How to Pack Paintings

    Packing to ship or move anything is risky, but paintings come with their own hazards. If they are framed with glass, you want to make sure that glass does not break and if they are simple canvas pieces, you want to make sure the painting is not torn or pierced. Whether you are moving them or shipping them, paintings require extra care during the packing process. Pack paintings by collecting boxes that will fit them comfortably and securely and using bubble wrap, newspapers and other packing materials to ensure they are protected during transit.

   Take your paintings off the wall and place them on a flat, stable surface. Make an "X" across the front of the paintings with masking tape if they are framed with glass. This will protect the paintings and keep the glass in place in case it breaks or cracks when the paintings are moved. Cover the glass or top of the painting with a piece of heavy cardboard. This could be part of a box that you are not using. The cardboard should be large enough to cover the glass, but not bigger than the entire painting. 

   Use mat board, foam or even loose carpet padding if you do not have any cardboard. The purpose is to reduce the amount of static cling that can develop between the bubble wrap and the painting. Wrap the paintings in a thick layer of bubble wrap. Depending on the shape of the paintings, you can wrap horizontally or vertically, or both, whichever keeps the paintings more secure. Secure the edges of the bubble wrap with masking tape, at the back of the paintings. The paintings should feel tightly wrapped and secure once you are done.

   Look for boxes that are appropriately sized for your paintings. Most moving and shipping companies sell mirror and art boxes. Get boxes that are a bit larger than the paintings you will be packing. You will need to factor in the room that bubble wrap and other packing materials might take. Place paintings one at a time inside the boxes. If there is extra space inside the box, stuff newspaper, rags or other filling into the box so the painting has little room to move. Gently move the box back and forth to see if the painting can move. If it can, fill the box with more packing material.

   Close the boxes and use packing tape to seal up all the edges. Write "Fragile" with thick black marker on the side of the box so the people moving it will know that something breakable and valuable is inside. Use a telescopic box if your painting is too large for the average sized boxes that you get from shipping supply stores or other retailers. This type of box is actually 2 boxes that fit inside each other. They work well for paintings that are larger than 30 inches by 36 inches (76 cm by 91 cm). Fill the spaces between the telescope boxes with wadded newspaper, bubble wrap or other packing materials.

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