how to ship Artwork
Artwork can be a highly-prized and expensive product. Getting it delivered free of damage can become a critical undertaking. Follow our guide on how you can send paintings or other pieces of art safely.
1. Correctly measure the artwork
In order to find the right parcel, box or tube to ship your artwork in, you will need to accurately measure the length, width and height of your artwork.
2. Find the right box or container
Framed or unframed artwork that is either 48-by-48 inches or 18-by-24 inches should be shipped inside a wooden crate. You can either buy a crate or build your own.
3. BUILD YOUR OWN CRATE TO SHIP ARTWORK
- Take 5 pieces of Plywood and build a frame according to the dimensions of your artwork.
- Cut a 6th piece of plywood for the top and make sure it extends over the top edges of the sides.
- Attach the 4 sides together with screws and wood glue and then the bottom of the crate. Do not attach the lid yet.
- Glue foam onto the bottom of the frame and the sides. Wait for the glue to dry.
- Place the artwork inside the crate and put a sheet of foam over the artwork.
- Secure the lid with glue and screws and place a hardboard Masonite panel onto the lid. Secure the Masonite panel with screws and glue as well.
- Affix the shipping label on the lid and write; "UNSCREW THIS SIDE ONLY" and "FRAGILE"
4. HOW TO SHIP SMALL WORKS OF ART & UNMOUNTED PIECES
Small pieces of art should be packed into corrugated double wall boxes. Mirrors and picture boxes can be shipped in picture frame boxes. Never re-use a box that has previously been used to ship an item. Doing so will increase the chance of causing damage to your artwork.
Unmounted artwork should be shipped in a strong shipping tube - in order to get your artwork shipped safely choose a tube that is slightly bigger than the artwork. To do so, lay out your artwork and measure the shortest side. Add another 5 inches to that measurement and you should have an ideally sized tube to ship your artwork inside of.
5. Protecting Artwork for shipping
Adding a protective layer around artwork in order to protect it during shipping is important. Products most commonly used to protect artwork include:
- Bubble Wrap
- Glassine paper
Bubble wrap is perfect for protecting artwork surfaces. Wrap surfaces with at least 3 layers of bubble wrap, making sure that the flat side of the bubble wrap is facing downwards onto the surface and the protruding bubbles face outwards. Tape the bubble wrap seams to protect against moisture. Rolled artwork should have a single layer of bubble wrap applied to it prior to it being placed into a tube.
Foam can be used to wrap the bottom and front of artwork, after first having wrapped the piece in bubble wrap. Remember not to tape the foam sheets too tightly, as doing so may cause damage due to excessive pressure.
Glassine paper is especially suited to protecting canvases, rolled up paintings and multiple pieces of artwork shipped inside of a single tube. Glassine paper helps to protect artwork from water and dust. The corners of framed and unframed art should be protected with cardboard corner protectors and secured in place with artists tape.
6. HOW TO PROTECT GLASS AND ACRYLIC ARTWORK
Tape an 'X' shape over the surface of the painting using artists tape and then tightly wrap cling film over the surface. Doing so will stop the glass from damaging the art if the Glass shatters.
7. SEAL THE CRATE, BOX OR SHIPPING TUBE CORRECTLY
Use high-quality pressure sensitive tape that is at least 2 inches wide to tape the seams of the create, box or shipping tube that you will be using to send your artwork inside of. Never use duct tape or standard tape to seal boxes carrying important items such as artwork, as they lack the strength of pressure sensitive tape and may disintegrate or brake apart during the shipping process.
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