Best Way to Pack Pictures

If you are about to move apartments or homes, packing is probably one of the least fun things on your to-do list. Whether you are doing it yourself or trusting a moving company, many of us know that it feels like it is inevitable that something delicate will become broken.

When it comes to something as precious as family pictures and art, whether you are packing to move or packing them to send to someone—it’s important that they arrive in one piece. However, if you don’t know the best way to pack pictures or art, the unfortunate can often happen in transit.

Why Choose Foam in The First Place?

Bubble wrap has been a part of pop-culture and packing culture for so long, it is often the first thing we think of when it comes to wrapping glass or packing pictures with glass frames. We don’t often think of foam immediately as many of us are more familiar with foam being used for heavier or more expensive specialty equipment or musical instruments. But why?

Using foam is the best way to pack pictures, with or without glass and especially if the picture happens to be a painting or a framed print.

Choose foam in the first place because it is:

  • Easy to use and remove
  • Affordable
  • Provides stable support
  • Protects against breaks, scrapes, and dents
  • Comes in a mind-boggling array of types, colors, and sizes

What Kinds of Packing Foam Are There?

There are a few types of common foam that are excellent for packaging. For now, we’ll go over the basics.


An open-cell foam that offers the cushiony softness that molds many objects with ease and is ideal for a huge variety of items.


Denser than polyurethane and used for objects that require more rigid support and stability. The fact that polyethylene is a closed-cell makes this foam also vibration dampening, highly resistant to chemicals, and moisture resistant as well. Ideal for packing sensitive or delicate items.

Pick and Pull Grid

While Pick and Pull Grid is available in many sizes and thicknesses, what makes this foam stand out from the others is how easy it is to add to any package. Especially packages that may contain items of a more unusual shape, such as an intricate vase, a musical instrument, or a sculpture that needs extra support in areas a flat piece of foam may not fit into.


Antistatic foam is best suited for electrical components such as computers or sensitive electrical equipment where control of electrical charges, vibrations, and electro-shock static is imperative.


Unlike flat foams, the egg-crate has raised and lowered areas which add a protective layer. It’s the unique shape that allows the egg-crate foam to absorb vibration and impacts while protecting items. The best thing about egg-crate foam too is it can be reused again and again or repurposed for many other things.

Custom Cases

In some cases, the pictures you may be packing don’t fit any of the general sizes or shapes that other foams and boxes offer. When this happens, a customer case just may be the solution. With a custom case for your pictures, the fit is near exact and improved, creating more snug and secure protection. The cases can also be cut to the exact dimensions of the picture or painting. While you may think a custom case is outside your budgetary means, there are many reasonable solutions out there.

Ultimately the choice of foam you pick as the best way to pack pictures is up to you. But if you don’t know where to start, we do recommend polyurethane, polyethylene, the pick and pull grid, and the egg-crate.

Best Way to Pack Pictures or Paintings

For extremely large pictures or paintings larger than 48 x 48 inches, and framed pieces larger than 18 x 14, you may want to skip the usual cardboard box and use a wooden crate or something far sturdier than cardboard, especially if the packed pictures or paintings will be traveling a very long distance.

Otherwise, a cardboard box will often do to pack smaller paintings or pictures. However, make sure you do not re-use a cardboard box. A recycled box may provide less protection due to any damages that may have occurred the first time you’ve used it, and to provide the best protection for your pictures it’s always best to use a new one.

  1. For not-yet framed artwork, print, or picture, wrap the canvas or paper in an acid-free, archival quality glassine paper to protect against dust and moisture. Make sure that the paper covers all sides and edges, then use an acid-free artist tape to secure the paper.
  2. For pictures and artwork that have been framed and have glass, first use your artist’s tape to tape a star pattern over the glass. (Two X’s that overlap in the center). If you don’t have tape available, something as simple as the household item cling-film can be used too. This makes sure that if the glass breaks, the pieces won’t be loose and puncture your pictures or paintings.
  3. The corners of your picture frame will be the most vulnerable. To protect both framed and unframed pictures with foam, cut a small cube wider than your frame with a small slit in the middle to fit over the corners.
  4. For the ultimate in protection, you can choose to wrap the entire piece in a pliable foam, or you may sandwich your picture between two pieces of foam that are at least ½ inch thick. Tape the two pieces of foam together in place to create your “sandwich” of protection.
  5. Fill the voids in your box with additional pieces of foam as movement and friction to your pictures are often responsible for damages the most. Make sure to pack extra at the top and bottom—these areas are vulnerable to damages.
  6. Now seal whichever container you’ve chosen for your pictures with heavy-duty, high-quality packing tape. Make sure to cover all seams completely. Skip the duct tape or everyday household tapes as tape not designed for packing won’t be sturdy enough to hold up to transportation.

Following the above steps is one of the best ways to pack pictures, art, and delicate prints with or without frames. This will ensure your precious items get to where they need to go in one piece or are stored safely and securely to be used when ready!

Posted in Foam Packaging, Shipping Foam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *