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Packaging Tips

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Useful tips to protect your precious work

Don't Forget...

Insurance companies will not cover items which are wrapped inadequately. It's also in your interests to ensure your packaging looks professional.

You need to factor in the cost of insurance and packaging when pricing your work.

You need to know the weight and size of your items.

Before you send an item to a buyer, take good quality photographs of your piece and the wrapped package. If you can, show the date in the picture.

IMPORTANT: When you send your artwork, you must get a tracking number from your courier.


How do you choose the right box?

When packing, bear this in mind, other parcels could be placed on your package during transit. 

Pic a box robust enough to cope with this. Your packaging should prevent damage if something presses against it, if it is bent, or if it is dropped.

At least one side of the parcel should allow easy access. Your item may need to be inspected by customs officials.

We know it sounds obvious, but ensure your work is completely dry before packing it.

If you're sending two paintings together, pack them back to back.

A box which is a little bigger than your work will allow enough room for packaging material all around.

Pack your work so it doesn't move within its box. Before you close and tape up the parcel, close it and shake it. If the artwork moves around, add more packaging material.


If you're re-using a box, remove all previous labels and information.


What not to do?

Don't use peanuts or polystyrene beads as packing materials your customers won't thank you for the mess they create.

Don't put bubble wrap next to a painting's surface. If you're using bubble wrap, place something between it and the surface as it can leave marks.


How should you seal your box?

Use packing tape which is reinforced and 5 cms or more wide.

Choose waterproof tape avoid Sellotape, string, or masking tape as they may work loose or open up in transit.

Seal all the openings and the seams of your box with the tape.

Use corrugated cardboard to reinforce all the corners.


How should you label your parcel?

Inside your package, fix a label to your work (the back). It should show the name of the artist and the title of the piece.

After you've sealed it up, use a permanent marker to mark all sides with the word FRAGILE

Write THIS WAY UP with an arrow pointing up.

Show where you want the buyer to open the parcel with OPEN HERE.

Write your name and address as the sender in the event your item is delayed, lost, or returned.

Cover any paper labels. Use clear tape as protection. You can also stick unpacking instructions to the outside of your parcel.

DON'T: Use tape to cover a scanning label the machine may then have problems picking up the code.


How to send glass

Do you need to ship glass items? Although they will be insured against breakage, your work could be destroyed if it shatters.

If you do send it, stick tape across the work in a crossed pattern to minimise potential damage unless the glass has a special coating for UV.

You can also buy special products to protect glass items like Air Float Glas-Skin. Find out more about that here:


How to package framed works

Choose a box which is the right size for your work  just a little bigger than it.

You'll need at least three inches of space around your work on all sides for your packing material.

Choose a tissue paper which is acid free to wrap your work.

Then wrap completely with bubble wrap.

Use pipe insulation to protect your frame.

Use a solid piece of foam, lay it inside one of the walls of your box, and place your frame on it.

Fill in all the internal spaces with packaging material to prevent any movements.

You can see courier firm Fedex's advice on sending framed items here:


How to package unframed works

When you're handling unframed artworks, employ tissue paper or white cotton gloves used by photographers.

Wrap the work in tissue paper which is acid-free. Then, wrap the work with plastic to give it extra protection against any moisture.

Fold four large pieces of the paper into triangles with one of the sides open, then slip those open sides over the corners of your work to protect them. Secure these protectors for the corners to a foamcore or a backing board. That will give your work good protection at the back.

Choose pieces of clean and strong cardboard to cover both sides of your work and protect them - then tape them together securely.

You could also use a mirror box for more protection.


How to ship large or irregular-shaped artworks

Use a wooden palette to help load and unload heavy works.

Cover any protruding or sharp edges using cardboard and tape.

Check if your courier will add extra charges for the handling of heavy or large works, or artworks which aren't completely enclosed in packaging.

Tape labels against your parcel and ensure they're flat. 


How to send sculptures

Cover the top of your work in bubble wrap, go around two times or more, leaving excess in the top. Tape this securely.

Go to the top, fold down the extra wrap, and tape it into place to protect the artwork's top.

Take the roll of bubble wrap to the bottom of the piece and overlap it over the top wrapping. Wrap around at least twice and leave excess at the bottom. Tape securely.

Tape along the overlap and along any edges.

Go to the bottom, fold down the extra wrap and securely tape it to protect the base of the piece.

Choose the correct size of box and fill with packaging material until at least a third full.

Create a hole in the middle of the material, place your work into it and pack more material around it. Make sure it can't move around.

Close up the box and tape it securely.


How to make wooden crates

(These are used for larger or fragile sculptures and other works of art.)

Measure your artwork and cut up lengths of wood. They need to fit the work's dimensions. They should be long enough to form a box in which you can place your work and have bubble wrap on all sides. The fit should be snug enough to reduce any movement, but leaving enough room to put the work in and take it out on delivery.

Screw the lengths together, leaving an opening at the top. 

Customs officials may need to inspect the item so make the top an easy access point. The top should cover all the crate's sides.

Now, cut two plywood boards to fit this frame.

Secure one board to the frame with screws and wood glue. Place bubble wrap inside against the board and place your artwork inside, covering any painted surface with sheets of tissue paper which are acid-free. That protects against dust and moisture.

Cover with bubble wrap and ensure there can be no movement in the crate.

Use screws and wood glue to make the second board secure.

Then, secure the last piece of wood the lid to the crate with screws.

Write OPEN HERE on it.


IMPORTANT NOTE: These tips are merely guidelines. Creu is not liable if your artwork is damaged while in transit.


Creu - the creative way to buy and sell art