How to Pack and Move a Mirror

Whether you’re moving to a new home or staying in an old one, legend has it that broken mirrors mean seven years of bad luck.That said, packing large mirrors (and framed pictures and paintings) isn’t particularly difficult –  but you need the right boxes and some basic know-how.

If DIY packing and moving aren’t in the cards, we recommend hiring an experienced moving company with verified customer reviews and letting professional packers handle your mirrors.

On the other hand, if you have the time and skills to do it yourself, you’ll significantly decrease the likelihood of damaging your large mirrors by following these simple packing tips.

1. Gather Your Packing Materials

When it comes to packing mirrors and other breakables or fragile items, buying cheap moving boxes is a really bad idea.

Opting for high-quality packing materials costs more, but it’s money well spent if avoiding unnecessary damage is important. And more importantly, choose the right types of boxes. 

But unfortunately, mirror cartons (picture boxes) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and knowing which to use can be tricky.

For large mirrors – those at least 3 feet long on a side – the 4-piece ones used by most professional movers are your best bet.

Not only does each piece of cardboard snug together so your mirror won’t shift during transit, but the sides overlap, giving extra protection where it’s needed most.

You’ll also need –

  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape or masking tape
  • Sturdy scissors or a razor knife
  • A permanent marker or Sharpie
  • Large brown paper pads (packing paper)
  • At least one clean full-size moving blanket (furniture pad)
  • A screwdriver or pliers to remove mirrors from dressers

Insider’s Tip

You should pack long, heavy mirrors, antiques, and those with sentimental value in custom wooden crates before moving them.

2. Create a Clutter-Free Packing Area

A workstation free of obstacles and obstructions makes the packing process easier and safer.

The following areas work well –

  • A large bed in a spare bedroom
  • A dining room table (cover it with a clean moving pad first)
  • A carpeted floor

It’s important to move items like chairs, plant stands, and coat racks out of the way first because bumping into them with fragile mirrors or framed pictures can cause breakage.

One at a time, collect 4 or 5 mirrors, carry them to your work area and stack them upright against a wall.

If you have a large multi-level home, having a packing area on each floor is a good idea.

3. Prepare Your Mirror Cartons

If you’re using one-piece mirror boxes, thoroughly tape one end closed and leave the other open.

Then, based on the size of the carton, find mirrors that have similar dimensions.

The closer the two are in size, the less likely damage will be.

When using 4-piece cartons, fold and tape each corner and set the individual pieces against a nearby wall, so you don’t trip over them.

Since 4-piece mirror cartons can extend or telescope to match the size of your mirror, you don’t need to be so careful about matching sizes.

Did You Know…

Mirror cartons and other high-quality packing materials are available from online retailers like Amazon and Uboxes, from your moving company or truck rental company (U-Haul), as well as home improvement centers like The Home Depot.

4. Wrap Your Mirrors Like a Pro

Start by removing rings, wristwatches, and belts with big metal buckles – they can break mirrors with the slightest tap.

Next, unfold a brown paper pad over your work area and place the item in the center with the glass surface of the mirror facing down.

Tip:  Set the mirror on an angle, so it’s pointing toward one of the pad’s corners – it’ll help make your folds neater.

Fold the top down, the sides in, and finally, the bottom up toward the center.

Next, run strips of packing tape around the wrapped mirror both vertically and horizontally.

For valuable and fragile items, cut a section from a spare carton identical to the size of the mirror and place it on top of the paper pad over the glass.

Add a few pieces of tape to hold it in place, then wrap the whole bundle in a layer of bubble wrap or two.

Did You Know…

Using painter’s tape to apply an “X” on a mirror’s glass surface will hold the pieces together if the glass cracks during your move, but if packed and loaded correctly, it’s an unnecessary step.

5. Slide Your Mirror into a Box

One-piece Mirror Cartons

Now that you’ve bundled your mirror in multiple layers of protective material, it’s just a matter of slipping it into the box.

If you’re using a one-piece box, there will likely be empty spaces on the sides or ends between the mirror and carton.

If so, you can –

  • Stuff the empty areas with crumpled newspaper or an old towel
  • wrap the mirror in another brown pad or more bubble wrap to thicken it

Avoid using styrofoam packing peanuts for padding – they’re bad for the environment and tend to shift around when moved, leaving fragile areas exposed.

If the box is too long, trim it down to the proper size using your scissors or razor knife.

4-piece Mirror Boxes

Start by taping and fitting two pieces together to use as your base.

Put them together, making sure one side overlaps the other slightly, then put your mirror inside and push each section of cardboard together until they’re snug.

Using two more pieces, do the same on the top and telescope them over the bottom cartons.

Apply at least two verticle and two horizontal strips of tape around the box to hold everything in place.

Give the carton a gentle shake – you shouldn’t hear anything jostling around inside.

Insider’s Tip

When properly packed, mirror cartons don’t need extra corner protectors, but if your boxes come with them, use them just in case.

6. Label Each Mirror Carton

Some mirror cartons come from the manufacturer with warnings printed on them.

If not, you’ll want to add –

  • FRAGILE
  • DO NOT LAY FLAT 
  • HANDLE WITH CARE

Also, note what’s inside and what room it came from.

7. Load Them Correctly

Mirror cartons loaded into a moving truck incorrectly are more likely to get damaged.

They should never be loaded flat (horizontal), even when they’re on top.

Instead, set them on their edges and stack them against a solid surface like a wall or bulkhead.

When it comes to packing and moving a mirror and other breakables, you can either do it yourself or hire professional movers who can make sure your items are transported safely and without damage.

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