Doing It Like A Removals Company: A Guide on Moving Paintings and Other Art For Moving

When you’re moving house with paintings and other precious art pieces in tow, it is almost always ideal for you to hire a professional house removal company or an art moving specialist for the job. However, because moving is quite a costly endeavour, most people opt to conduct full house removal jobs by themselves instead.

If you are moving house and are planning on moving paintings and other art pieces yourself, you’ve come to the right place! To help you make your DIY move as quick and painless as possible, we’ve gathered a few tips from several professional movers, which you will find useful throughout the moving process!

What Would A Removals Company Do?

Before we share some tips from a professional mover, you must understand what a removal company is, and what exactly it can do to help make the task of moving paintings and other art pieces a success. 

A removals company provides relocation services for those looking to move house or offices. Usually made up of a team of at least three people, they specialise in moving bulky furniture, heavy boxes, and speciality items like pianos, antiques, and of course, paintings and other art pieces. 

They will make sure that your belongings, especially valuable and fragile ones, would remain taken care of during the move. With the insurance they provide and their skills, experience, and possession of the necessary tools, you may rest assured knowing that your art collection, along with the rest of your belongings, is safe and secure. 

Most companies also offer extra moving services such as packing materials acquisition, furniture dismantling and assembly, packing and unpacking, and removals storage. That means you can trust them to handle your stuff, even the most fragile ones, throughout your moving process!

DIY Packing Guide For Paintings and Other Art Pieces

Now that you’re aware of what a removals company does, here are some tips to help you pack and move your art collection the way a removals company would. To begin, here are some packing materials you will want to have ready:

  • Cardboard boxes or picture boxes (a specialised type of cardboard box made for paintings and picture frames)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packaging tape, painter’s tape, masking tape
  • Markers
  • Glassine paper
  • Packing tube/shipping tube/mailing tube
  • Cardboard corner protectors

Part 1: Packing Paintings and Photos

  1. If your painting is framed, begin with cleaning the surface of your artwork. Using some masking tape, make an “X” across the glass surface of the frame. This will prevent the glass from moving around too much in the event that it does get broken. Put cardboard corner protectors on the corners of the frame. (Note: Skip Step 1 if your painting or photo is not framed)
  2. Wrap your framed painting with packing paper, glassine wrap, or bubble wrap for extra protection. If your painting is not framed, wrap it with packing paper or glassine wrap to make sure it doesn’t suffer friction damage during transit.
  3. Pad the bottom of the cardboard box with newsprint or wrapping paper for extra padding. Seal the bottom of the box with packaging tape. 
  4. Put the artwork in the box. Once it is in place, slightly shake the box to test if the painting is still moving. If it is, you will want to fill the sides with wadded newsprint as well. 
  5. Once you are sure that your painting is completely secured and immobile, you may seal the box with tape.
  6. Label the box with “FRAGILE” and “ARTWORK” to make sure whoever carries it will know to take care of it.

Part 2: Packing Photos and Posters

For other unframed artwork like posters and photos, you may consider rolling them up and stuffing them into a packing tube. This will not only save you a lot of space but also ensure you of your item’s safety while in transit. 

Note: Do not roll up paintings, limited edition prints, commissioned art, and vintage copies. Only do this for reprints and commonly printed posters and photos.

Part 3: Packing Sculptures, Antiques, and Other Oddly-Shaped Artwork

  1. Wrap your artwork in plastic wrap to protect its finish from friction damage. 
  2. Identify the vulnerable pieces of the artwork (i.e., the head of a swan, the hand of a glass figure, etc.) and reinforce these areas with bubble wrap.
  3. Cover the entire piece with bubble wrap until you have made a sphere around your artwork. 
  4. Put the artwork in the box. Once it is in place, slightly shake the box to test if the sculpture is still mobile. If it is, fill the sides with wadded newsprint as well. 
  5. Once you are sure that your sculpture is immobile and completely secured, seal the box with tape.
  6. Label the box with “FRAGILE” to make sure that whoever carries it will know to take care of it.
  7. For larger pieces, you may consider using a wooden crate to provide additional protection to the artwork.

Tips For Moving With Paintings and Other Art Pieces Yourself

Purchase moving insurance, especially for expensive art pieces. While keeping your precious pieces of art safe is easy in theory, there are many unforeseen circumstances you may encounter in real life. So, make sure to have insurance for your items. Read about insuring your artwork here.

  1. DO NOT stack other objects on top of your art pieces. You will also want to avoid stacking your art pieces on top of each other. 
  2. Put all your art pieces into the moving vehicle VERTICALLY to prevent any kind of damages.
  3. Always make sure you have an appropriately-sized vehicle for your items. A moving van too big or too small may cause costly damage to your items. 

If you are in doubt about moving your such precious pieces yourself, do not hesitate to call a removals company in your area instead.