You do not want to lose money because of inacurate shipping charges so we suggest you gather as much realistic information as possible and add it to each listing.
We expect all of our EC artists to follow these packaging guidelines in order to reduce shipping damages and returned products.
Any artist who does not pack their art following either these guidelines or others approved by us will forfeit their sale revenue and have to pay all return shipping charges if their work comes into the buyer damaged.
To make sure all artists are securing their packages correctly, we ask you to fill out a Shipping Details form before the package is given to the courier.
Table of Contents
DON’T LOSE MONEY ON SHIPPING COSTS
- Measure the length, width and height of your artwork in order to select an appropriately sized box or shipping tube.
- UPS –How To Measure Your Package Size
- USPS – How to Prepare and Send a Package
- Artwork should fit securely in the shipping container without being squished (too tight) or moving around inside (too loose).
- Most of the freight companies will only cover damage in packaging that gives you a 2” buffer. Be sure and read your freight company’s damage and packaging policy to confirm you are meeting their requirements.
- Weigh your package, rounding up to the next whole pound.
- Then determine the dimensional weight using this formula: L x W x H
- Example; A box 28” x 4” x 24” measures out to 2,688 cubic inches
- Contact the shipper you prefer to use to compare the ship fees using the package’s actual weight to its dimensional weight. The greater fee of the two is the billable weight and should be used to calculate the rate.
- You may ship unframed artwork that’s larger than 48-by-48 inches, and framed pieces that are larger than 18-by-24 inches, in a wooden crate.
- Build a customized crate (directions below)
- To ship large 2D work in a box, we found some options;
- Ship smaller 2D works in double-wall corrugated box that will minimize movement and offer adequate space for padding.
- Add 6 inches to the length, width and height of your artwork to allow for cushioning.
TIP: Don’t reuse a box. A recycled box may provide less protection and if it’s banged up or marked from a previous shipment, it looks unprofessional.
SHIPPING IN A TUBE
- Ship unmounted artwork that may be rolled up without damage in a sturdy shipping tube that’s at least 4 inches longer than the shortest side of your flat artwork. Allow for 4 to 5 inches of padding on each side of the rolled art.
- Wrap canvases completely in acid-free, archival-quality glassine paper to help protect against dust and moisture. Ensure that the paper covers all sides and edges of the art, and then secure it with acid-free artist tape.
- If you’re going to roll your painting, protect it with glassine paper. First, place it atop two sheets of glassine paper that are at least 2 inches larger than the artwork on all four sides. Place paper-based art (drawings, photographs, prints, watercolors) face up on the glassine. Position fabric-based works (canvas, linen) face down before rolling to help avoid cracking or breaking.
- Shipping multiple pieces in a tube? Place a sheet of glassine paper between each work before rolling. Layer the art from largest to smallest, and make sure every piece is facing the same direction (face up or face down). Keep the roll secure with a strip of artist tape.
- Make sure you wrap the painting with at least one layer of bubble wrap, sealed with tape, before placing it in the mailing tube.
HOW TO PACK FRAMED ARTWORK
Mark Glass With an ‘X’. If the frame has a glass covering, use masking or painters tape to place an “X” across the glass. This will stop the glass from totally shattering or moving around too much if it breaks.
- Then STARTING ON THE BACK OF THE PAINTING, wrap with protective plastic wrap. Pull the wrap tightly around the artwork, applying pressure the entire time so it doesn’t bunch or tangle. Go slowly, keep it smooth and professional looking.
- Watch your corners. Protect both framed and mounted artwork with cardboard corner protectors. Secure the triangle pieces to all four corners with artist tape. Corners go OVER the plastic wrap.
- Next add a thicker, stiffer layer of protective cardboard.
- In order to insure a piece, shipping companies may require a “double-box”. This cardboard layer should satisfy the “second box” requirement.
- Single-walled cardboard is fine for most jobs unless it’s a heavy or very delicate piece, then use double-walled.
- Protect the surface of the painting by wrapping all pieces in two to three layers of bubble wrap or an eco-friendly alternative.
- Face the bubbles outward so they don’t push into your artwork.
- Tape all seams of the bubble wrap with packing tape to provide a barrier against moisture.
- OPTIONAL: Position your bubble-wrapped artwork between two pieces of foam board that are at least 1/2-inch thick for an added layer of protection. Tape the boards together with packing tape to create the ‘bread” of an art “sandwich.”
- Note: Don’t tape your boards together too tightly as excessive pressure may damage the surface of the art.
