IMPORTANT: Pricing your artwork must consider the cost of packaging. Use these guidelines as a means to properly prepare your pricing to include your packaging costs, at the very least, if not also a basic flat-rate for recouping some shipping expenses, too.

Additional Reference:

Courtesy of FedEx, this short video gives you a good crash course in packaging your artwork for safe shipment with FedEx.

Packing materials—Dos and Don’ts

DO use the following: Bubble wrap An adequate amount of bubble wrap will provide a surprising amount of protection by distributing pressure and impact across a wide area. Bubble wrap does two important jobs: 1) cushions the art in the event of impact  2) fills empty space, preventing unwanted movement within your packaging. For these reasons, bubble wrap should be your padding and filler of choice.

High quality packing tape

Always buy good quality packing tape! Here’s why:

  • Sturdy tape ensures your outer package remains shut throughout transit.
  • When wrapping your artwork, high quality tape ensures fully sealed seams, keeping damaging moisture out.
  • High quality tape is easier to separate from the roll and usually comes with a more efficient dispenser, making it faster to apply

Don’t use low quality packing tape because:

  • It’s more difficult to apply, adding more time and effort to the packing process.
  • It’s not very sturdy and is prone to breakage during shipping
  • Low quality tape may not be adequately adhesive, so may not provide good moisture protection.
  • You’ll need to use more of it to get the job done

Acid-Free Archival Paper (Glassine)

Acid-free (archival quality) paper is an absolute necessity when wrapping artwork for both shipping and storage. Archival quality materials are pH neutral (i.e. between 7 and 8.5) and will therefore have no chemical interaction with any objects it contacts. Though other types of archival paper are available, we highly recommend that you buy glassine. It’s readily available by the roll from most art supply, craft, or frame stores.

Foam Board

A sturdy support is necessary for safe packaging and storage of all flat artworks. Foam board (also called foamcore) is ideal for this purpose and you can find it at most art supply, craft, or frame stores. Foam board comes in varying degrees of thickness (depending on the amount of protection needed for your work), and can typically be purchased individually or in bulk. We recommend you use foam board of at least ½” thickness. Archival quality foam board is also available from some manufacturers and it should be used if it will come into direct contact with the artwork.

Cardboard corner protectors

Corners of flat artworks are especially vulnerable to shipping damage, that’s why we require artists to use cardboard corner protectors. You can buy corner protectors ready made at many art supply, moving supply, or frame stores, or you can construct them yourself. A quick search on Google will lead you to online resources offering instructions on how to make them.

IMPORTANT: If you’re concerned about spending money on quality packing supplies, always bear in mind that buying cheap packing materials could end up costing you more if your artwork gets damaged.

DON’T use the following:

Styrofoam peanuts

DON’T use foam packing peanuts. They’re a hassle for those who have to unpack and re-pack artwork. They also settle during shipping and don’t provide good protection.

Second-hand filler (newspaper, magazine pages, plastic bags, etc.)

Do NOT use scraps of newspaper, magazine pages, or plastic market bags to package your artworks. These materials don’t provide adequate protection and they may also leave an unfavorable impression on the collector who has bought your work.

Non-archival quality tissue paper for wrapping artwork

DON’T wrap your artwork in non-archival tissue paper. Remember that anything that comes into direct contact with the work must be archival quality (i.e. acid-free, pH neutral). BUT, you may use wadded non-archival tissue paper as filler for empty space within the box or crate in the absence of bubble wrap (our preferred filler). Note that when we refer to tissue paper, we DO NOT mean FACIAL tissue paper (such as Kleenex). Facial tissue is for blowing your nose, never for packaging artwork!

Garbage bin bags

You don’t want your artwork associated with garbage, so DON’T use garbage bin bags to pack it. You want your collector to remain absolutely confident in their decision to purchase your work. Using items like garbage bin bags, second-hand filler, or other items not intended for shipping artwork will, more often than not, leave a bad impression on art collectors.

Paintings

IMPORTANT: Always make certain that your painting is completely dry before packaging it for shipment. Sometimes paint can appear dry when it’s not. Since drying time depends on such factors as the type and brand of paint, the drying mediums used (if any), the paint colors, etc., you must research the correct drying time for the specific supplies you’ve used. Insurance will NOT cover damage to paintings as a result of shipping before the paint was completely dry.

