Do you know how to pack your paintings for shipping? Packing paintings can seem like a daunting task and many artists worry about whether they’re packing them correctly – it’s certainly true that much damage can be avoided by packing artwork properly. In this video tutorial, art handler Peter shares his professional expertise with simple instructions to help you pack your artwork like a pro.
Our video demonstrates how to pack a painting as well as a framed photograph. Take a look at some of the video’s highlighted points…
First of all, you’re going to need some supplies (0:14):
- Packing tape (tape gun recommended)
- Artist tape (like masking tape but it’s acid free and it’s easily removable)
- Exacto knife or a pair of scissors
- Measuring tape
- Glassine (a paper that is water- and grease-resistant, and it’s not going to stick to the surface of your painting)
- Foam or a blanket (soft surface)
- Bubble-wrap or sheets of Styrofoam (for padding)
- Cardboard box(es)
For packing framed work, you’re also going to need:
- Cardboard corners
- Brown paper
And for a mounted photograph or anything high glossy:
- Nitrile or art handling cloth gloves
But first, make sure your hands are clean!
1. Glassine tips (1:45):
- Put your painting face down on the glassine, leaving enough room to wrap around the edges.
- Don’t use packing tape, only artist tape here!
- Fold the end of artist tape to leave little nub to grab the tape with (so that it can be easily removed when it comes time to unpack).
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- Tape all of the longest edges first (as when wrapping a present).
- Try to tape onto the glassine itself.
- The less tape that actually goes onto a piece, the better.
2. Bubble Wrap tips (3:03):
- Place the surface of your painting face-down against the flat or the smooth side of the bubble wrap. If you put the raised side of the bubble wrap against your piece, there is a chance that it might leave an impression of the bubbles on your painting.
- You may need to wrap a piece in multiple layers of bubble wrap.
- You’ll want to make sure that you have at least two inches of extra bubble wrap on either side.
- Now you can use packing tape across the seam of the bubble wrap to secure it.
- Push down on wrap before folding to leave extra padding on the sides of the piece.
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3. Boxing tips (7:56):
- Your box is going to be pushed and slid everywhere on the delivery truck, so make sure to completely tape up all the sides of your box.
- To make a box top, you’ll need a scoreline for the cardboard to easily fold; to do this, run the dull end of your knife (blade not extended) along a line you’ve created with your pen & measuring tape.
- Keep room for extra protective padding and use a box a little bit bigger than your piece.
- If packing more than one piece into a box, put some cardboard between them so that the front of the canvases are facing each other in the box.
- After taping, attach to the large side of the box the packing labels as well as the exhibition forms that we emailed to you.
- We advise against the use of packing peanuts. If the box is damaged the peanuts will spill out of any hole in the box and your work may get damaged as well.
Packing Framed Art (13:49):
When packing a framed piece of artwork, especially one with glass, we do things a little bit differently.
- Use wider artist tape and tape off the glass in a star pattern- that way, if it were to break during transit it wouldn’t damage your artwork.
- Then, wrap the whole piece in brown paper (again, as you would wrap a present).
- Adding protective cardboard corners is one of the most important elements to packing a framed piece.
- Next, wrap in two layers of small bubble wrap (and more large bubble wrap, depending on the size of the box you’re using).
- Again, leave at least two inches on the sides for extra padding.
- Add a cardboard base layer (before or after the small bubble wrap).
0:14 – Supplies
0:57 – Set Up
1:45 – Glassine
3:03 – Bubble Wrap
7:56 – Boxing
9:31 – Making A Box Top
11:27 – Padding
12:13 – Multiple Works
12:31 – Closing the Box
13:15 – Attaching Forms
13:36 – Packing Advice
13:49 – Packing Framed Art
14:50 – Cardboard Corners
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Are you going to be shipping your artwork rolled in a tube? We’ve got a guide for that too!