Disclaimer: These packing and shipping tips are suggestions and are not meant to replace the services of professional art handlers / shippers.
Whether you’re wrapping up a family heirloom to send to us, returning a fragile purchase to an online shop, or mailing a holiday gift to family, it’s important to pack your art or other delicate property safely and securely to ensure that it makes it to its destination in one piece. Professional art handling and shipping is always preferred and recommended, but there will always be situations when it makes more sense to do it yourself – here’s how to make sure you’re successful.
- Be aware of what you’re with! Prior to packing anything, check to see if there are any loose elements or extremely fragile areas that should be treated delicately.
- Always remember to use cardboard backing, bubble wrap, corner supports (extra bubble is enough) and a sturdy box. The pieces should not be able to move at all within the package.
- If you have fragmented pieces of an object, individually wrap each piece with a layer of glassine or paper and place the individually wrapped pieces in a larger, sturdy box with peanuts. Make sure there is space between each wrapped piece. Please do not use any other kinds of packing materials. Peanuts are designed to provide cushion, so use them liberally!
- It is best to wrap books in brown wrapping paper or glassine first, followed by a layer of bubble wrap. Apply the bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather against, the surface. This will prevent the bubbles from denting the surface, while the outwards-facing bubbles will better protect the item during transport.
- Please use a sturdy box filled with peanuts or additional brown wrapping paper. Place the wrapped book(s) inside, with some peanuts or paper between each wrapped book. The wrapped books should not be able to move at all within the package.
- Before packing a framed piece, be sure that it is secure in the frame and that there are no loose pieces that could potentially damage the artwork in transit. For glazed pieces traveling long distances or a frame that seems unstable, the artwork and frame can be packed separately for extra protection.
- It is best to wrap paintings in glassine or paper first, which will help to ward off any condensation that might occur from moisture exposure.
- Wrap corners or other exposed surfaces in a layer of bubble wrap.
- Do not wrap a painted surface directly in bubble wrap. Put a layer of material between the item and the bubble wrap (e.g. polyurethane or plastic wrap). Apply the bubble wrap with the bubbles facing away from, rather against, the surface. This will prevent the bubbles from denting the surface, while the outwards-facing bubbles will better protect the item during transport.
It’s always a good idea to include your name and contact information on the outside of your package, in case anyone needs to reach you in transit or once it reaches its destination.
Happy packing! And remember: when in doubt, call a professional!