Paintings smaller than 48”x 48”

What you’ll need:

  • Glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper
  • Plastic sheeting, poly wrap, or heavy plastic bag
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam board at least ½” thick
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard corner protectors or two-ply cardboard
  • Cardboard box

Step 1 – Wrap the painting in glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper. Note that any material that comes into contact with the surface of the work should be archival quality. We advise that you avoid touching the painting’s surface with bare hands by wearing white cotton gloves or placing acid-free tissue paper between the work and your fingers when handling.

Step 2 – Take four (4) 8”x 8” square pieces of glassine paper or acid-free tissue paper (you may adjust the size of the squares to better fit the size of your work) 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 – Taping only onto the tissue paper corners, tape the wrapped painting to a sheet of foam board (or two-ply cardboard) the same size or slightly larger than the painting for a firm backing.

Step 4 – To protect against moisture, wrap the glassine-covered artwork with plastic sheeting/poly wrap or put it inside a heavy plastic bag. Use tape to seal all areas where water can enter and cause damage.

Step 5 – Wrap the entire work with two (2) layers of bubble wrap for a protective padding. Wrap it as you would a gift, using tape to secure it shut.

Step 6 – Place cardboard corner protectors on the corners of the wrapped artwork.

Step 7 – Place the wrapped artwork between 2 pieces of foam board that are at least ½” thickness (or two-ply cardboard), forming a “sandwich.” Also, the borders of the foam board sheets should extend 2-3 inches beyond all edges of the bubble-wrapped artwork. Use packing tape to bind the foam board sandwich together. Be certain the sides are taped down firmly to ensure that the artwork doesn’t shift around within.

IMPORTANT: Take care not to apply too much pressure to the surface of your artwork. Doing so could create indentations on the stretched canvas.

Step 8 – Place the foam board-covered painting into a cardboard box with approximately three (3) inches of space on all sides. Fill the empty space with enough bubble wrap or wadded/shredded white paper to ensure that the artwork doesn’t shift during transit.

Step 9 – Use the H-taping method to seal the box. The H-taping method involves using long strips of packing tape to completely seal the opening flaps of the box. Use one long strip of tape over the horizontal opening between the two flaps, and two strips over the vertical sides of the flaps— forming an “H.” Apply additional vertical strips of tape as needed across the sealed flaps for added reinforcement. Illustrations of this method are provided by different sources online. Just type “Htaping method” into the Google search box.

Step 10 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Using a heavy black felt tip pen, write “FRAGILE” in large capital letters on the package. Also, write “PLEASE KEEP UPRIGHT. DO NOT LAY FLAT.”

Paintings larger than 48”x48”

Note that in addition to these instructions, you’ll also be asked to refer to the instructions in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.”

What you’ll need:

  • Glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper
  • Plastic sheeting, poly wrap, or plastic bag
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam board at least ½” thick or two-ply cardboard
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard corner protectors
  • Custom-made wooden crate (See section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate”)

Step 1 – Wrap the painting in glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper. Note that any material that comes into contact with the surface of the work should be archival quality. We advise that you avoid touching the painting’s surface with bare hands by wearing white cotton gloves or placing acid-free tissue paper between the work and your fingers when handling.

Step 2 – Take four (4) 8”x 8” square pieces of glassine paper or acid-free tissue paper (you may adjust the size of the squares to better fit the size of your work) 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 – Taping only onto the tissue paper corners, tape the wrapped painting to a sheet of foam board the same size or slightly larger than the painting for a firm backing.

Step 4 – To protect against moisture, wrap the glassine-covered artwork with plastic sheeting/poly wrap or put it inside a heavy plastic bag. Use tape to seal all areas where water can enter and cause damage.

Step 5 – Wrap the entire work with at least three (3) layers of bubble wrap for a protective padding. Use more if you believe your painting requires more protection (e.g. it has a raised surface). Wrap it as you would a gift, using tape to secure it shut.

Step 6 – Next, build a wooden crate and seal the work inside. To do so, follow all the steps given in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.”

