moving an art collection

Moving An Art Collection

Packing art requires specialty materials and services

cross country movers

Moving An Art Collection

Moving an art collection that consists of paintings or sculptures will require first class service. Whether your art collection holds value financially or sentimentally, knowledgeable expertise will be required when having to move each piece of artwork and making the right space for it.

Packing fine art is an art in itself!

If you will be doing the packing yourself, here are a few tips.

Framed Artwork

If you have large artwork in your collection, a heavy-duty picture box can be used. The standard size is 37”x4”x61”. If you have larger pieces of art, you can join two boxes together, seamlessly.

An important step if your artwork is framed with glass is to lay tape across the face. In the event that the glass gets broken, this will prevent the broken glass from shattering or damaging the art, as it will stick to the tape. Painter’s tape is recommended as it removes easily from glass without leaving any markings, masking tape is sometimes used, but is known to leave a residue.

Your artwork should then be covered in bubble wrap. The bubbles are to face outward so that the flat side touches the art. Completely cover each piece, making sure not to have too much extra bubble wrap. Seal it securely with tape.

If you have small artwork that is framed, shipping it in a cardboard box will suffice. Make sure that the box is large enough so that you can add cushioning between the piece of art and the inside of the box. Allow at least 1”. Cushioning can be any kind of foam. If you would like extra protection, you can place this already cushioned box inside a larger box. Make sure to pad the spaces between the two boxes with either foam or crumpled paper.


If you are shipping unframed canvas paintings done in oil, ensure that they are dry. If you have acquired a new oil painting completed within the past six months, it is recommended that they are not shipped prior to six months, as the work needs to “cure”. If they must be shipped prior to this time and are not fully cured, wrap the canvas in glassine to prevent any packing materials from sticking to the surface. Wrapping in glassine is advised even when the work is fully dry.

Wrap the painting with bubble wrap, again with the bubbles facing out. Seal it securely with tape.

If you have small canvases, shipping them in a cardboard box should not be a problem, just like with small, framed pieces. Make sure to leave 1” around the canvas to allow for foam padding.

If having your pieces of artwork custom crated is something you would like or is required, research and collect quotes prior to making any orders.


Sculptures come in varying shapes, sizes and fragility. To protect these pieces of art, foam padding should be tucked into any openings and then wrapped in a layer of bubble wrap. If the sculptures are small enough, less then 12” tall, they can be placed in individual boxes and protected on all sides with padding, foam or packing peanuts.

For sculptures larger than 12” tall, it will require a custom crate for shipping.


For any box or crate being shipped, make sure to clearly label and indicate which is the top and which is the bottom. This can be done by writing “THIS SIDE UP” and drawing an arrow pointing upward on all sides. This way the movers/shippers will know the correct direction of the box or crate. Pre made labels can also be purchased. In addition, clearly mark the box or crate as “FRAGILE”, using a heavy marker.

Using A Professional

If you have decided, or are thinking about using professional services to move your art collection, do a thorough research into reputable moving companies and confirm if they have experience in packing and moving artwork. You will want to make sure they are licensed and insured.

You could also opt to use a professional art handler who specializes in the packing, moving and installation of fine art. Going this route, you can rest assured that your art collection will be treated with the utmost care and be in the trusted hands of a finer kind of specialist. Using an art handler is beneficial for large art collections, special crating needs that are required for valuable art, and for large sculptures. To begin your search for a professional art handler check out Ship Smart.

Once the decision of how to move your collection has been determined, and the packing completed, now is the time to focus on where the pieces will be placed once they arrive to your new home. How exciting, to see these pieces of art once again in a new light.

Storage Locations

Los Angeles
5698 Bandini Blvd B.
Bell, CA 90201
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 102
San Francisco
745 85th Ave
Suite L. Oakland, CA 94621
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 135
New York
210 Meadowlands Pkwy d,
Secaucus, NJ 07094
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 131

Business Hours(PST)

Monday: 8am - 4pm
Tuesday: 8am - 4pm
Wednesday: 8am - 4pm
Thursday: 8am - 4pm
Friday: 8am - 4pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Shannon L.
Shannon L.
Jan 5, 2024

Movers who packed my things up in NY were great. I was also very impressed with how clear everything was, how fast the move coordinator Eric was with getting back to me. Read more testimonials

Danielle Francisco
Feb 11, 2024

Terrific experience with Andres and his team. They were quick, efficient and very knowledgeable. Read more testimonials

Ria B.
Ria B.
Jan 10, 2024

Everything went smoothly with CA-NY Express Movers. They packed up my apt in NYC in no time, put it into storage for me while we found our new house. Read more testimonials

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