How I package my paintings for shipping & peace of mind.

I recently received a few questions from artist friends on how to package a painting for a safe shipping. As I've just sold another painting on Saatchi Art, I thought it may be useful to document a step by step process. I include here only recommendations for painting sizes up to 100x100cm (40x40inches) as above this size the process can be slightly different. I'm also referring to paintings that you have to ship flat and not rolled.

Step 1

I wrap the painting with one of these papers:

It's important to add a layer of untextured paper to protect the finish of the painting. I often finish my artworks with beeswax, whether on canvas or wooden panel or paper. Wax of course is not stabilised, it changes with the temperature so adding a layer of untextured and non-sticky paper on the surface of the artwork prevents any sort of "stamping" effect that can result from the pressure of other materials while in transit. For example if you put bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard in direct contact with the surface of your painting you may find that the circular shapes of the bubbles or the lines of the corrugated cardboard have been "impressed" on the painting. Although this damage can be fixed by adding another layer of wax or sealer, it's not nice if this happens to your collector when unwrapping the painting in their home and you cannot teleport yourself there to fix your artwork.

Step 2

Add corners to your painting. I usually make the protection for corners with cardboard leftovers or I reuse the ones I have received with art material deliveries. I'm against buying specific plastic materials as honestly I don't want to add more on this planet than we already have around. In every house there are materials we can reuse and give them new function and new life. In this case, in the pictures below, I've reused corners from an order of blank canvases. I've put 2 protection on each corner: one above and the other below and taped them together.

Step 3

Add cushioning. Also in this case I avoid buying more plastic, so my options are:

I make sure there are at least 3 or 4 layers of bubble wrap in both horizontal and vertical directions, so everything is wrapped – edges included.

Step 4

Add more edges protection. To make sure the edges are protected all around I use one of these:

  • add more bubble wrap rolled and taped along the edges

  • or I create wedges with foam boards (see time-lapse video at the end of this post)

  • or I reuse polystyrene I already have and cut it to size to create a bit of thickness all around the painting as I've done in the picture here below.