Framed paintings

What you’ll need:

  • Glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper
  • Plastic sheeting or poly wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Painters tape (if packing a glass frame)
  • Cardboard corner protectors
  • Packing tape
  • Foam board at least ½” thick or two-ply cardboard
  • Shredded or wadded white paper
  • Very sturdy cardboard box if framed artwork is under 18”x24”
  • Custom wooden crate if framed artwork is larger than 18”x24”

Step 1 – Use a sturdy cardboard box or build a custom crate that will fit the framed painting plus approximately three (3) inches of space on all sides. (This extra space will accommodate the layers of bubble wrap to be added.)

Step 2 – If the frame has a protective glass or acrylic pane, remove it from the frame. If it does not, skip to step 4. Apply two pieces of painters tape diagonally across the glass/acrylic pane to form a large “X”. Should the glass break during shipment, the tape will help keep the broken pieces together.

Step 3 – Sandwich the glass/acrylic pane between two sheets of foam board approximately 2 inches larger than the glass on all sides. Firmly seal the foam board sandwich all around with packing tape, making sure that the glass/acrylic panel does not shift around within.

Step 4 – Wrap the painting in acid-free, archival tissue paper or glassine. Note that any material that will come into contact with the surface of the painted work should be archival quality.

Step 5 – To protect against moisture, wrap the artwork with plastic sheeting or poly wrap

Step 6 – Add cardboard corner protectors to the corners of the wrapped work. You can buy corner protectors ready made, or you can construct them yourself. Several online resources offer instructions on how to make them.

Step 7 – Wrap the framed painting in three (3) layers of bubble wrap, using packing tape to secure it. If your framed painting is larger than 18”x24”, you’ll need to build a wooden crate and seal the work inside. Please follow the steps in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.” If your framed painting is under 18”x24”, proceed to Step 8 below.

Step 8 – Sandwich the wrapped painting within two sheets of foam board and tape all the way around to secure it.

Step 9 – Place it inside a sturdy cardboard box. To minimize movement within the box, thoroughly fill any empty areas around the artwork with shredded paper. The more snug the fit, the less the potential for damage. Seal the box thoroughly with packing tape, reinforcing the corners.

Step 10 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Using a heavy black felt tip pen, write “FRAGILE” in large capital letters on the package. Also, write “PLEASE KEEP UPRIGHT. DO NOT LAY FLAT.”

Rolled canvas paintings

Paintings on canvas up to 72”x72” may be taken off its stretchers, rolled, and shipped in a heavy duty mailing tube between 8” and 12” diameter, depending on the size of the canvas. Make absolutely certain that your painting is completely dry before attempting to roll it.

What you’ll need:

  • Glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper
  • Heavy duty mailing tube with plastic end caps no smaller than 8” in diameter and up to 12” (depending on the size of your canvas).
  • 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 – Sandwich your canvas between two layers of acid free archival paper. 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. DO NOT roll too tightly as this can damage the painting!

Step 3 – Next, 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.

Step 5 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Clearly mark the tube as “FRAGILE.”

Flat artworks (i.e. photographs, drawings, watercolors, printmaking work, collages, etc.)

Flat artworks under 48”x48”

What you’ll need:

  • Glassine paper or acid-free archival tissue paper
  • Plastic sheeting, poly wrap, or plastic bag
  • Foam board at least ½” thick or two-ply cardboard
  • Bubble wrap or shredded/wadded clean white paper
  • Packing tape

Step 1 – Wrap the painting in acid-free, archival tissue paper or glassine. Note that any material that comes into contact with the surface of the work should be archival quality. We advise that you avoid touching the painting’s surface with bare hands by wearing white cotton gloves or placing acid-free tissue paper between the work and your fingers when handling.

Step 2 – Take four (4) 8”x 8” square pieces of glassine paper or acid-free tissue paper (you may adjust the size of the squares to better fit the size of your work) 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 – Taping only onto the tissue paper corners, tape the wrapped painting to a sheet of foam board (or two-ply cardboard) the same size or slightly larger than the painting for a firm backing.

Step 4 – To protect against moisture, wrap the glassine-covered artwork with plastic sheeting/poly wrap or put it inside a heavy plastic bag. Use tape to seal all areas where water can enter and cause damage.

