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Packing Valuable Artwork

The size and type of your art size can help you determine whether you should pack the pieces yourself, or if you need the professionals. The next tips can help you choose the proper move option.


8×11” or smaller framed art should be treated just as you would with any breakable glassware. It needs to be wrapped up and packed in a carton with like sized pieces. Wadded newsprint should be place in the bottom of the box and placed at the top of the box for shock absorption. If the art is oil on canvas. Gloves should be used to avoid oil from the skin getting on the art. Initially wrapping should be done with “acid free” paper so the art is not affected by wrapping materials. “Acid free” paper can be purchased at most craft or art supply stores.


Up to 48”x60” can be packed in a picture/mirror carton, which is a flat box that can be adjusted to fit the artwork better. Cardboard corner protectors, or wadded newsprint can also be used in each of the 4 corners to provide a shock absorber. If the artwork is thin enough, 2 pieces can be packed back to back in the same carton for efficiency. As with smaller pieces, if the art is oil on canvas, a layer of acid free paper should be used to wrap it first.


Larger pictures up to 60”x80” can fit into a 4 piece picture mirror carton. The same rules apply as with a 2 piece picture mirror box. With both types of picture/mirror cartons, when moved they should be placed in the upright position and not laid flat. If your move is local, more durable artwork can be wrapped and stood up in the back of an SUV, or placed by a mover inside the cab of the moving truck.


This refers to pieces (like gold leaf frame or valuable artwork) can and should be crated by a mover with fine art experience or an art moving specialist. These types of pieces are not for amateurs or do it yourselfers. If you have these articles and wish for SMC movers to pack and/or move them for you please notify staff prior to your move. They will be separated out and special care will be taken.

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