Tips for Packing and Moving Framed Artwork, Sculptures, and Antiques

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Packing Artwork and Antiques

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Packing all of your belongings for a move requires a lot of hard work. While there are several items that are particularly delicate and need special preparations, you artwork and antiques are likely to be at the top of this list. Whether you need to transport an original Picasso or a family portrait, here are some ways to pack your artwork and antiques and ensure their monetary or sentimental value.

Before you begin packing, you should create an inventory of your artwork and antiques. This will help you determine which items you can pack yourself and which should be handled by professionals, such as large, heavy, or extremely valuable pieces. If you have any high-value artwork, remember to get it appraised before the move and have them properly insured.
You will also need to have the right supplies for packing up your items.
  • For large paintings and mirrors, you should use special picture boxes. Unlike your typical moving boxes, cardboard picture boxes are large, flat, and adjustable, perfect for protecting framed artwork.
  • Corner protectors are very helpful as well. Made of cardboard, paper, bubble wrap, foam, or plastic, corner protectors will cushion your artwork when it is the box. They can also help avert damage to the corners of the frames and prevent the corners from causing damage to other goods.
  • When packing sculptures, you will need some of the standard packing supplies, like unprinted newspaper, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts.

Packing framed artwork

When packing a painting, mirror, or framed photograph you first need to put two strips of masking tape over the glass in an X shape. If the glass should break, the tape will keep it from shattering and scratching the underlying picture or from hurting you. Once the painting is taped up, put on the corner protectors and wrap the frame in bubble wrap and newsprint.

If the item isn't covered in glass, you need to take some extra precautions:
  • Since the plastic in bubble wrap might react with, or stick to, the paint, you should first cover the painting in unprinted newspaper. Be sure to use unprinted newsprint, as the ink from regular newspaper can also react with the paint.
  • After you wrap the item in newspaper, cover it with bubble wrap.
  • For extra protection, tape sheets of cardboard over the bubble wrap.
Once your item is properly protected, you can then pack it in appropriately sized picture boxes. Place some crumpled up pieces of unprinted newspaper at the bottom of the box. Then you can put the frame inside. If there is any extra room inside the box, you can always secure your artwork by putting in more newspaper. After closing the box and taping it shut, remember to label the box as "Fragile."

TIP: If you have a lot of smaller framed paintings or photos, simply follow the above guidelines for each piece. Then, place the items vertically in a small cardboard box.

Packing sculptures and antiques

To pack sculptures or antiques, you will first need to get boxes that are bigger than the items themselves. Make sure the box won't be too close-fitting, as each piece will have to be padded with bubble wrap or newspaper, adding to the item's size.

Once you have the right boxes, you can begin packing up. Wrap each piece with bubble wrap or newspaper, and seal the covering together with tape. Then, fill up about one-third of the box with packing peanuts. Place the item inside the box upright and fully cover the item with more peanuts. Once the piece is secure, tape the box shut. Of course, be sure to write the word "Fragile" on the box.

When moving, it is very important to package your artwork and antiques properly. Whether they are valuable pieces or inexpensive ones you picked up at a discount store, artwork is an integral part of any home. By following this guide, you can ensure your artwork and antiques will survive the move and be ready to be displayed in your new home.

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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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