- If there’s air pockets or space in the outer box, you must fill it.
- Avoid packing peanuts, which can settle into the bottom of the box and leave the top edges of the art exposed. We suggest kraft paper.
- Cover all seams on the top and bottom of the box or tube completely with strong, pressure-sensitive poly tape that’s at least 2 inches wide. Apply additional vertical strips of tape across the sealed flaps for reinforcement.
- Do not use duct tape or other household tapes to seal the container. Tape that is not designed for packaging may not be sturdy enough for transportation. It also gives your package an unprofessional appearance.
- Cheap tape may peel away, exposing your inner packaging and worse, your artwork may fall out of the box!
For an extremely detailed “How To,” with photos, read this article .
CRATES FOR SHIPPING LARGE ARTWORK
Furniture and lighting designers and sculpture or mixed media artists, you can buy crates online here, or here or even at a shipping supplier to ship 3D work, large flat artwork, paintings larger than 48″x48″, and fragile, 3D items.
If you’re one of those “hands on” artists that wants to build a custom crate yourself, this is what you’ll need:
- Four (4) planks of plywood (¼ to ½ inch thick depending on size and fragility of the work) for the frame
- Two (2) plywood sheets for the front and back panels
- 1¼ inch wood screws
- Wood glue
- Foam board, ½” thick
Step 1 – Measure your pre-wrapped artwork (wrapped according to the instructions given for your particular work), taking down the height, width, and depth of the wrapped piece. If you’re shipping a painting, use these measurements to calculate the dimensions of your plywood pieces for the frame of your crate. Keep in mind that you will add a ½” foam board lining to your crate, so accommodate for this. If you’re shipping a sculpture, make sure that the crate’s dimensions are approximately three (3) to four (4) inches larger on all sides than the sculpture itself. The extra space will be filled with bubble wrap and shredded paper
Step 2 – Cut four pieces of plywood according to the dimensions you took in step 1 in order to build a frame with an opening that can snugly fit your wrapped work. Remember to account for the thickness of the plywood when measuring length and height, and cut accordingly. The top piece of the frame should sit on and extend over the top edges of the side pieces, as it must be easily removable. This piece will act as the crate’s lid, to be unscrewed by the collector.
Step 3 – Begin building the frame by assembling three (3) of the plywood strips together with screws and wood glue, leaving the top piece (i.e. lid) off for now. It will be screwed on after the artwork has been placed inside.
Step 4 – Line the frame with strips of foam board, securing them on with tape or glue. If using glue to line the crate with foam board, wait for it to dry before finishing the packing process.
Step 5 – Cut two sheets of plywood to the same dimensions of the assembled frame. These will be the front and back panels of your crate.
Step 6 – Secure one sheet to the back of the frame using wood glue and screws.
Step 7 – You will then complete the packaging process by placing your artwork inside and sealing the crate around it. Lay a piece of foam board (the same size as the frame) inside the open crate, and place your pre-wrapped artwork on top. There should be no room for movement inside.
Step 8 – Cover your artwork with another layer of foam board. Place the other sheet of Masonite board on top of the frame, securing well with wood glue and screws. Do your best to ensure that the crate is air and moisture tight.
Step 9 – Clearly indicate which panel is the removable lid by writing “UNSCREW THIS SIDE ONLY” so the collector knows which panel to remove. If needed, write any instructions (using a black felt tip pen) on the crate that will help the collector easily remove the lid.
Step 10 – Affix the shipping label to the outside and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Clearly mark the crate or box as “FRAGILE.”
TIP: For ease of transport, you can screw a cabinet handle to the top of the crate. The screws should be long enough so that the handle doesn’t come loose while someone is carrying the crate, but not so long that they protrude into the interior of the crate.
Fool-Proof method for Shipping Art | by Laura den Hertog – I have been shipping art around the world for the last six years, and in all that time and hundreds of paintings later, I have only had one painting damaged by the post office.
How to create a bubble wrap envelope for your framed artwork – two methods for creating an envelope
Katherine Kean Fine Art: Wrap Em Up, Ship Em Out – Fortunately the organizers of the exhibition had arranged for a discount to the artists on AirFloat Systems lined strong boxes. I really like using these boxes to ship because they give me great confidence that the artwork will arrive undamaged.
How to Safely and Securely Package Your Artwork for Shipping – When packing up your art for shipping to the gallery or to a customer, the most important thing is to have it arrive intact. Here are a few systems that I’ve used over the years