How to Move a Crystal Chandelier AKA How to Dismantle & Pack a Crystal Chandelier
You would think "How to Move a Crystal Chandelier" and "How to Dismantle & Pack a Crystal Chandelier" would be two different topics... but they are not! Ask any chandelier restoration expert and they will agree that the best way to move a chandelier is to dismantle it and pack it.
We believe with our whole heart that if you are removing a crystal-armed chandelier from one location and transporting it to another location, it should be taken apart and packed. I know - I hear you say that if you crate it properly, it will be fine. But, it might not be and why take the chance?
If a chandelier hangs within a crate, it can bang around in that crate. If it is secured so that it can't swing, pressure is placed on those tension points. Either scenario can shatter the crystal pieces. And, if you have had it happen, you know how hard it is to match a broken chandelier arm.
We ship thousands of our chandeliers, and we always ship them with the arms removed from the main fixture, wrapped, and packed withing packing pellets. We also carefully wrap then hanging crystal so that these pieces don't touch one another.
Below is the method that we recommend. These instructions will work with many crystal chandeliers made within the last 70 years or so. If your chandelier is an antique, or you think it is exceptionally valuable, please consult a professional.
- Take photos and make diagrams of where all the crystal pendants and strands hang. Don't rely on original instructions.
- Lay out your tissue paper on a table, then carefully place your prisms/pendants on the tissue paper so that they do not touch. Fold the paper with the pendants inside the folds - you will have to be the judge of how many per sheet of paper to use, but you don't want the final result to be so heavy or large that the crystals tear through the paper. Tape and label. For example: Prisms for Top.
- For strands, use the same method as above, making sure that the strands do not tangle. Once the crystals have all been removed, you can work with the chandelier without all the crystals banging against each other.
- Make sure the power to your fixture off!
- Remove the bottom of the chandelier to get to the nuts that are holding the arms onto the fixture. You can see instructions on how to remove the bottom of our chandeliers here and here. Wrap the bottom in bubble wrap.
- Disconnect the wiring from the arms. While holding the outer, heavy part of the arm, unscrew the nut on the underside of the plate that is holding the arm and lift the arm out of the plate. Remove the light bulb and wrap the arm carefully in bubble wrap. Do this for all of the arms.
- Disconnect the chandelier from the ceiling and remove the stem of the chandelier from the chain. Wrap the stem well in bubble wrap.
- Don't forget to remove your chain, canopy, screw loop and cross bar. You will want to take this with you as it might be original to the chandelier.
- In the bottom of a box large enough for the arms, make sure you have some good cushioning material: layered bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Carefully lay the arms in making sure that there is cushion between each and around each arm. Arrange them so that the heavy parts (candle cups and bobeches) are not on top of one another.
- We pack the bottom and crystals in a separate box from the arms.
- Either place the stem in a box or transport it securely without a box.
- If possible, transport the boxes yourself instead of relying on the moving company. They won't treat it as lovingly as you will.
This all may sound a bit time-consuming, but I promise that this method of packing your chandelier will take less time than trying to find matches to broken components of your chandelier!
We will concede that if your chandelier is very small - say 18" wide, you can probably move it without taking it apart. But, we do recommend taking the crystals off so that they don't bang against each other and chip. Don't pack the frame in a box - keep it where you can see it. Simply place it in the seat of your car and place the seat belt around it. And, make sure not to crack it by hitting it on the door frame on the way in and out of the car.
Whatever you do, do it carefully!
- King's Chandelier Company