How To Pack Glass, Artwork And Other Frigile Items

Please note that the instructions below are for items that you are going to move or have moved by a professional moving company. For items that you will have shipped, whether through the mail or by a small package delivery company (like UPS or FedEx), you will need to follow much more stringent standards in packaging. Even then, your items might not be insurable against damage.

Also note that any items packaged by customers are not covered for damages by moving companies.

Everything you move needs to be boxed, including plants, lamps, etc. The exception to this rule is very large things such as furniture, pianos, gun vaults, treadmills, and things of that nature.

Of course, the overriding principle is to protect your valued item against damage. So the first thing you need to do is to protect the surface against scratching, abrasions, and other cosmetic damage.

If you have a painting, oil, acrylic, watercolor, or otherwise, and it’s not going to be covered with glass, then you should wrap it with acid free paper. This is also true of ceramics and porcelain, and other items with delicate surfaces. You can use stretch wrap to secure the acid free paper.

Other items can be protected with stretch wrap directly over them, such as unpainted glass. Use several layers of stretch wrap completely enveloping all sides, and then use bubble wrap around each item, from top to bottom and from side to side. Secure the bubble wrap with packaging tape.

For paintings with glass, you should use painters tape (blue tape about two inches wide that resembles masking tape). Put an X diagonally across the glass, from corner to corner, with the tape, then apply tape (over the X) from side to side, or top to bottom, whichever is longer, until the glass is completely covered. Then use bubble wrap as described above.

Then slide or place the item inside an appropriately sized box. It should fit snugly, with none of the sides of the item itself (and especially the corners) touching the inside of the box.

If the item is loose inside the box, you can use a fill material such as Styrofoam peanuts to fill in the spaces. But be certain to put some peanuts in the bottom first, and then place the rest around the sides and over the top after putting the item inside the box.

When putting peanuts around the side of the item, you should press the peanuts down lightly with your hands as you go to make certain there are no vacant pockets. This should keep your fragile item snug in the center of the box where it is safe from outside bumps and thumps.

Then seal the top of the box with tape, and mark the box with a description of the item and which room it’s supposed to go into.

Please note that for heavy or large glass items, especially those with a large span (such as for plate glass desk or table tops), it is best to use a professional moving company with experience moving such items. The reason for this is that if handled improperly, such items can spontaneously break and severely injure or even kill those handling them. So be certain to hire an experienced moving company for such items.