How to Safely Pack and Ship Art

Please review our fine art packing tipsTransportation of valuable and precious artwork has presented unique problems all over the world for many years. How does an artist ship their work to a paying client half a world away and ensure that the cargo arrives not only intact, but completely undamaged, in the same state as it was sent?

Simply placing the art into shipping crates and sending it off is far from ideal—there are all kinds of environmental factors that can play into shipping, such as impact, abrasion and environmental factors which will to varying degrees damage the artwork. This damage can be anything from slightly faded paint to nicks on the frame, to destruction of the artwork itself.

Thankfully, there are techniques in place for packaging, crating and transporting of fine art that will help to ensure its stability and safe arrival at its destination. Here are a few tips on how to safely pack and ship your valuable artworks.

Wrapping and Covering
The first step in packing your artwork safely is to ensure that it is properly wrapped and covered. First, inspect the artwork for any condition issues that are pre-existing and carefully document these. Then, wrap the piece in acid-free cloth. Place the cloth-wrapped art into a secondary wrapping of foam or bubble wrap, then between two sheets of corrugated cardboard to provide a firm “sandwich” protection. If you are shipping glass, make sure to use an additional layer of protection in the form of glass-strengthening agents.

Shipping crates are the next step. Make sure that you choose just the right container for your artwork. Containers exist for all manners of product, and you can account for fragility, length of transit, item value, size, dimensions, shape, and any other aspect of protection that you desire. Speak with a professional shipping company about the right crate for your product.

Once you have the correct wrapping and crate in place, make sure that you use enough padding in the form of polyurethane open-celled foam or polyethylene closed-cell foam. Line the box completely and ensure that there is very little space for the artwork to jar around. If you are shipping a smaller or less fragile item, fill the box with packing peanuts, placing the artwork in the middle.

Look at the various transit options available for your item based on its dimensions, weight, sturdiness, and value. Different options for transport include:

  • Air: Air transit is the fastest and most expensive, but can be the best option for the most valuable artwork, as the item passes through far fewer hands and packing is much more secure.
  • Ground: There are many different options for ground transport, with handling and packing care as well as tracking varying from carrier to carrier and by level of service. Contact your local carrier for options available through ground transport.
  • Climate: Account for climate conditions if necessary, depending on your art. Ask your shipper for climate control options available.

If you need help in choosing options for shipping your valuable art, give us a call. We have many shipping container options available.