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.

How To Packaging

First of all, box (almost) everything, including plants and lamps, etc. Furniture doesn’t have to be boxed, and neither do large heavy items such as pianos, gun safes, gym equipment, etc. But they should be stretch wrapped several layers thick, then wrapped all around in moving blankets to guard against scratching and dents.

It’s difficult to know beforehand how many boxes and what sizes you will need. While there might not be boxes designed for a bassoon or trombone, there are special guitar boxes, boxes for skis, wardrobe boxes, and boxes for mirrors and paintings and dishes and glasses and flat screen televisions.

A well stocked shipping store should have all the boxes you need. And the larger truck rental stores will have a variety of boxes that are sturdy and reasonably priced. Perhaps the best approach is to buy a half dozen each of various size boxes, and then see how much of your household items you can fit into them. From there, you can probably get a very good idea of how many boxes you need. And if you buy more than necessary, you can keep them for future use or return them for a refund at the store where you bought them. But do remember to keep the receipt.

Buy enough bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts for fragile items. For decorated (painted) items, or for porcelain and other such items, you should wrap them first in acid free paper, then wrap them in stretch wrap and bubble wrap, then put them in a box surrounded by foam peanuts.

Fragile items, including paintings with glass, should have at least two inches of bubble wrap around them to protect them from the bouncing and jarring that typically occurs in the cargo area of a truck. Then they should be put into a sturdy box in which they fit snugly, but not too tightly. You can use foam peanuts to fill in any voids. So remember to buy boxes that have interior dimensions that are at least two inches larger on every side than the length, width, and depth of your fragile item.

You should mark each box with what items are in them and what room they’re going to in your new home. You should also mark the boxes with “FRAGILE” labels as needed.

Dishes should not be stacked on top of one another (the way you put them in cupboards), but should be wrapped in paper or thin foam and set on their sides (as you would put them in a dishwasher or dish drainer) in a container designed for them.

Certain very fragile items can be wrapped in a blanket and laid carefully in the back seat of a car if they won’t roll around there. Very valuable items, such as jewelry and precious coins might be carried with you. Be certain to keep them with you at all times and never leave them unattended. Keep them out of view of others, also.

Posters can be rolled up and placed in special tube boxes designed just for this purpose.