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How to Pack a Lamp

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You probably have a lamp in your home. While very common, lamps are also extremely delicate. The shade, base, and light bulb are all very fragile and break easily. If you need to move a lamp, the packing quality will determine if it survives the move. Here are a few ways you can pack your lamp to keep it safe.


You can't just throw a lamp into a box and expect it to survive the move. Make sure to properly prepare your lamp before packing.
  • Unplug the lamp. You must handle the light bulb and the surrounding metal frame (the harp) so make sure the bulb isn't hot. Unplug the lamp and give it time to cool. You also risk getting shocked if the lamp is still plugged in.
  • Clean the lamp and the shade. This won't protect the lamp but it is unpleasant to handle dusty items. Since you're going to be taking it apart anyway, now is a good time to clean it. Don't be too rough with the shade--overzealous rubbing or vacuuming can easily damage the light paper and/or fabric.
  • Take everything apart. The shade, base, and bulb will all be packed separately. If the harp is removable, take it off the base to shorten it.
  • Find appropriate boxes for the base and the shade. There are lamp-specific tall boxes that can be purchased from a packing or moving company. Any box that is slightly larger than the base will do. The shade needs a separate box.
  • Use the original cardboard sheathes for light bulbs. You could also use a cell box if you're moving several bulbs. Another option is placing the bulb in a small plastic or paper cup with paper cushioning.
  • Gather packing materials. There are a few options to use for cushioning. Bubble wrap will work for the base, but you could also use a heavy towel. Use packing paper for the base, bulb, and shade. Use packing peanuts for additional cushioning in any box. Packing tape is necessary for any boxed item.


The base
The base is the heaviest and sturdiest part of a lamp, but it still is fragile. Most lamps are ceramic or glass, meaning they are especially vulnerable to breaking.
  • Gently lay the base on its side on packing paper, bubble wrap, or a heavy towel. To be extra safe you can use more than one of these to wrap your base.
  • As you roll the lamp up, remember to secure the power cord in the wrapping. You could also tape the cord to the already wrapped part of the base.
  • Don't tape the cord directly to the lamp. The tape could leave residue on the lamp base and even damage the paint.
  • Add more wrapping material to the bottom and the top of the base after rolling up the sides.
  • Secure the wrapping with packing tape after the lamp base is totally covered.
  • Add some cushioning material to the bottom of the lamp box.
  • Place the lamp upright in the box.
  • Fill in any extra space with packing paper or peanuts until the lamp base cannot move.
  • Seal the box with tape and label it "fragile."
The lampshade
Lampshades are difficult to pack because they have hollow space and are very weak. Any outside pressure can damage them easily.
  • Place some packing paper on the bottom of a box.
  • Place the shade upright on the paper.
  • Add some more packing paper or peanuts to the outside of the shade along the walls of the box.
  • Add some more cushioning material on the inside of the shade.
  • Once the shade seems secure, seal the box with packing tape.
  • If you are packing multiple lampshades, you could stack them on each other. Just make sure you don't force one on another if it doesn't fit.
  • Seal the box with tape and label the box "fragile" with a note saying that other items should not be stacked on top of it.
The light bulb
Light bulbs are very delicate so moving them can be difficult. Since they are quite cheap, consider just replacing them during a move, especially if the current ones had a good run.
If you do choose to move them:
  • The light bulbs' original box is great for moving them. If you kept this box, use it to move the bulbs.
  • If you have a lot of bulbs, you can create or buy a full cell box to transport them.
The harp and other small metal pieces
If there are any small metal pieces that you removed from the lamp, be more concerned with keeping track of them than protecting them from damage. Place them all in a bag and label them.

If you are careful, you should be able to use your lamp to light up your new home right after the move. If you don't want the hassle of packing such fragile items, you could always hire the movers to do it.

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on October 9, 2014 - Moving Expert
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