I have been asked on several occasions to write about how to ship paintings. Every artist has their own ways of having their work transported and many prefer to leave that chore to others that specialize in shipping, or they may use companies like Art Pack that will pick up the art and deliver it, no packaging required. Some artists even prefer to just deliver the art themselves if the distance is not too far.
I have always packaged and shipped my paintings using courier services. I find it simple and very manageable. I have shipped many paintings over the years and I have developed a good system by paying attention to what works well, and focusing on what is most efficient and practical. I will give a quick tutorial here that you may find helpful for getting your art off to galleries and clients.
This is a picture of the things you will need, from bottom left to right: Shrink wrap roll, packing tape and dispenser, roll of packing paper, masking tape, utility knife. The items are all sitting on a piece of 1 inch insulating foam that you can buy at the hardware store. It comes in 4×8′ sheets. It comes in blue or pink color, I like blue. It is very light and easy to cut with the utility knife. This is NOT styrofoam, the white stuff that crumbles into little pieces when you cut or break it.
OK, here we go:
1. Wrap your paintings or panels in the wraping paper. You can buy these rolls at shipping supply stores or even some hardware stores.
2. If you have more than one painting to ship, stack them together with the painted sides facing inward.
3. Use the shrink wrap to bundle them together so they cannot move around.
4. Cut pieces of the foam board to cover the tops and sides, creating a box around the paintings. Use the packing tape to hold the pieces in place.
5. Use the brown paper to cover it over and tape the corners and edges to help prevent tearing.
Its just that easy.
I use an online shipping broker company called Shiptime. It is an excellent company that works with several courier companies and provides excellent discounts compared to dealing directly with the courier companies. Once I have entered the address of the recipient and enter the dimensions and weight of the package, I can choose from a list of courier companies that shows their rates and delivery schedule. I print off the labels and the paintings are picked up at my door.
Insurance is a concern for some artists but I have never used it. It is difficult to get insurance because couriers have been defrauded in the past by artists making exaggerated claims on the value of their art. To get insurance you need to have the art appraised by an independent authority. Of the hundreds of paintings I have shipped over the years I have never had any lost and only a couple damaged, but not to the point where they could not be easily restored.