How to Pack Artwork for Moving- Just Like a Pro

Planning to move out but are terrified that your precious artwork could get damaged in the process since you have never done this before? Well, it is perfectly okay to feel this way. After all, art pieces tend to be very delicate and can easily break if not handled with care.

But while you could hire a professional art moving company to help you, sometimes you don’t have this option. So, in this case, learning how to pack artwork for moving would be an excellent idea if you don’t want to risk a shattered glass frame or a tear in your canvas paintings.

And to help you, we’ve put together an easy guide to packing both framed paintings and canvas prints for moving.

List Of Equipment & Materials Required For Moving Art Pieces

To properly pack your artwork for moving, you will need to have the right supplies, which may vary depending on the type of paintings you have. These include:

  • Multiple sized boxes
  • Bubble wrapper
  • Packing tape
  • Masking/ artist tape
  • Glassine or wax paper
  • Pieces of cardboard
  • Brown packing paper
  • Permanent markers
  • Scissors

How To Pack Artwork For Moving

artwork packing for change room

How do you pack your art once you already have the right equipment and materials? The truth is that there is no standard procedure for this because different types of art require different packing methods. So, read on for step-by-step instructions on how to pack various artwork for moving.

Method 1: How to Pack Canvas Prints and Paintings

Step 1: Choose a Flat Surface for Packing

You can’t just lay your artwork anywhere and start packing. So, you will need to find a flat surface such as a big table or the floor. A clean table will do if your paintings are small in size. But for larger pieces, you may have to use the floor.

Step 2: Use a Sheet of Glassine to Cover the Table or Floor

Lay your glassine paper on the floor and cut different sheets depending on how many canvas paintings you’ve got. The size of the sheets should be big enough (about double the width of the painting) to cover one side of your art pieces, including the edges and back frame. Therefore, you must use a tape measure to know the right glassine paper size to cut.

Step 3: Lay the Paintings Facing Down on the Glassine Paper

Once you have set the glassine paper on the table or floor, pick up one of your pictures and place it on the paper while it’s facing down. Then, pull up your glassine on top of your art’s rear frame and secure it using masking tape. And, of course, you must ensure the edges are covered completely with the glassine.

Step 4: Wrap the Prints With a Bubble Sheet/ Wrapper

Move your paintings aside and lay the bubble sheet on the floor. The sheet needs to be big enough to cover your artwork completely without exposing any parts.

Next, lay the side of your piece of art down against the bubble sheet. After that, wrap your painting with multiple layers of bubble wrap and then tape the wrap all the way around to ensure it stays in place. 

Step 5: Pack Into a Box

Before packing your paintings inside the box, place some sheets of bubble wrapper on the bottom and then put your pictures. And to protect the work from shifting during transit, you should add more bubble sheets on the sides and top until there are no gaps.

On the other hand, if you will be packing more than one painting together, you can use thin cardboard to separate them.

Step 6: Close Up and Seal the Box

Once that is done, close the box up and seal it using masking tape. Make sure to tape all four sides of the box tightly for extra protection. You may also mark the box as “fragile items” so that the movers will know how to handle them with extra care.

Method 2: How to Pack 3d Art

Step 1: Cover the Items With a Bubble Wrapper

For large three-dimensional items, wrap them with as many layers of bubble sheet as possible. Start with the top part and then the bottom. Once done with the wrapping, use your masking tape to fasten the bubble sheet to the art.

However, if your 3D art is small in size, you don’t need to wrap them with a bubble sheet. You pack them in a plastic bag.

Step 2: Fill Your Packing Box With Padding Materials

Get a packing box that is neither too large nor too small compared to the size of your art. But for sculptures, you can use a cardboard shipping box. Next, stuff the bottom of your box with thin materials like shredded newspaper or foam.

Step 3: Place Your Art Inside the Stuffed Box

Once you are done stuffing your packing box with protective materials, you should put your art inside. And if you notice there are gaps left between the box and your sculpture, you can add more cushioning materials.

Step 4: Close and Tape the Box

Lastly, close up your box and use masking tape to seal all four sides completely. But for heavier artworks, you can tape the box from top to bottom with additional tape.

Method 3: How to Wrap Framed Art Pieces

Step 1: Secure the Glass Frame

If the frame of your artwork has a glass covering, you need to secure it using masking tape. The best way to do it is to tape the glass frame across to form an X sign. And for added protection, you could add more strips of tape horizontally and vertically to create a plus sign.

Step 2: Enclose Your Art Piece on a Brown Paper

Get brown paper and lay it flat on the table or floor. Then, place your framed artwork on the paper facing down. Next, wrap the edges of your brown paper around your art piece and tape the paper to ensure it stays in place.

