Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Art of Shipping a Painting

I've had several inquiries from other artists regarding how I ship my paintings, so I've decided to do my first "How-To" blog post to help take the guess work out of the process...

I've shipped my original oil paintings and reproductions all over the world, and can say with pride that the packaging kept them safe and sound throughout each long journey. Every parcel is made from scratch using repurposed cardboard and paddled with repurposed bubble wrap. 

To learn how to save a few bucks by making your own boxes, you'll need a few basic tools, materials, and simply follow these 8 steps...

Box-cutter or Xacto knife
Metal ruler, at least 24" long
Cutting mat
Black marker

Clear plastic bags to fit artwork (keep original canvas plastic wrap, or find a clear bag that fits)
Cardboard sheets, repurposed or from your local supplier
Bubblewrap, repurposed or from your local supplier
Packing tape (the pricey kind that sticks)
Foamcore, optional (from your local framer or art supply store)

Time: 1-2 hours for your first time.

In the following demonstration, I was packing 3 paintings to ship together. Normally you might only be shipping 1, but this idea works well if you're planning on shipping several paintings to an art festival, too.
The paintings I was packaging were the following sizes: 20"x30", 20"x20", and 16"x16", all with 1 1/2" depth. Note, the 16" square will nest within the 20" square painting, with the canvas secured against widget foam core to prevent denting.

The basic steps to follow are to wrap the painting in plastic, protect the face of it and the back of it with a durable material, wrap it in big bubble wrap, then cover it in cardboard, each layer secured with packing tape.

Step #1: First, I measured and cut the foam core to fit the front and back of the 20"x30" painting, and the back of the 20"x20" painting (see Diagram #1).

Step #2: Wrap the largest painting in its plastic wrapping and tape opening shut. Lay the cut foam core against the front and the back of the painting. Tape ends and middle with packing tape.

Diagram #1: Measuring the foam core prior to cutting.
Step #3: Wrap 20" square painting in plastic wrapping and tape shut. Lay it canvas side down against foam core of larger painting from Step 2. Line up edges on 3 sides so they are flush.

Step #4: Wrap smallest painting (16" square) in plastic wrapping or bag, tape shut taking care that there are no creases against the canvas side of the wrapping, then place inside the 20" square painting. The canvas side of the 20" square painting won't stretch or dent with the smaller painting nested inside because it is resting firmly against the foam core.

Step #5: Lay the 20" square foam core cut in Step 1 against the back of the painting. Tape the sides and middle, then tape it to the 20x30" painting so they are now secured together (see Diagram #2).
Diagram #2: Taping the foam core to the canvases, securing them together.
Step #6: Wrap the canvas package in bubble wrap, taking care to measure properly before cutting to ensure all the sides are protected (see Diagram #3).
Diagram #3: Measuring, cutting, wrapping, and taping bubble wrap.
Step #7: Using the bubble-wrapped package to measure, lay it flat against the cardboard and mark out the cut lines, one side at a time. Cut the cardboard over a cutting board to prevent any damage to your wood floors or tables!

Step #8: Repeat the previous step for each of the sides. Again, make sure you use the package itself as a measuring guide to mark the cut lines (see Diagram #4).

Diagram #4: Measuring, cutting, and taping sides of package together.
...And you're done!

Now fasten some fragile stickers and tape over the addresses (both to and from) to make sure the label doesn't peel off or water doesn't smudge the addresses by accident (see Diagram #5).

Oh! And always make sure you get a tracking number with your method of shipping.

Good luck!
Diagram #5: Affixing "fragile" stickers and writing the addresses.

1 comment:

  1. You're really a pro in shipping paintings, Diana! Proper packaging simply means using the right materials and using them the right way. Don't overdo anything or the packaging might cause damage to the artwork. Also, inform the shipping company about the needs of your artwork, like the temperature, etc.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.