Step 5 – Place the wrapped artwork between 2 pieces of foam board (or two-ply cardboard), forming a “sandwich”. Also, the borders of the foam board should extend a minimum of 2-3 inches beyond all edges of the artwork. Use packing tape to bind the foam board sandwich together, adding extra tape to the corners for reinforcement. Make certain the sides are taped down firmly to ensure that the artwork doesn’t shift around within.

Step 6 – Place the foam board-covered artwork into a cardboard box with approximately three (3) inches of space on all sides. Fill the empty space with bubble wrap or wadded/shredded clean white paper to ensure that the artwork doesn’t shift during transit. Seal the box completely shut with packing tape, reinforcing the corners.

Step 7 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the shipping label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Using a heavy black felt tip pen, write “FRAGILE” in large capital letters on the package. Also, write “PLEASE KEEP UPRIGHT. DO NOT LAY FLAT.”

Flat artworks larger than 48” x 48”

What you’ll need:

  • Acid-free archival tissue paper or glassine paper
  • Plastic sheeting or poly wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam board at least ½” thick or two-ply cardboard
  • Cutting tool of your choice to cut cardboard to size
  • Packing tape

Step 1 – Wrap the painting in acid-free, archival tissue paper or glassine. Note that any material that comes into contact with the surface of the work should be archival quality. We advise that you avoid touching the painting’s surface with bare hands by wearing white cotton gloves or placing acid-free tissue paper between the work and your fingers when handling.

Step 2 – Take four (4) 8”x 8” square pieces of glassine paper or acid-free tissue paper (you may adjust the size of the squares to better fit the size of your work) 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 – Taping only onto the tissue paper corners, tape the wrapped painting to a sheet of foam board (or two-ply cardboard) the same size or slightly larger than the painting for a firm backing.

Step 4 – To protect against moisture, wrap the glassine-covered artwork with plastic sheeting/poly wrap or put it inside a heavy plastic bag. Use tape to seal all areas where water can enter and cause damage.

Step 5 – Place the wrapped artwork between 2 pieces of archival quality foam board (or two-ply cardboard) that are at least ½” thickness, forming a “sandwich.” Also, the borders of the foam board should extend a minimum of 2-3 inches beyond all edges of the artwork. Use packing tape to bind the foam board sandwich together, adding extra tape to the corners for reinforcement. Make certain the sides are taped down firmly to ensure that the artwork doesn’t shift around within.

Step 6 – Next, build a wooden crate and seal the work inside. To do so, follow all the steps given in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.”

Framed flat artwork

Follow the instructions below for framed flat artworks of any size. However, if your framed work is larger than 18”x24”, you’ll also need to refer to the directions in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.” `

What you’ll need:

  • Acid-free archival tissue paper or glassine paper
  • Plastic sheeting or poly wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Painters tape (if packing a glass frame)
  • Cardboard corner protectors
  • Packing tape
  • Foam board at least ½” thick or two-ply cardboard
  • Shredded or wadded white paper
  • Very sturdy cardboard box if artwork is under 18”x24”
  • Custom wooden crate if artwork is over 18”x24”

Step 1 – Use a sturdy cardboard box or build a custom crate that will fit the framed painting plus approximately three (3) inches of space on all sides. (This extra space will accommodate the layers of bubble wrap to be added.)

Step 2 – If the frame has a protective glass or acrylic pane, remove it from the frame. If it doesn’t, skip to step 6 now.

Step 3 – Apply two pieces of painters tape diagonally across the glass/acrylic pane to form a large “X”. Should the glass break during shipment, the tape will help keep the broken pieces together.

Step 4 – Sandwich the glass/acrylic pane between two sheets of foam board (or cardboard) approximately 2 inches larger than the glass on all sides. Firmly seal the foam board sandwich all around with packing tape, making sure that the glass/acrylic panel does not shift around within.

Step 5 – Wrap the foam board sandwich (with glass/acrylic pane inside) with bubble wrap and seal with tape. You’ll pack this alongside the framed artwork within the box or crate.

Step 6 – Wrap the painting in acid-free, archival tissue paper or glassine. Note that any material that will come into contact with the surface of the painted work should be archival quality.

Step 7 – To protect against moisture, wrap the artwork with plastic sheeting or poly wrap.

Step 8 – Wrap the framed painting in three (3) layers of bubble wrap, using packing tape to secure it.

