Expert Packing Tips and Tricks | ARTA

Quality packing tips and tricks are imperative to our client’s satisfaction and ARTA’s success. Regardless of if your items boast a high price tag or high sentimental value, we take your valuables seriously.

Whether you’re shipping fine art or moving house, smart packing methods can help you minimize transport stress and preserve your valuables for years to come.

Couple packing their home, using expert packing tips and tricks

Box packing strategies

When packing boxes for a residential move, it’s ideal to fill them to the top. A completely filled box should keep the contents stationary, saving them from shifting inside and minimizing any wiggle room, reducing opportunities for damage.

You can fill extra space with soft household items like towels, blankets, or pillows; this also gives you a place to pack these. Keep in mind you also don’t want to overpack your boxes. Overcrowded boxes put delicate objects at risk of cracking, crushing, or chipping. 

For delicate but heavy items, it helps to remember: the heavier the item, the smaller the box. Large boxes can fit numerous items, but packing heavy items into larger boxes puts anything else in the box at risk for damage. When sealing the box, be sure to use proper packing tape; duct tape or masking tape will not adhere properly. 


Packing methods for moving house

Get started earlier than you think. Estimating how much needs to be packed is difficult when it’s still tucked away in cupboards and closets. We recommend creating a packing schedule, so you’re not overwhelmed the day before the movers arrive. 

Many of us are surprised by how much we’ve accumulated, and starting early allows you to sort and discard old belongings found along the way and leaves you less to move. To begin, start with items you don’t use daily, like off-season clothing, holiday decor, or seldom-used cooking utensils.

For easy unpacking, label each box and note the room it should be placed in. This way, you don’t have to open every single box to find a fork on your first night in. 


How to pack lamps

When employing movers, packing away table lamps in boxes can help avoid damage. You can place soft items around the lamps in the empty box space for additional cushioning, like towels, blankets, or pillows. 

Floor lamps can be handled by movers. Lamp shades can be wrapped in paper individually and stacked inside one another within a large box. 


Packing high-value artwork and unique objects for transport

2D Objects:

Most common packing method: Soft packing, including poly, bubble, and cardboard.

For added protection: Shadowbox, which is defined by the cardboard backing and raised collar around the edges of the work, is used for items with tacky or irregular surfaces that cannot have any materials touch the surface. Travel Frame (or Crate), If a piece has a very delicate or textured surface that cannot have anything touching it and is large and/or heavy, a travel frame may be necessary to transport it safely.


3D Objects:

Most common packing method: Soft packing, including poly, bubble, blanket wrap, and custom cavity-packed boxes, can create safety barriers between objects.

For added protection: Crating, or other additional packing, is only necessary for particularly heavy or delicate materials or for items that will ship to a location outside of the U.S. All international shipments booked with ARTA require a heated treated wood crate, per standard regulations.


A closer look: Packing delicate artwork from an  acclaimed mixed media artist

While the above outlines general guidelines for packing, our team’s years of experience allow us to easily recognize when works by particular artists require special packing requirements. For example, ARTA often ships works by artist Ebony G. Patterson via Monique Meloche Gallery.

Ebony G. Patterson artwork showing hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with appliqués, beads, feathered butterflies, fabric, silk flowers
Ebony G. Patterson

The challenges of packing mixed media art

The artist’s large-scale, mixed media works (above), can present certain shipping challenges. Patterson often uses objects such as costume jewelry, tapestry, crochet, beads, glitter, and silk flowers to signify beauty and wealth. These materials are important features of her work that add layers both figuratively and literally. The resulting irregular surface creates an interactive experience for the viewer, challenging one to look past the opulent surface and explore her deeper message.

Packing techniques for delicate items

Protecting the surface of these works during transit requires more than standard soft packing. Our team has shipped numerous works by Patterson works on behalf of Monique Meloche Gallery, and in all instances, we created a required travel frame, or what’s sometimes called a “T-frame.” 

A T-frame is a type of crate that allows the work to be handled while preventing damage; this works by attaching the work to a crate, keeping the surface and the sides of the work untouched. 

Patterson’s works can range from 110-130 inches in height. However, most fine art shuttles have a maximum door height of 106”H. A high cube truck has a door height of 120”H, but it’s less common to find these in a FAS company’s fleet. Even with a high cube truck, an additional A-frame is sometimes required for the work fit in a truck. An A-frame safely allows the t-frame to ride at a lean, as it is constructed with skids on the bottom, to allow for a forklift or pallet jack, with plywood gussets in the shape of an “A” at the end of each side.


With ARTA, safety will always be a top priority. ARTA offers a virtually limitless range of packing options, from poly-wrapped frames in commercial bins to museum-grade crating. Regardless of shape, size, weight, or value, we provide bookable quotes and transit options for all types of items. So you can leverage ARTA confidently, knowing your needs will be accommodated.

ARTA’s end-to-end fulfillment solutions enable businesses to connect to sellers and buyers and easily move unique items worldwide.


Think ARTA could help you with your shipping and packing methods?

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Rachael Gilpin

About ARTA

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology.

ARTA’s software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.