As lovers of antiques and fine art, there’s not much we like better when visiting different parts of the world (or even our own country) than spending some time taking in the local art scene. We often find ourselves drawn to fairs and exhibitions of all types to while away an afternoon (or two.)
One dilemma that commonly springs from this pursuit is what to do with pieces we are compelled to buy at these far-flung locations. Safely transporting the art we have so recently fallen for back to base is hugely important. As many of you will likely find yourselves in a similar predicament, today we are sharing some tips to safely transport fine art, written for us by The Three Centuries antiques shop in Toronto, Ontario.
5 Tips to Safely Transport Fine Art
Packing and transporting fine art must be done in a methodical manner since we’re dealing with items of a fragile nature. Let’s consider 5 tips you can use when moving these precious pieces.
1. Good ol’ bubble wrap
Bubble wrap is our best friend if we don’t want to have our artwork dented, scratched, or marred. This material can be used in boxes as packing filler to secure loose items so they won’t be bouncing around. In the case of pastel drawings and oil paintings, don’t apply the bubble wrap directly to the surface or the artwork could be damaged. Instead, apply a layer of plain paper (without any printing on it) to the objects and then use the bubble wrap to secure it inside your packing box. You can also use bubble wrap when packing smaller items like photos, small mirrors, and sculptures.
2. Seriously sturdy boxes
Use heavy duty boxes of double-wall construction, with plenty of space for the item. Bubble wrap or styrofoam can be used as filler material. Although boxes may be provided by a moving company, inspect them to see if they will be durable for moving artwork. Make sure the boxes are constructed of substances that are acid free, since some acids could damage the artwork. When handling artwork, it’s also a good idea to wear white cotton gloves to avoid transferring dirt and fingerprints to the object. Gloves that are especially designated for handling art are even better.
3. Reinforce with tape
Strong, durable packing tape should be used on all boxes. This is used not just to seal the box but to reinforce the bottom and corners. When purchasing tape to use on a move, look for labeling that says storage or moving, and make sure the tape has an acrylic adhesive. Although duct tape is used for a variety of purposes, it doesn’t stick to cardboard too well. Tapes with strong acrylic adhesives work well for items stored for a while. Tape which is designated as shipping tape will hold up well under the handling of the moving process. If moving artwork with a glass frame, use what is referred to as wider artist tape and put the tape down on the glass in a star pattern. If the glass breaks during moving, the tape will prevent damage to the artwork. Packing tape can also be applied to layers of bubble wrap to secure separate items.
4. No stacking!
Boxes containing artwork and other collectibles should never be stacked on top of each other. Use shipping labels with designations like Do Not Stack, or Fragile so that movers or whoever is handling the boxes will use proper care. Items labeled in this way should be hand carried as much as possible.
5. Custom crates
Having crates custom built to transport artwork is a good option. However, crates made from ordinary wood may not be water resistant and won’t be waterproof. Crates work well for sculptures and larger paintings, and if possible, the crates should be custom built for these items. Handles should be attached to larger crates so they can be handled easily. In some situations it could take multiple weeks for a crate to be specially made. If you are transporting from an antique auction or mall there is may not be time for custom crates. In the case of larger crates, don’t be afraid to ask for help when loading and moving.
We often arrange delivery of the antiques we sell straight to your home. If you are organising your antique’s transportation yourself, we are more than happy to offer further guidance to ensure your piece reaches you in the same condition you bought it.