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Packing Artwork, Part 1



    • Straight edge -- preferably metal
    • Matte knife -- retractable
    • Masking tape -- drafting & painters tape are also okay

    • Packing tape -- brown, clear or filament

    • Cutting board

    • Bubble wrap

    • Extra cardboard -- corrugated

    • Thin foam -- optional

    • Cardboard box -- Choose a corrugated cardboard box that is close in size to your wrapped paintings.



    This demonstration covers techniques for shipping paintings. These techniques are appropriate for shipping your assignments in for evaluation or can be used to ship paintings to galleries. This demonstration will show you how to pack paintings done on stretched canvas, canvas board or on masonite. It is easy to protect paintings that are dry, but you can also send paintings that are still wet.


    Grouping Paintings

    Pack paintings in groups of two or three paintings. Try to keep similar sizes together. 

    Stretched canvases of the same size can be stacked on top of each other. If the paintings are dry, they can be stacked face-to-face with a piece of thin foam, foamcore or bubble wrap in between to protect their surfaces. If you have one painting on board and one on stretched canvas, you can still stack the canvas on top of the board. Canvas stretchers have a small lip. This means that the stretchers only touch the board at the very edge.

    Tape your groups together on all four sides to secure. Your units are ready to bubble wrap and pack.


    Protecting Wet Paintings

    If your paintings are still wet, you can still pack them for shipping. Canvas stretchers have a lip carved into their backs. The lip raises the canvas so that it can be stacked on top of a second painting. The lip will only touch the bottom paint at the very edges so that it can be placed over a wet board.

    If you have wet paintings that are on boards they can still be shipped. Cut four 2-inch squares of cardboard. Score the squares from corner to corner and fold over to create four double-thick triangles. Tape the triangles closed. Place the triangles on the bottom painting corners. Begin stacking the paintings, adding more triangles at the corners. Tape the corners securely to the backs of the paintings. If your paintings are very large you can add little strips of double-thick cardboard at the edges. The cardboard keeps them separate.

    Place last painting face down. Tape all the paintings together securely and bubble wrap them as one unit.


    Packing Different Sizes

    If your paintings are dry and different sizes, pack them face-to-face with a piece of cardboard in between. Cut the cardboard to the same size as the larger painting.

    If the paintings are wet, put the corners on the smaller paintings and again pack them face-to-face with care.

    When cutting cardboard, score twice and then cut one last time to separate the board.



    Bubble Wrap:

    Secure the paintings with tape and bubble wrap as a unit. Make sure the bubbles are facing inward. Secure the wrap with a single piece of masking tape.