When it comes to moving house, the most stressful part is often moving all your furniture and belongings—placing all your worldly worth in the back of a truck, often driven by people you don't even know, would fray on anybody's nerves. This goes doubly for anybody transporting valuable paintings from one place to another, as few objects combine such value (be it material or sentimental) with such fragility.

If you have one or more valuable paintings that you need transporting, your choice of packing materials is absolutely key. Don't simply choose generic packing materials such as polystyrene peanuts or shredded newspaper, as these materials can settle in transit, leaving your paintings unprotected. They can also contain chemicals that damage delicate oil or watercolour paints. Instead, choose packaging solutions designed specifically for transporting paintings and other artwork.

Tissue paper

The first step of preparing any painting for transportation is protecting the paint itself, and this is usually achieved by covering it with tissue paper. This protects fragile paint from moisture and dust, but you shouldn't just use whatever you have in your bathroom. Most general purpose tissue papers contain acids left behind from the paper-making process, which can significantly damage the thin, delicate layers of paint (particularly oil paints). Instead, choose acid-free tissue paper, which is available from most good packing supply retailers.

Plastic wrap

Plastic wrap provides a vital vapour barrier against paint-damaging humidity, and should be applied to all paintings, especially older works prone to flaking. However, you should also make sure that the plastic does not adhere to the paint in anyway, as this can peel off paint flakes and severely damage your artwork. For this reason, ordinary cling film is unsuitable, so choose robust cellophane or polyurethane sheets instead.

As an alternative, you may wish to choose bubble wrap, as it provides the moisture-sealing properties or ordinary plastic wrap, combined with extra padding against knocks. However, you will need to seal edges and corners of the wrapping firmly, ideally with a robust, waterproof tape.

Foam roll

A valuable tool for padding, foam roll does not settle like loose packing materials, and it is durable enough to withstand long journeys without cracking. If possible, choose unbleached foam roll to prevent damage to wooden picture frames. If you can't get your hands on foam roll, corrugated cardboard will do in a pinch, but make sure it is thick. (Use multiple layers if necessary.)

Boxes and crates

The first line of defence for your painting, boxes and crates should be strong and robust, but should not be so heavy that they are difficult to carry—getting your painting all the way to your new home and them dropping it in the driveway is no fun at all. Strong handles fitted to the crate can make carrying easier. Art suppliers sell a variety of crates for this purpose—telescoping wooden crates are popular, as they can be adjusted to fit a variety of painting sizes, and will not fall apart during transit.