You may also go the extra mile and use cardboard corners to protect the corners of your artwork frames if it’s unique or valuable. 

Step 3: Add Cardboard

You should place a sheet of cardboard on top of your artwork’s glass frame for added security. And, of course, you must ensure that the cardboard is the same size as your framed art piece.

Step 4: Cover Your Item in a Bubble Sheet

Next, take your artwork and wrap it securely in a bubble wrapper. And using masking tape, seal the ends of the bubble sheet together. Be sure to cover the item with several layers of bubble sheets for maximum protection.

Step 5: Box the Wrapped Artwork

Find a packing box that is close to the size of your art piece and slip it inside. Then, fill the sides of the box and its top with bubble sheets to prevent the artwork from shifting around during transportation. 

Step 6: Seal and Label the Package

Once you are done stuffing the empty spaces with bubble sheets, close the box and seal all the sides with packing tape. You must also label the box as fragile.

Best Practices to Pack Artwork for Moving

practices for pack artwork

Packing any artwork for moving has its own unique set of challenges. But if you follow these best practices and tips for packing art pieces, you can avoid getting your artwork damaged.  

1. Use Appropriately Sized Boxes

If you have paintings in various shapes and sizes, you must choose the right moving boxes for each. You may use a wooden crate to pack big and heavy pieces or a packing box for small and medium-sized items.

And when it comes to framed art pieces, you can pack them in a flat picture box. Just make sure it is not too small or too big for your art.

2. Wrap Your Artwork Securely

Before packing your canvas paintings or any other artwork inside the box, you should wrap the items separately. Because if not, your art will be susceptible to damage and even scratches. Depending on what is available, you can either use a plastic wrap or bubble wrapper. And when wrapping, don’t be too mean; instead, use as many layers of bubble wrapper as you can for maximum protection.

3. Make Good Use of Cardboard Edge Protectors

If you are packing framed art pieces, you should use cardboard protectors for extra protection against abrasion and sharp impacts. All you’ve got to do is attach the protectors to all the corners of your glass framed painting.

4. Always Seal and Label the Boxes

Once you have put your artwork inside the box, you will need to seal it properly using packing or masking tape. Be sure to tape all four sides, and for heavier paintings, you can add more tape around the box from top to bottom. And more importantly, don’t forget to label each box clearly on both sides so that anyone handling the boxes, including professional movers, knows it is a fragile package.

5. Sculptures Require Extra Care During Packing and Moving

Interestingly, sculptures are more delicate than most artwork, which is why they need extra care during packing. They are also very cumbersome and bulky. Therefore, when moving, you should wrap them with a cling film or a palette wrap and then use multiple layers of bubble sheets for additional protection.

6. Protecting Framed Art Pieces

Similar to sculptures, framed art pieces are also relatively delicate, especially for paintings with glass frames. Therefore, when packaging this artwork, you have to put at least two strips of artist or masking tape over the glass. This is designed to help protect the glass from shattering. And after taping, you must wrap the painting in brown paper and add cardboard protectors around the edges of the frame.  

7. Stuffing the Packing Box

This is yet another critical thing you should never forget when packing artwork for moving. Stuffing helps keep your art pieces secure inside the box by preventing them from shifting during transit. Generally, the most common material used for staffing is bubble wrapper. However, you could also use packing paper or linen.

Things to Avoid When Packing a Picture

packing artwork avoid some things

Accidents might easily happen when packing art pieces for moving if you are not extremely cautious. But if you know what things to avoid, you can prevent most mishaps from happening in the first place. Some of these things include:

Packing Multiple Canvas Paintings Together

It’s only normal for you to pack your canvas paintings together to save on time and the number of boxes you might need to use. However, it’s not a good idea as they could scratch against each other.

Packing the Pictures From Just Anywhere

While packing your artwork, don’t just place the pieces anywhere in your house. Make sure to pack them on a clean, smooth, and flat surface, such as on the floor or the table.

Putting Other Items on Your Canvas Boxes

When it’s time to load your artwork boxes into the moving truck, you must never lay other items on top of the paintings. But instead, put them in a secure spot on the truck.

Laying the Artwork Boxes Flat

When loading the boxes with your painting into the truck, don’t lay them flat but rather on their edges and in a place where they cannot fall. You can also place them between heavy items that are not likely to shift as the truck moves.


Artwork can be really demanding to pack when moving. Of course, this is because it requires more extra care than other valuable possessions in your home. And if you don’t know the right way to pack, what equipment you need, or what things to avoid when packing, your paintings could suffer from permanent stains or visible scratches.

Hopefully, with the help of this how to pack artwork for moving guide, you will be able to transport your paintings, sculptures, and other artwork safely and with as little hassle as possible.

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