How to Pack Oil Paintings for Moving

Packing anything for moving or shipment is always a risky act. If you have to pack a painting, then there are even more hazards involved. If the painting is inside a glass frame, you want to make sure to avoid cracks. If it is a simple canvas painting, you want to be careful not to tear it in the packing process. So, how should we pack oil paintings for moving? While there are several packing techniques you can use, here are some steps that will make the ordeal easy for you.

Items Needed

  • Boxes that will comfortably fit and secure the paintings
  • Bubble wrap for securing against tears and cracks
  • Newspapers and additional packing materials to protect the paintings during transit

Now follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Remove your painting off the wall carefully and place it on a stable and flat surface.
  2. If your painting is enclosed in a glass frame, use masking tape and make an X across the frame. This will help keep the glass frame in place and prevent it from sustaining any cracks and breaks when the paintings are removed.
  3. You must use heavy cardboard to cover the top of the painting or the glass. You could also use a cut out of a cardboard box not in use to put it over your painting. The size of the cardboard cutout must be large enough to cover the entire painting area but not bigger than the painting itself.

In case you do not have a cardboard box to use for covering the painting, you may use a piece of foam, mat board, or even some loose carpet padding. The main purpose here is to decrease the static cling amount between the painting and the bubble wrap.

  • Use thick layers of bubble wrap to wrap your paintings in. The shape of your painting determines if you are going to wrap it vertically or horizontally. Sometimes you can even do it both ways even if the painting allows for better protection.

Once you have sufficiently wrapped up the paintings in bubble wrap, secured the back ends with masking tape. Once that is done, the paintings must feel secure and tightly wrapped. There should be no loose ends or air circulating inside the wrapping.

  • Arrange boxes that are just the right for your paintings. You can easily get those from shipping and moving companies who sell art and mirror boxes, as well. You must get boxes that are slightly bigger than your paintings. This is because you need to make sure the box holds enough room for the entire bubble wrap and packing materials you will make use of for your paintings.
  • You must place your paintings inside the box one at a time. If there is still some room left inside the box even after the painting has been put in, stuff in with some rags, newspapers, or another filling so that the painting is left with no room to move and suffer and damage. Once you have followed all these steps, move the box back and forth gently. If you can feel that the painting is rattling inside, fill the box with more packing material or stuffing.
  • Close the box neatly without squeezing any corners or sides. Seal all the edges of the box with a packing type after thoroughly ensuring the painting is secure inside the box.
  • Some paintings are larger than the standard ones, especially oil paintings. If you have to pack any large size paintings, you will need to arrange for telescopic boxes. The average size boxes that are available in retailers or shipping supply stores will not be sufficient for your paintings. A telescopic box consists of two boxes that can fit inside each other. For any paintings that are large than 30 x 36 inches or 79 cm x91 cm, these boxes are the best fit. You can stuff the space left between the boxes with bubble wrap, wadded newspaper or other packing material.

When Should You Take the Painting off the Frame and Roll It?

This depends on how large your paintings are and how you plan to transport it. If your painting is quite large and has to travel a long distance, then it is advisable to take it off the frame and roll it. However, if the frame holds any historical significance and can potentially be damaged if removed for transit, then it is better to let it remain in the frame and transport it as it intact.

How Roll-up Paintings Should be packed for Check-in Luggage

You will need a tube for packing rolled-up paintings, one that is used in archival documents or storing maps.

When Is Acid-Free Paper Required for Oil Painting

It depends on how long you plan to store the painting, where you will store it, and on temperature and climate situations. Generally, an acid-free paper is not required, but if you do intend to use it, only opt for a high-grade one.

While the choice of technique is entirely up to you, one thing you need to make sure is to handle the packing process with care. Paintings are delicate and need some extra loving when it comes to packing them.

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