Adventures in Packaging

Well, I’m pleased to share that two of my pieces were purchased recently.  With that good news has also come a welcomed (and long-anticipated) learning experience: how to properly package and ship my paintings in preparation for shipping long distance.  This is definitely a subject that is new to me and is also one widely discussed online for many others in my situation.  Many, for obvious reasons, search for ways to ship their works as safely and economically as possible – for both their clients and themselves.  My husband graciously offered to assist me in my packaging research and endeavors (he loves problem solving and is quite the MacGyver when it comes to fixing things,) which I of course, gladly accepted.  Two heads and more than one set of hands is always a good thing when attempting a new project, if you ask me!

We came across several different schools of thought on packaging, depending on the status of the piece being shipped.  Some artists recommended using packing foam as insulation when shipping artwork, especially if the piece was framed in glass (not the case in this particular situation and also cost prohibitive for the size of my larger piece, a 30” x 40”).  Others recommended physically removing the finished piece on canvas from the wooden frame and shipping it rolled up to prevent both damage and to save on costs (I didn’t care for the idea of making my client re-stretch the canvas upon receiving it, but good to consider for future reference).  Still others recommended using a series of layers (plastic garbage bags to protect from weather, paper to prevent scratching, bubble wrap for added cushioning and foam corner-savers to add an insulating buffer,) followed by using a pre-made box or custom building one to fit if necessary.  We liked the sound of this last idea quite a bit and were readily able to obtain the materials necessary for it, so we went about our wrapping excursion this past weekend.

We started with the larger work first, figuring it would take us some time to custom-make the necessary parcel to package it.  Boy, were we right!  The interior layering process went easy enough, though due to the size of the piece, I was grateful to have two sets of hands.  Custom-making the “box” for it – another story entirely!  I use the word box in quotations because while the pieces used to make it were all once whole boxes themselves, they were definitely not by the time by we were done with them.  My husband aptly named it a “Franken-box” due to all the pieces and tape it took to cover it.  In the end, we wound up using the leftover box our TV came in (which had nicely reinforced corners,) and two box-fan boxes.  We recently moved a few months back, and I never thought I would be so grateful to have so many leftover boxes floating around!  I have included a photo of our endeavors for your amusement and appreciation.  One final wrapping in paper to make it mail-ready and we were finally finished, about an hour or so in total work time.  We treated ourselves to dinner and some freshly baked Biscoff-browned butter-brown sugar-streusel bars in between (thanks again, Pinterest!)  We returned to wrap the second parcel, dreading the project that was lying in wait for us, only to find we finished packaging it in about half the time thanks to the smaller size and a pre-made box on hand that accommodated it.  We were thrilled.


All in all, not nearly as awful or as dreadsome as I had imagined it to be; just time-consuming.  In the future, I think we’ll spring for some foam (or scavenge if necessary,) for my larger pieces and will also be on the lookout for some smaller corner-savers (the ones we used were meant for framed pieces and needed some extra padding due to their depth.)  I think we both have a newly-found respect for anyone who can use a tape gun successfully without getting it stuck to itself and everything else around it.  We’ll be brushing up on our epic taping skills in the meantime.  I can safely say that I’ve never felt ready for the holidays this early!


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