Properly Moving and Storing Artwork
When you are packing up your home for a move, renovation, or other life event, you may encounter some items that you aren’t quite sure how to properly pack. One of those items is likely your artwork. Whether you created it or bought it from an artist and put it in your home, you want to protect it just the same. Packing and storing your artwork will take a few extra steps, but they are essential in order to ensure that you keep the frame, canvas, and paint safe while moving.
Where to Store Artwork
The best place to store your artwork is in a climate-controlled, interior storage unit. This will keep it safe from extreme heat and cold, humidity, sunlight, and moisture. Climate-controlled storage units maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level year-round and are sealed to protect against dust, dirt, and moisture.
You’ll want to avoid places like attics, basements, and garages. These locations typically experience changes in temperature and humidity which can cause the canvas of your artwork to stretch and loosen over time. As the canvas stretches, the paint on your artwork may begin to crack and flake off. High humidity also leaves your artwork vulnerable to mold and mildew. Depending on the type of paint and area where you live, heat in your garage or attic can potentially cause the paint in your artwork to soften.
When considering a storage space, make sure that there is no direct sunlight. If your artwork is left in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, the colors will fade. Do not store your artwork directly on any concrete floors. Concrete can absorb moisture from the ground, and with repeated contact with your painting, and cause damage to it.
How to Pack Artwork
As you get ready to pack up your artwork, you will want to remove anything that may scratch or rip it. Remove any jewelry or sharp accessories. Avoid wearing anything with a zipper, as it may accidentally cause damage to your artwork.
Even if your hands seem clean, their natural oils may stain and damage the paint, frame, or canvas of your artwork. To avoid this, find a pair of cotton gloves to wear while handling your artwork.
Packing Framed Artwork
For framed artwork, secure a piece of glassine paper over the painting. It’s important to use this paper as opposed to tissue paper because it is acid-free and provides an extra layer of protection against air, moisture, and grease. Once secure, wrap the artwork in either a storage blanket or bubble wrap and secure it with packing tape. Reinforce both sides of the artwork with either hardboard panels or thick poster board and secure again with packing tape. For extra protection, seal with specially fitted Styrofoam and place the painting into a tight-fitting box.
Packing Unframed Artwork
Similar to packing a framed artwork, you will want to wrap the artwork in glassine paper to protect it from water and grease. Next, reinforce it with either hardboard panels or thick poster board. Once that is done, wrap it securely with either packing blankets or bubble wrap. For extra protection, place it in fitted Styrofoam and put it into a tight-fitting box.
How to Store Artwork
When storing artwork, it is best to store it vertically, as storing horizontally leaves it vulnerable to objects falling and puncturing it. Be careful to not lean your artwork against anything that may cause it to stretch. If you plan to stack your artwork, use a painting rack to keep it separate. Or, you can add a layer of extra padding between each artwork to avoid damage.
If you will not be personally handling the moving of your artwork, you may want to look into purchasing shipping insurance. This won’t keep your artwork from getting damaged, but it will help reimburse you in the chance that something does happen. Most importantly, do your research when choosing a moving company. Go with somewhere reputable that has plenty of positive reviews and comes highly regarded. Ensure that they know how to properly know how to move artwork and will take good care of your belongings. For more important moving and storage tips, sign up for our monthly blog newsletter.