Many of our clients prefer transporting works of art or heirloom to The Conservation Center by themselves—whether by car or shipping service provider. Here's some advice on how to best do this without further damaging your piece(s). The Conservation Center's Art Handling and Installation Department can also assist clients with transportation arrangements to or from our facility in Chicago's West Town neighborhood.
Traveling by Car:
Clear the area in the vehicle where the piece will be placed of any items that may come loose and damage the item.
Create a soft surface to absorb the shock of the road by using a blanket or foam.
Temperature changes will affect the stability of the artwork. The vehicle in which the art will be transported should be adjusted to closely match the climate where the artwork has been stored, prior to placing the artwork in the car in order to keep it in a stable environment.For longer trips, the safest option is to hire professional art handlers who use climate-controlled vehicles fitted with a low-vibration “air ride” feature to transport art.
During long trips, the movers should ensure that the truck is protected and the temperature controlled. If you feel that your piece is not being handled correctly, let the company know of your concerns. It is recommended that professionals entrusted with your collection have had employee background checks. For more information on nationwide art handling services, please contact The Conservation Center.
Shipping Art or Heirloom via Delivery Services:
Only use a reputable delivery service provider. The Conservation Center recommends FedEx Custom Delivery. Indicate on the outside of the package that the contents are fragile. Clearly note if there is glass inside the package, or if the contents are wet or moldy.
Use clean, new and undamaged packing materials.
Do not allow tape to touch the surface of the artwork, as this could cause additional damage.
Do not ship a piece rolled, unless it has been rolled for quite some time.
We request that you include inside your package:
- Your name
- Your return shipping address
- Your email address
- A short list of any concerns you might have or elements you would like to be addressed with treatment
How to Ship
If the painting is framed, Make sure that it is secure in the frame and that there are no loose pieces that could potentially damage the art while in transit (hanging hardware and wires, fragments from the frame). If a painting is unstable in the frame, or if the frame itself is unstable, remove the painting and wrap it separately.
It is best to first wrap paintings in a protective layer of plastic or nylon product, such as polyethylene sheeting, Tyvek or Dartek, which will help to ward off any condensation that might occur from moisture exposure. If these materials are not available to you, it is appropriate to wrap a dry piece in plastic—but only if the piece has not been exposed to water or humidity.
It may be necessary to create a shadow box to make sure the packing materials do not come into contact with the surface of the painting and prevent adhesion to the varnish or paint layer. If this is not possible, face the front of the painting with a clean sheet of cardboard. The board should be the same size or slightly larger than the piece itself.
Wrap the painting in bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather than against, the surface. Do not wrap a painted surface in bubble wrap.
If the painting is framed, reinforce the frame corners with cardboard.
Place the wrapped painting in a slightly larger, sturdy box. Fill the extra space with Styrofoam packing peanuts. The piece should not be able to move at all within the package.
Ensure that the artwork is secure in the frame and that there are no loose pieces that could potentially damage the artwork while in transit (hanging hardware and wires, fragments from the frame). If the glazing is broken or fractured, it is best to remove the piece from the frame before shipping.
Use glass tape or tape an “X” on the glazing to prevent broken glass from damaging in the print, should it crack in transit. It is prudent to remove the glazing if the piece is very large because there is a much greater risk of the glass breaking.
Face the piece with a clean sheet of cardboard.
Cover the piece in bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather than against, the surface.
Reinforce the frame corners with cardboard.
Place the wrapped piece in a slightly larger, sturdy box. Fill the extra space with Styrofoam packing peanuts. The piece should not be able to move at all within the package.
Unframed Works of Art on Paper, Photographs or Textiles
Carefully wrap the piece in glassine or tissue, which will help to ward off any condensation that might occur from moisture exposure.
Create a portfolio by placing the piece securely between two pieces of stiff cardboard. The pieces of cardboard should be 3-4” larger than each dimension of the piece (height and width).
Tape the edges of the portfolio closed. Make sure no tape or adhesive is touching the surface of the artwork.
Cover the portfolio in bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather than against, the surface.
Place the wrapped portfolio in a slightly larger, sturdy box. Fill the extra space with Styrofoam packing peanuts. The portfolio should not be able to move at all within the package.
Do not ship a piece rolled, unless it has been rolled for quite some time. Do not attempt to unroll and flatten it. In this case, wrap the rolled piece in glassine and place in a sturdy packing tube.
Objects and Books
Prior to packing objects, check to see if there are any loose elements or extremely fragile areas that should be treated delicately. If the object has any elements that are fragile, delicate, or loosely adhered, it is recommended to hire a professional art handler or company that specializes in packing fine art rather than packing the piece yourself.
Wrap the piece—or if broken, each fragment—individually in tissue or glassine, which will help to ward off any condensation that might occur from moisture exposure.
Do not use bubble wrap directly on the piece. Do not place any tape or other adhesives directly on the surface of the piece.
Cover each wrapped piece in bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather than against, the surface.
Place the individually wrapped pieces in a larger, sturdy box with Styrofoam packing peanuts. Make sure there is space between each wrapped piece.
Wet or Moldy Artwork
Please clearly note on the outside of the package if the contents are wet and moldy. It is important that we unpack the work in a clean, quarantined space to prevent contamination of other items in our storage spaces and laboratory.
GET IN TOUCH
Call The Conservation Center with any questions:
Appointments are available Monday–Friday
9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.