8. Add protection

Once the painting is inside the box, add extra padding on all sides. Same as on the bottom, use crumpled brown paper or excess bubble wrap. Move the box around a bit to see if the painting is still moving. If it is, add some more padding. Repeat the process until the painting has no wiggle room.

9. Seal all sides

Close the box and use packing tape to seal all the sides. Reinforce the edges too if you deem it necessary.

10. Label the boxes

Use a thick marker to label the boxes. Write “Fragile”, “Artwork” or  “Handle with care” on all sides.

And that’s it! It might seem like a lot to take in, but these guidelines will have you pack paintings for moving like a pro in no time. The only thing left to do is move to your new home with your old memories neatly packed, and new ones ready to be made!

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