Packaging your artwork

Artist’s guide for wrapping an artwork

Here is a simple yet effective guide on how to prepare your artwork for shipping. Please always make sure that your artwork is completely dry before packaging it for shipment. Sometimes paint can appear dry when it’s not.

Paintings smaller than 48"x48"

  • Plastic wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Single-wall or two-ply cardboard
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard box

Step 1 – Wrap the artwork in plastic wrap.

Step 2 – Take four square pieces of plastic wrap and fold each in half diagonally to create a triangle, then fold in half again to create a triangle pocket. Place one pocket onto each corner of the painting.

Step 3 – Envelope the wrapped painting in a sheet of single-wall cardboard (or two-ply cardboard if the value exceeds £3000) the same size or slightly larger than the painting – this will add a thicker and stiffer layer. Wrap it within the cardboard and tape it closed.

Step 4 – Wrap the entire work with two layers of bubble wrap – this will add to the final protection. Tape it closed.

Step 5 – Create the outer box of cardboard. This box shouldn’t be larger than the artwork. Wrap the artwork within this cardboard box – if there is additional space, it should be filled with bubble wrap.

Step 6 – Sealing with tape. Apply good tension when sealing with tape: use long strips of tape over the horizontal opening between the two flaps and vertical sides of the flaps—forming an “H” (H-taping method).

Rolled canvas paintings

Paintings on canvas up to 72”x72” may be taken off their stretchers, rolled, and shipped in a heavy duty mailing tube between 8” and 12” diameter, depending on the size of the canvas.

  • Plastic wrap
  • Heavy duty mailing tube
  • A second tube of smaller diameter for inner support. (You’ll roll your artwork around this tube and insert it inside the larger tube.)
  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap

Step 1 – Envelope your canvas between two layers of plastic wrap. Make sure that the canvas is completely covered by the paper.

Step 2 – Roll the paper-covered artwork—paint side outward—around the smaller tube to provide inner support. Don’t roll too tightly as this can damage the painting

Step 3 – Roll a layer of bubble wrap around the artwork for padding and to seal out moisture. Seal completely with tape.

Step 4 – Place this tube within the outer mailing tube. Fill extra space at the ends with extra bubble wrap, but take care not to crush the edges of your painting. Place the end caps on and seal them shut with packing tape.

Information kindly gathered from: