Packing Art and Photos to Keep Them Safe While Moving

Written by Mark Rogers

When we’re packing up to move there are a few things that get special wrapping and packing attention: electronics, dishes, mirrors, and glass. Your framed and unframed artwork and photos should be right up there with other valuables. Whether you’re packing a one-of-a-kind art piece or precious family photos, most art can’t be replaced if damaged. So take the time to get the right packing supplies and to carefully wrap and pack your artwork before moving day.

Packing Picture Frames

When you take your framed photos and art off the wall and side tables, take the time to pack them up carefully and properly. When packing framed art, every part needs to be protected from damage: the frame, the glass, and the photo itself.

To keep everything well away from damage, place frame corner protectors on the frame, then slip the whole thing into a GalleryPouch™ bubble bag. The GalleryPouch™ was specifically designed with framed art in mind, so frames fit easily in the pouch and sharp corners won’t puncture the extra reinforced air pockets. You can order the GalleryPouch™ in popular frame sizes and custom sizes to fit all frames. (They’re also great for protecting electronics and other valuables during moving without dealing with thin traditional bubble wrap and rolls of tape.)

Next, box the whole thing up. Moving and storage companies offer picture and mirror boxes in a variety of sizes that will further protect your framed pieces. If the box is bigger than the bubble-bagged piece, line it with packing peanuts or newspaper so that there is no room for the piece to shift or slide around.

Finally, pack and move the boxes so that the pieces are standing upright; placing boxes flat can cause warping and heightens the risk of broken glass (that will then scratch or otherwise damage your photo or art). Make sure that the boxes are packed in a way that keeps them from sliding during transit.

Packing Unframed Art & Loose Photos

Whether your unframed art and photos are displayed or in storage, they’re particularly vulnerable during a move. Putting your art and pictures in a file folder or shoe box and then stuffing that into a larger moving box isn’t enough.

Even the slightest amount of exposure to the acids that naturally occur in paper products could cause damage to your photos or art – and many moving materials are made of paper or cardboard. To prevent contamination and exposure, place all your photos and unframed art in archival-quality, acid-free packing or storage materials such as acid-free clear plastic bags and acid-free tissue paper. Once the photos are in acid-free materials, pack them in an enclosed space that is strong enough to protect them – like a museum-quality storage box or the GalleryPouch™ (both options are also acid-free). These materials will help keep your unframed art and photos from being crinkled, torn, scratched, or damaged while moved, and also protect them from the harmful materials in moving boxes.

If you’re not displaying your unframed art, keep it stored in these acid-free, archival materials to preserve them over time. More on that in our blog, How to Store Photos Without Them Turning Yellow.

Happy moving!

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