Step 9 – Add cardboard corner protectors to the corners of the wrapped work. You can buy corner protectors ready made, or you can construct them yourself. A quick search on Google will lead you to several resources offering instructions on how to make them. If your framed painting is larger than 18”x24”, you’ll need to build a wooden crate and seal the work inside. Please follow the steps in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.” If your framed painting is under 18”x24”, proceed to Step 10 below.

Step 10 – Sandwich the wrapped painting between two sheets of foam board (or cardboard) and tape all the way around to secure it.

Step 11 – Place it inside a sturdy cardboard box. To minimize movement within the box, thoroughly fill any empty areas around the artwork with shredded paper. The more snug the fit, the less the potential for damage. Seal the box completely shut with packing tape, reinforcing the corners.

Step 12 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Using a heavy black felt tip pen, write “FRAGILE” in large capital letters on the crate. Also, write “PLEASE KEEP UPRIGHT. DO NOT LAY FLAT.”

Rolled paper artwork

Paper artworks such as sketches, photographs, watercolors, etc., may be rolled and shipped in a heavy duty mailing tube between 8” and 12” diameter, depending on the size of the work.

What you’ll need:

  • Heavy duty mailing tube with plastic end caps no smaller than 8” in diameter and up to 12” (depending on the size of your canvas).
  • 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
  • Glassine or acid-free archival paper
  • Bubble wrap

Step 1 – Sandwich your artwork between two layers of glassine or acid free archival paper. Make sure that the work is completely covered by the paper.

Step 2 – Roll the paper-covered artwork around the smaller tube to provide inner support.

Step 3 – Next, 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 artwork. Place the end caps on and seal them shut with packing tape.

Step 5 – Affix the shipping label to the package and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. With a felt tip pen, mark the tube as “FRAGILE” in large capital letters.

Sculpture

Since sculptures vary widely in terms of size, weight, delicacy, etc., it’s impossible to provide a set of directions that will work for all. Please use these directions as general guidelines.

What you’ll need:

• Bubble wrap

• Packing tape

• Shredded paper

• Sturdy cardboard box for sculptures smaller than 12” and weighing under 5 lbs

• Custom wooden crate for sculptures (see instructions below on “Packaging art in a wooden crate”)

Step 1 – Securely wrap the top half of the sculpture several times around with bubble wrap. How many layers you use depends upon the form and fragility of the work. Remember to pay attention to especially delicate portions of the sculpture. Cut the bubble wrap and secure the cut edge with tape.

Step 2 – Add protective top layers over the work using several pieces of bubble wrap large enough to cover and overlap the previously applied wrapping. Seal all around with tape.

Step 3 – Wrap the bubble wrap around the bottom half of the sculpture several times. Make sure to overlap the bubble wrap applied to the top half of the sculpture to ensure full coverage. Cut the bubble wrap and secure the cut edge with tape. Also, use the tape to seal the overlapped seam in the middle where the 2 pieces of bubble wrap meet.

Step 4 – As you did with the top of the work, create bottom protective layers for the sculpture with pieces of bubble wrap large enough to overlap the previously applied layers on the bottom half of the artwork. Seal it all around with tape.

If your sculpture is less than 12” tall and weighs under 5 lbs, you’ll ship it within a sturdy cardboard box. Please proceed to Step 5.

If your sculpture is over 12” tall and/or weighs more than 5 lbs, you’ll ship it in a custom wooden crate. For instructions on how to build a crate, please follow Steps 1 -7 in section – “Packing artwork in a wooden crate.” Then return to these instructions, starting with Step 5.

Step 5 – Before placing the wrapped sculpture inside, fill about 1/3 of the box or crate with shredded paper. If using a cardboard box, reinforce the bottom of the box with extra packing tape (across the flaps and up the sides) before filling with paper. Make a shallow well in the center of the shredded paper and set the sculpture inside of it. Fill the remainder of the box with shredded paper, surrounding the sculpture. Make sure you securely pack the shredded paper around the sculpture to minimize internal movement as much as possible during shipment.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the crate or box’s dimensions are approximately two (2) to three (3) inches larger on all sides than the sculpture itself for sufficient buffering. Also, there should be more shredded paper underneath the sculpture than elsewhere due to gravity compression.

