How to Move Pictures and Artwork

Need to move some pricy art?

Paintings and artwork can be worth more than a car.  However, they are as fragile as they are valuable.

Painting are prone to ripping and creasing, and sculptures can chip or crack under strain.  And one little blemish can drop a piece’s value tremendously, along with its aesthetic value.  Here’s how to keep your Rembrandt safe on moving day:

Framed Pictures and Artwork

If your artwork is in a frame, you are ahead of the game.  Use bubble wrap or other cushioned packaging to wrap the entire frame, from top to bottom, and then tape the cushioning tightly in place.

Afterward, place the frame in a box, again taping it in place and adding cushioning so that it does not move around in the box.  Then tape the box shut.

If the painting is too large for a normal moving box, try breaking down some boxes to make a makeshift box.  What is most important is that there is sturdy cardboard covering the entire frame; the cardboard need not be in the form of a single box.

Unframed Pictures and Artwork

If your artwork in not in a frame, you’ll have to take more steps to adequately protect it.

  1. Cover the artwork in a material that will not remove colors or scratch the paint.
  2. Place a piece of cardboard under and on top of it and tape it into place by taping over pieces of paper placed on the corners of the artwork.
  3. If you want to further protect your artwork, you can double layer the cardboard, or place it into a larger box with cushioning.
  4. Then complete the process for framed artwork (above).

In the Moving Truck

The trailer of a moving truck is a dangerous place for artwork to be.  Things move around, fall, and grind against each other on hard turns and short stops.

When it’s time to transport a painting or other artwork, make sure that you place it in an area where it will not be smashed by moving furniture, such as on top of large furniture or even in the cab of the truck.  Also, cover it with a blanket or some type of cushioning just in case.


Place your sculpture in a blanket and wrap bubble wrap around the blanket, taping it in place.  Then don’t just place the sculpture into the moving van.  Rather, keep it in the cab of the truck or in a car, if possible.  If that’s not possible, make a stand for the sculpture and fasten it to the stand.  A long, wide piece of wood will work well as a stand, and rope can be used to fasten the sculpture in place.

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