How to Pack Pictures and Art for Moving

If you appreciate good art, chances are high that you have a few hanging on your living room wall. But what if you’re planning to change the living room? In other words, what if you’re moving? 

We've all been there, staring at our beautiful pictures and valuable art, wondering how on earth we're going to get them from point A to point B without a scratch. It's a concern that hits close to home for many of us, especially when those items hold sentimental value or are irreplaceable. 

You might feel a mix of excitement for the new beginning and worry about the safety of your cherished belongings. That's where we come in.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to pack your pictures and art with the care and precision they deserve. We'll show you how to prepare, protect, and pack your items so that they arrive in the same condition they left. From gathering the right materials to labeling and loading, you'll learn everything you need to move your art safely. 

Preparing for Packing Pictures and Art for Moving

When you’re on an adventure about how to pack pictures for moving, it’s not about keeping them intact. More often than not, if you’re thinking about taking them with you, you have sentimental value attached to them! 

Think of each piece as not merely an object, but a story, a moment in time, or a financial asset. Without the right preparation, you risk damaging these stories and assets during the move. 

That’s why it’s crucial to start with a plan and the correct materials. It means you’re setting up a defense against bumps, drops, and scratches that can happen during the transit. 

Moreover, preparation gives you peace of mind. When you know that each piece is wrapped and boxed securely, it allows you to focus on the other aspects of moving. 

Packing Techniques by Type of Artwork

When you're learning how to pack art for moving, ensuring the safety of it should be a top priority. Whether it's a cherished painting, a frame filled with memories, or a unique sculpture, each requires a specific packing technique. 

Let’s look at some of these techniques that will work for different types of artwork. Of course, these techniques are shared by moving experts who have done this in real life. 

Framed Artwork and Pictures

Obviously, how to pack framed art for moving is the first thing you should learn. Most of us have them in our bedrooms, living rooms, or even on the patio area! 

Choosing the right boxes is perhaps the most important thing for framed pictures and artwork. Ideally, you should go for mirror boxes or artwork boxes for most paintings and prints. As for how to pack large pictures for moving, consider using a wooden crate for additional support and protection.

If you can’t get your hands on mirror boxes or dedicated artwork boxes, you can always use flat picture boxes. They do the job perfectly and keep framed pieces secure. You should opt for a box slightly larger than your art and use padding to fill any gaps. This is to make sure that the artwork or picture doesn't move during transport.

Unframed Artwork and Canvases

Well, this one is a bit tricky. If your artwork isn't behind glass, it’s more prone to damage during transport. Ironically, these artworks also tend to be more expensive. You should wrap it in several layers of plastic to guard against scratches and dust. 

Another great tip would be to use bubble wrap. They provide an extra layer of safety in case the truck bounces around on a pothole.


When it comes to learning how to pack fine art for moving, sculptures are a whole different ball game. They demand careful packing due to their varied shapes and delicate parts. Needless to say, even the cheapest sculpture is somewhat expensive. 

You should always start by wrapping the sculpture in cling wrap, paying close attention to any protrusions or fragile areas. Then, wrap the entire piece in bubble wrap all the way around. This is to make sure that it’s protected from all angles. Don’t shy away from using a little more bubble wrap than necessary for sculptures. 

General Packing Tips for Packing Pictures and Arts for Moving

When you're planning to move your pictures and art, keeping a few things in mind can make a big difference. 

For example, you should always start with a clean workspace to avoid any accidental stains or damage. It’s especially true for white, black, or any solid-colored surface that will make the stain prominent. 

At the same time, you should use white packing paper as the first layer of protection because colored materials might bleed onto your artwork if the weather is too hot or moist.

We can’t emphasize the importance of investing in quality packing materials. Skimping on materials can lead to damage, which is something you don’t want, of course. 

So, make sure you have plenty of bubble wrap, packing paper, and strong packing tape handy. When wrapping your art, the goal is to create a buffer zone around each piece to protect it from shocks and pressure during transit.