Step 6 – If you are using a cardboard box, seal the opening securely with packing tape using the H-taping method. The H-taping method involves using long strips of packing tape to completely seal the opening flaps of the box. Use one long strip of tape over the horizontal opening between the two flaps, and two strips over the vertical sides of the flaps—forming an “H.” Apply additional vertical strips of tape as needed across the sealed flaps for added reinforcement. Illustrations of this method are provided by different sources online. Just type “H-taping method” into the Google search box.

If you’re using a wooden crate, seal the top lid shut with screws ONLY (no glue) so that it is easily removable by the collector.

Step 7 – Clearly indicate on the crate or box which side is the bottom and which is the top by writing “THIS SIDE UP” and by drawing an upward pointing arrow on all of the side panels to let shippers know which direction the crate/box should be held or set down. Or, you may purchase ready-made “This side up” labels.

Step 8 – Clearly indicate which panel is the removable lid by writing “UNSCREW THIS SIDE ONLY” so the collector knows which panel to remove. . If needed, write any instructions (using a black felt tip pen) on the crate that will help the collector easily remove the lid.

Step 9 – Affix the shipping label to the outside and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Clearly mark the crate or box as “FRAGILE” in large capital letters using a heavy black felt tip pen, or use ready-made “FRAGILE” labels.

Packing artwork in a wooden crate

Use a custom crate for artworks such as sculpture, large flat artworks, and fragile items.

What you’ll need:

  • Four (4) planks of plywood (¼ to ½ inch thick depending on size and fragility of the work) for the frame
  • Two (2) plywood sheets for the front and back panels
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • 1¼ inch wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Foam board, ½” thick

Step 1 – Measure your pre-wrapped artwork (wrapped according to the instructions given for your particular work), taking down the height, width, and depth of the wrapped piece. If you’re shipping a painting, use these measurements to calculate the dimensions of your plywood pieces for the frame of your crate. Keep in mind that you will add a ½” foam board lining to your crate, so accommodate for this. If you’re shipping a sculpture, make sure that the crate’s dimensions are approximately three (3) to four (4) inches larger on all sides than the sculpture itself. The extra space will be filled with bubble wrap and shredded paper.

Step 2 – Cut four pieces of plywood according to the dimensions you took in step 1 in order to build a frame with an opening that can snugly fit your wrapped work. Remember to account for the thickness of the plywood when measuring length and height, and cut accordingly. The top piece of the frame should sit on and extend over the top edges of the side pieces, as it must be easily removable. This piece will act as the crate’s lid, to be unscrewed by the collector.

Step 3 – Begin building the frame by assembling three (3) of the plywood strips together with screws and wood glue, leaving the top piece (i.e. lid) off for now. It will be screwed on after the artwork has been placed inside.

Step 4 – Line the frame with strips of foam board, securing them on with tape or glue. If using glue to line the crate with foam board, wait for it to dry before finishing the packing process.

Step 5 – Cut two sheets of plywood to the same dimensions of the assembled frame. These will be the front and back panels of your crate.

Step 6 – Secure one sheet to the back of the frame using wood glue and screws.

Step 7 – You will then complete the packaging process by placing your artwork inside and sealing the crate around it. Lay a piece of foam board (the same size as the frame) inside the open crate, and place your pre-wrapped artwork on top. There should be no room for movement inside.

Step 8 – Cover your artwork with another layer of foam board. Place the other sheet of Masonite board on top of the frame, securing well with wood glue and screws. Do your best to ensure that the crate is air and moisture tight.

Step 9 – Clearly indicate which panel is the removable lid by writing “UNSCREW THIS SIDE ONLY” so the collector knows which panel to remove. If needed, write any instructions (using a black felt tip pen) on the crate that will help the collector easily remove the lid.

Step 10 – Affix the shipping label to the outside and put clear tape over the label so it doesn’t get removed during shipment. Using a heavy black felt tip pen, write “FRAGILE” in large capital letters on the crate or box. Also, for paintings or flat artworks, write “PLEASE KEEP UPRIGHT. DO NOT LAY FLAT.”

TIP: For ease of transport, you can screw a cabinet handle to the top of the crate. The screws should be long enough so that the handle doesn’t come loose while someone is carrying the crate, but not so long that they protrude into the interior of the crate

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