Is Bubble Wrap A Good Way To Protect Framed Pictures?

Artwork brings any room in the house to life, but, when it comes to moving day, some people struggle to know which materials to use to pack these precious items. At the top end of any budget, you can buy professional packing cases for framed artwork, but many families probably want to look for less expensive options. Bubble wrap is a cheap packaging material that anybody can lay their hands on, but is it a good choice when dealing with framed artworks? Read this article to find out. 

The key benefits of bubble wrap

It was a professional marketer called Frederick W Bowers who first spotted the packaging potential for bubble wrap in 1960, when he realized the material could protect IBM's latest computer range. The bubble wrap business is now worth around $4 billion a year, and, when moving house, some people use bubble wrap to package almost everything.

If you want to protect framed artwork, bubble wrap has several benefits. These include:

  • Price. A roll of bubble wrap is relatively cheap compared to many other materials. If you need to wrap large pictures, you wouldn't need to spend a fortune to use bubble wrap.
  • Easy-to-use. You can cut a roll of bubble wrap to whatever size you need. You can wrap a roll around a large framed picture, or you can custom cut pieces to suit smaller works of art. The material is incredibly versatile.
  • Protection from water and dust. Bubble wrap gives you a good physical barrier to stop dust, dirt and water spray hitting your prized pictures, especially when you seal the material with tape.
  • Lightweight and easy to move. Bubble wrap weighs very little, which means it won't make heavy pictures even more cumbersome to handle. 

It's easy to see why bubble wrap is such a popular packing material. Nonetheless, this type of packaging is not always suitable for framed pictures.

How bubble wrap could fail to protect your artwork

Bubble wrap has several limitations, particularly when you want to protect framed artwork.

Bubble wrap doesn't fare well when it comes to damage from sharp edges and points. You could wrap a canvas painting in twenty layers of bubble wrap, and a packing knife or sharp corner could easily slice through the material to the object below. Indeed, the way that bubble wrap sheets are easy to cut to size makes the packaging material particularly vulnerable.

Bubble wrapped frames are particularly vulnerable at the corners. The corners of picture frames are often squared off to a thin edge, which means the corner will easily protrude through bubble wrap. It doesn't take a very hard knock in transit to damage the corner of the frame. This can also harm the picture inside the frame if the impact knocks the print or canvas out of its mooring.

To give your pictures adequate protection, you may also need to use a lot of bubble wrap. Wrapped pictures then take up a lot of space in transit because the air bubbles in the wrap create a 'fat' layer. If you're moving a lot of artwork, you may soon struggle for space in your moving vehicle.

In fact, bubble wrapping framed artwork is sometimes false economy. To protect your frames' corners, you often need to use special corrugated cardboard covers, which you then wrap the packing material around. Once you add the cost of these corners, plus the packing tape you need, it's sometimes better to invest in a more durable artwork case.

Bubble wrap is cheap, versatile and easy to use, but it doesn't always give you enough protection to adequately protect framed artwork. For better packing solutions, talk to your local moving and storage company. You can also click here for more information on moving tips.