Also, we can’t overstate labeling. Besides marking boxes as "Fragile," list the contents and the room they belong in. This will make the unpacking and installation much easier. You’ll have an easier time tracking your items and assisting movers in handling your belongings with the necessary care.

Lastly, consider the climate if you're moving long distances or storing items. Extremes of heat, cold, or humidity can affect different materials. If necessary and you can afford it, consider using climate-controlled transportation or storage to protect sensitive artworks.

Packing Techniques by Item Type

Now that you have a general idea of how to pack for moving apartment or house, we can now get into the specifics. Although we’ve covered certain techniques for different artwork types, let’s get into even more details. 

Pictures and Picture Frames

To pack pictures, picture frames, or any framed artwork safely, you need to follow a few tips. Let’s start with placing painter's tape across the glass in an X pattern to keep glass pieces in place, in case it breaks in an unfortunate scenario. 

Once the painter’s tape is on, wrap the frame first in packing paper to protect against scratches. Then, use the bubble wrap for added cushioning against impacts. You should also secure the bubble wrap with tape. 

Last but not least, you can use picture moving boxes for optimal fit and protection. You can also fill any extra space with crumpled packing paper to prevent movement. Once everything’s in there, seal the box with strong tape, and label it clearly with "Fragile" and "This Side Up". 

This will help the movers to carefully handle the pieces and in the correct orientation during the move. 

Artwork and Paintings

Artwork and paintings are somewhat different from pictures. They’re inherently more expensive and sometimes carry family history. When packing artwork and paintings without frames, you should wrap them in acid-free paper to prevent any chemical damage to the surface. 

Follow this up with a layer of bubble wrap for protection against shocks and pressure. If the painting is large, consider creating a padded sandwich with two pieces of cardboard on each side for extra stability.

Lastly, secure this setup with tape but never put it directly into the artwork. You’re choosing a flat, appropriately sized box to avoid bending or folding the artwork and fill any gaps with soft materials to prevent shifting. 

Large Items

When you learn how to pack large pictures for moving, you should consider disassembling them first, if possible. Then, you should also wrap each component separately in bubble wrap for more protection. 

If the frame is too big, use moving blankets or furniture pads for larger parts to shield against scratches and dents. Then, secure the padding with packing tape. The boxes should always be large enough to accommodate the item without forcing it in. 

Fill any empty spaces with packing peanuts or crumpled paper to prevent movement. Label the package clearly with "Fragile" and "Heavy," and indicate which side should face up.

Specialty Items

For specialty items like musical instruments or electronics, wrap them in anti-static bubble wrap to prevent electrical damage. Use hard cases for instruments if available, filling gaps with foam or soft fabric to immobilize them. Electronics should be packed in their original boxes when possible, supplemented with anti-static foam peanuts for additional protection. Label these boxes clearly with the contents and a "Fragile" warning, and consider adding "Do Not Stack" to prevent pressure damage. Each specialty item requires individual attention based on its unique vulnerabilities during the move.

Unpacking and Installation in the New Home

After moving, the next step is unpacking and reinstalling your artwork where you moved. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new apartment or a house, the concept remains the same. 

Of course, unpacking requires patience and planning from your end. Begin by carefully removing each piece from its box and be sure to handle it by the frame or edges to avoid touching the surface. 

Before installing, you should inspect each item for damage before proceeding. Ideally, you should decide where each of your artwork goes beforehand. You can take things like lighting and layout to showcase each piece effectively. 

When installing, use proper hanging tools like wall anchors for heavy items to secure them safely. Take this opportunity to clean frames and glass covers before hanging them. 

Finally, step back to enjoy your newly installed artwork that should transform your new space into a familiar and welcoming environment.


So, now you know how to pack for moving your cherished artwork and pictures safely. It’s all about how you prepare and adopt the right techniques. 

While the tips we shared here should equip you with the knowledge to do it yourself, there's undeniable value in hiring professionals. Experienced movers bring expertise in handling and transporting artwork. They can make the difference between artwork that arrives in perfect condition and pieces that endure the stress of moving. 

If you’re not sure which ones to go for, just visit our website and look through our reviews of professional movers.

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