Firstly if you have sold or are exhibiting your artwork overseas – Congratulations!! Sending artwork overseas can be bittersweet. Great for you career, but not so great when you have to entrust the artwork with parcel handlers. As nice and all as they may be, they are busy people who will probably view it as ‘just another parcel,’ paying little heed of the blood, sweat and tears you poured into it.
So, here are some notes and pointers on how to pack and categorize artworks for shipping!
There are many ways to pack artwork depending on size and the type of materials and media used. Its normally split into 3 categories:
1. Extremely Delicate and Fragile – Things Like:
- Delicate mixed media
- Craft work
2. Delicate and Bulky – Things Like:
- Canvas Paintings
- Framed Paintings
- Light but Bulky Mixed Media
3. Heavy & Large Art Pieces – Things Like:
- Very Large Canvas/Framed works
- Large Installations
These might not seem like important concerns for the artist but to people in logistics and the world of packaging they are major concerns.
When transporting art pieces over land, sea and air the logistics companies need to ensure that the goods are well packed (or SHOULD be making sure of this!), and secure to travel the required distance.
This will allow the shipper to calculate the final dimensions and gross weight of the items.
So how is shipping costed? Normally, with all logistics companies, their costing mechanism to value a shipment is calculated as follows:
Type of packaging used and the final weight, dimensions, and
Volume of the package.
- If the weight is greater than the volume it is charged on weight.
- If the volume is greater that the gross weight the charge is calculated on its final volume.
In the case of a large heavy sculpture you will typically be charged by weight and volume – yes a double charge unfortunately. Its standard that artworks of this type to be crated and palletized so they can be handled easier.Traditionally these goods would travel by land and sea, rather than air to save on shipping costs.
What to request so that your artwork is protected properly.
The following is an example of the type of packaging that should be used to ship canvas paintings (the common type of artwork that is shipped) over long distances by air freight.
Canvas paintings are associated with the second shipping category and prices are calculated mainly by volume. They travel mainly via airfreight and are handled more frequently.
- These goods need to be well cushioned and protected mainly against impact damage. Plastic and Foam Edge Protectors should be used to protect all the vulnerable corners. These items should be held in place with a Handy wrap or a “Narrow Stretch Film.” Adhesive tape is not recommended.This will leave a residue on the artwork once the edge protectors are removed.
- The next stage is to cover the piece all over in many layers of bubble film, This will create a cushioned barrier should the piece be dropped in transit. In addition it is also advised to use some Corrugated Sheeting over the wrap to reduce the chance of puncture damage to the front and back of the canvas. Then another layer of bubble wrap if required.
- Finally the pack should be finished off with an over wrapping of stretch film to create a waterproof barrier and taped all along the sides to finally seal the pack.
- It is also recommend to use Tamper Evident Tape so you can tell if the goods were opened. ‘Fragile’ Tape is also recommended at this point.
- Finally we recommend including a full customer address along with the shipping manifest.
IF EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DONE CORRECTLY, IT SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
You are now good to go with the chance of damage being at its minimum!!
BEST OF LUCK!!
Bye for now.
THE STP TEAM
ALL OF THE REQUIRED ITEMS CAN BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR ONLINE STORE AND WILL BE DELIVERED WITHIN 1 WEEK.
ANY QUESTIONS OR QUERIES ON THIS SUBJECT DON’T HESITATE TO GET IN TOUCH.