How to safely pack and ship your two dimensional art

I want to make sure my collectors receive my art in the exact same condition it left my studio, so I am very careful about how I pack and ship my artworks.  Shipping unframed prints is very simple as I can put the print into an archival plastic print sleeve and roll up prints into a cardboard shipping tube.  Framed artwork is another matter.  I only ship framed artwork with acrylic glazing (plexiglass) because it is much safer for the art.  Shipping framed art with real glass in it is best left to the professional art packers and shippers who build a custom wooden and foam encasement for an artwork.

In this post I share the steps I take to pack and ship art:

  1. I place tissue paper over the plexiglass to prevent scratching during shipment.
  2. I cut cardboard right angle braces to perfectly fit the frame. These protect the frame from any dings.  To avoid marring the frame finish, I do not tape them on. Instead I use plastic palate wrap to hold the braces and tissue paper in place
  3. Then I wrap the frame in bubble wrap and secure it with packing tape.
  4. Then I cut a piece of cardboard the same dimensions as the box and place it in the box. I put this on the back of the art for extra puncture resistance during shipping. 
  5. It is important to select a box which has 2-3" of space on the length and width of the frame.  I fill this space firmly with soft packing materials, such as bubble wrap, foam bits, recycled newspapers etc..  It is very important that the artwork not be allowed to shift around in the box because this can lead to damage.  Filling the empty space in the box gives both cushioning and stability.
  6. I make sure to mark both large flat sides of the box with large "FRAGILE" and "ART INSIDE- NO WEIGHT ON FACE"  signs in a bold lettering

I hope this information helps you next time you need to pack and ship art to a show or for an exhibition loan!