How to Safely Pack Paintings for Shipping

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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…

Settings for packing paintings for shipping

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

Materials you need before packing paintings for shipping

Let’s Begin

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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Glassine tips

  • 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.

Bubble wrap tips for safely packing your paintings


  • 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. 

How to box your paintings properly


  • 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.

Put some cardboard between pieces of art if you're packing more that two into the same 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.

Apply wider artist tape in a star pattern when packing framed art

  • 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.

Add cardboard corners on framed art when packing them for transport

  • 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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Have more questions? Comment below or email us at

Applying tape on a piece of art rolled into a tube Are you going to be shipping your artwork rolled in a tube? We’ve got a guide for that too!


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33 responses to “How to Safely Pack Paintings for Shipping”

  1. swim fins avatar

    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject,
    but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

  2. 창원출장마사지 avatar

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  3. Lisa avatar

    Does this packing work in the same way if there is a high gloss canvas? Im concerned with sticking/indentations in the art piece.


  4. LaVonne Johnson avatar

    Where did you purchase your bubble wrap?

  5. Kathy Valadez avatar

    Awesome post to learn about product packaging. I explore more ways about packaging from a site. Then I move here and explore more.

  6. Custom Boxes avatar

    Amazing! Thank you for this very informative post. This post could help lots of people who need this kind of information. Love to see more post from your side in future!

  7. Nora Liam avatar

    Your packaging video is very helpful.

  8. Isla Caton avatar

    It is very helpful for me.Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Mark Wilson avatar

    Nice video.
    Good Job.

  10. Sam Zaki avatar

    Fantastic . Excellent and very informative. good job Peter
    can you please let me know where to buy the tape and the dispenser you used in the presentation? it seems like it very good quality.
    Thank you

  11. Gregory Grim avatar

    I found this video MOST informative. Thank you!

  12. Barbara Sbrocca avatar

    Thanks very much for this video. Any suggestion for those like me who make 3D sculpture-paintings?

    1. Daisy O Connell avatar

      Hi Barbara,

      Ensure your sculptures are packed carefully to minimize breakages.

  13. Gary avatar

    About the large canvas, is possible that the bubble wrap can exert pressure causing it to sink ?… especially in long distances.

    1. Andra Bilici avatar

      Hi Gary! If packed properly, it shouldn’t damage the canvas.

  14. Linda Ishee avatar

    Thank you SO much for this wonderfully concise and informative video! Many artists (like me!) have a difficult time with thus important left-brain activity! What is a good source for the boxes and glassine?

    1. Andra Bilici avatar

      Thank you, Linda! Any local DIY store should have for sale boxes and glassine.

  15. Helen Ryan avatar

    There are many tips on the Internet regarding packing art work for posting but so much better to actually see a demonstration taking us through it step by step. Thank you for an extremely informative video.
    Best wishes

    1. Andra Bilici avatar

      Hi Helen! We’re glad you found our article useful!

  16. Hattie Cox avatar

    Thank you for sharing. Packing & shipping’ art is a much overlooked, but an important topic. We all go to the trouble of creating great artwork, so we need to make sure it that we pack it well so it gets ‘there’ safely!

  17. Steve Taylor avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this informative article. In a couple of days, I am moving into my new house in Santa Monica with the help of a professional moving company. I am really worried about my artworks that’s why I took the responsibility of packing them myself. Hope I can pack it myself.

  18. randi avatar

    I’m moving approximately 40 paintings (about 25 of them are fairly large… over 5 or 6’… one is 7′ long) in a Smart Box (like one of those pods but smaller)… I’m thinking of using heavy duty plastic to cover, then bubble wrap each side like a present, and then add cardboard sheets in between. If the paintings are front to front, I know for sure that I need cardboard… but when they face back to back (depths of canvases are 1.75), should I put sheets of cardboard in there (even though both paintings will be protected by bubble wrap on their back sides? I hope this question makes sense!!

    Thank you! GREAT tutorial, by the way… wish I would have seen it before I’ve shipped out art. I’ve been lucky… but certainly did not go to the lengths (or through as much bubble wrap!) as you. Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions!

    1. Agora Experts avatar

      Dear Randi,

      That would be a good idea! The more the protection, the better it is.

      We are glad the article helped!

  19. Carlos M avatar

    Hi, what size of Bubble you are using for this job, for example 3/16″, 5/16″ or 1/2″ Thanks

    1. Agora Experts avatar

      Dear Carlos,

      It really depends on how fragile the work is. If glass is involved go for the bigger size, but if its only canvas or metal, the smaller sized one will work just fine.

  20. Diane Sapitro avatar

    Great demo! I have been selling paintings for my daughter, Jennifer’s foundation Uweza, youth 13-22 years of age, such incredible talent. I like to bubble wrap the paintings so people can transport them safely to their car.

    Your video was extremely helpful!

    With much gratitude,
    Diane Sapitro

  21. Jack Mulligan avatar

    I have been wondering how I can best ship paintings and this has answered a lot of questions I’ve had. I’ve looked far and wide for specific mailing containers for paintings and found little help. This method looks like it will work nicely for the originals, and I can use mailing tubes for prints!

    1. Agora Experts avatar

      Jack, we’re delighted! Thanks 🙂

  22. Lenore Corey avatar

    I was stressing about mailing an oil painting, I wasn’t sure how to protect it properly from possible moisture and damage. I was really uncomfortable as to what material could touch the oil painting, the glassine answered that question. I did opt to use a few layers of styrofoam sheets as well as bubblewrap for padding. So happy I found this tutorial, it answered all of my questions for shipping this piece. Super professional video! Now to make the box. Thank you-Lenore

  23. Jim Mayer avatar

    I will be packing a large (nearly 5′ wide) painting for a move. The painting uses a lot of impasto. It’s about 55 years old, and has had some restoration done including the addition of a backing board to help stabilize the canvas. The painting has a simple wooden frame that is pretty much flush with the surface of the painting. Given the size, we’ll be crating the painting. Is there anything special we need to do given the impasto? Also, your video showed wonderfully wide bubble wrap… I probably can’t get anything wider than 24 inches and I was wondering how that might affect the wrapping technique. Thanks!

    1. Agora Experts avatar

      Dear Jim, there are various types of impasto and various ways to make sure the artwork is safely packed. We would suggest that for this particular artwork your best bet would be to contact a fine art shipping company and have them pack it professionally.

  24. Kyler Brown avatar

    My daughter has been painting for a year or two now. She has gotten so good that we are actually going to enter her paintings into a contest, so we need to ship some of them out of state. I really appreciated this post because the last thing we would want to do is somehow mess up the paintings during packaging and transportation. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Agora Experts avatar

      Dear Kyler, thank you for visiting! We’re very glad we could help. Wishing your daughter good luck and let us know how she does!