How Do I Pack My Canvas Prints for a Client or Gallery Showing?

Written by Mark Rogers

Congratulations! You’ve sold that beautiful canvas you worked so hard on for so long and put so much of yourself into. Of course, because it is so important to you, you want to make sure that when you ship your canvas piece—whether to a customer or to a gallery—that it is professionally and securely packaged and arrives looking as pristine and professional as it left your hands.

How can you pack your canvas prints or paintings to ensure they arrives to its final destination looking as you intended the piece to look? Check out these tips on damage-proof ways to pack your canvas prints and paintings.

Use Plastic Wrap for Initial Protection

First and foremost, it is absolutely critical that the piece is 100 percent dry. If it’s not, wrapping it in plastic wrap may damage the work. Start from the back of the piece and wrap it all the way around once at a straight angle, and then pull the wrap diagonally down the backside to start your next row.

By starting from the back, it leaves the front of the piece with a smooth finish and the diagonal sections on the back. When the recipient opens the package, they’ll see a smooth surface where the focus of the piece is—a much more professional looking sight than all the diagonal pieces of plastic.

Also, cut small slits into the back of the plastic so there is breathing room for the art. This will ensure there won’t be moisture trapped inside and the piece won’t crack.

Single-Wall Cardboard

The next piece of the packing puzzle should include a piece of single-wall cardboard, which is another form of padding. This will offer a thicker and sturdier piece of protection and will serve as another box that can absorb shock if the package happens to be handled roughly in the shipping process.

Most shipping companies require you to do this when shipping fragile pieces so there is less chance for damage. You can use double-wall cardboard if your piece is extra heavy, but a single-wall piece should suffice for most normal-sized pieces. Measure the width and the depth of your piece, double each measurement, and use a box cutter to cut the proper length in the cardboard.

However, make sure you have the longest side of the painting parallel with the cardboard grain; this will ensure you can fold the ends over and seal the cardboard closed. Tape the cardboard piece shut, and pinch off the ends to create extra shock absorption.

Bubble Wrap

Never place bubble wrap directly on the piece. There is a very good chance that if you do, especially if the bubbles are flush with the piece, you’ll have a not-so-professional-looking bubble-wrap pattern indented in the paint or ink. This may ultimately ruin the piece, and you’ll have a very unhappy recipient.

You can, however, opt to use GalleryPouch™ bubble bags, which are flat on both sides, or use bubble wrap on the outside of the cardboard that you placed around the outside of the painting. Usually one layer is enough to provide extra shock absorption – just fold the bubble wrap in half lengthwise and then tape it to the edges of the painting.

To save time and for added protection with a cleaner more professional look, use the  GalleryPouch™ bubble bags which come in two options – with a flap or with a Velcro strip. They are heavy-duty, see-through plastic “envelopes” made of a special extra protective 3/16 inch bubble wrap material that is permanently sealed on three sides.

The open end of the pouch is secured with a flap or a reusable Velcro strip which means they can be used again and again to transport art back and forth to shows.

Leave No Space in the Outer Shipping Box

Once you’ve wrapped the piece in plastic wrap, placed it in a cardboard casing, and then wrapped the cardboard in bubble wrap, you’re finally ready to put the whole thing in a box for shipping.

When packing your piece in the outer box, your goal is to fill that box as much as possible, leaving no space between the wrapped art and the outer box itself. Even a small amount of unused space in the box could result in damage to the piece. You can do this by either cutting the box down to size, or filling the voids with extra bubble wrap or crumpled paper.

Use the highest quality packing tape you can find and be sure to create enough tension on all the edges and corners of the box so there’s no way it can come open. Throw on a “Fra-gee-lay” (Fragile) sticker (or 10) in the hopes that the delivery company will handle your piece with care. And now, your canvas print is ready to send to a client or art gallery!

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