Key Points:

  • If your artwork is especially valuable and fragile, choosing the one with the best track record for safety and the best tracking system should be your priority
  • Invest in insurance for your artwork shipment, so you can have the peace of mind you need
  • Before diving headfirst into shipping artwork, it’s important to know how to pack art securely and how to ship artwork in a safe and cost-effective way

For many artists, art galleries and online merchants in general, the world of eCommerce is a compelling way to bring the art of all types to a global audience. eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento have opened new doors for artists and galleries while art-specific platforms such as Saatchi, Artfinder and Society 6 have helped bring artwork from the local art fair to the global marketplace.

However, shipping artwork can be a difficult task, as most forms of artwork are, by their nature, fragile and delicate, meaning extra care must be taken when shipping them both domestically and internationally.

Before diving headfirst into shipping artwork, it’s important to know how to pack art securely and how to ship artwork in a safe and cost-effective way. This guide offers a look at just that!

Table of Contents

How Do You Pack Artwork?

Packing artwork requires following a number of steps very carefully. These include:

  1. Carefully determine and calculate the size of the artwork you want to ship. Once you know the size of the artwork itself, you can easily get the right-sized box for it. Artwork shipping boxes and wooden crates are available at art supply and shipping stores in different sizes and dimensions for this. If you can’t find the right-sized box because of the unusual shape of the art, then select an artwork shipping case that best conforms to your artwork. Make sure you have a 2-inch clearance space on each side of the artwork at a minimum.
  2. Use bubble wrap to wrap the artwork or sculpture carefully and secure it with tape. Use artist tape for especially delicate pieces. Seal any openings of the bubble wrap so that no seam is open. You can use extra bubble wrap to secure the middle of the piece and tape it to seal it completely.
  3. Fill the bottom of the box with packing fillings such as peanuts or shredded paper. Always make sure you fill enough so that the item doesn’t shift during shipping.
  4. Place the item in the center of the box and fill the sides again with packing material and fillings. Put some insulation on the top of the artwork too.
  5. Close the lid and tape it securely. Tape all the corners and seams of the box securely.
  6. Sometimes, if your art is very fragile and you want to give it extra protection, you can use two boxes. Doubling up on artwork shipping cases helps ensure that your art will be safe throughout the shipping process. Get a slightly larger box than the first one and fill the bottom of the box with packing material. Now, carefully place the first box inside the larger one and fill the sides with packing material. Close the lid and tape it securely.

The required packing materials to safely ship artwork include:

  • Artwork shipping boxes
  • Acid-free paper or Glassine
  • Bubble wrap
  • Insulated foam
  • High-quality packing tape
  • Tape gun
  • Artist tape
  • Cardboard corner protectors
  • Thick cardboard

Want to learn about ways to ship a painting, specifically? Check out our guide here!

How Do You Mail Artwork?

Now that you’ve safely and securely packed the art, the next thing to do is to start the process of shipping your artwork!

  1. Pick a courier company for shipping. If your artwork is especially valuable and fragile, choosing the one with the best track record for safety and the best tracking system should be your priority. Delivery time and budget are also critical factors to consider. Specifically, USPS typically offers the most affordable shipping solutions while private couriers like UPS and FedEx are generally more reliable and safe options with excellent parcel tracking systems.
  2. Visit the website of the courier you choose and register with them. Be sure to check if any special shipping services for fragile items or artwork are available. If the courier offers pickup services, it may be a good idea to opt for that if you’re looking to ship especially fragile or large pieces of art.
  3. Choose the specific shipping solution that works best for you. Easyship’s shipping rates calculator is especially useful for this!
  4. Invest in shipping insurance for your artwork. It’s always advised to do this for valuable items, as shipping them always runs the risk of damage, theft, or having the parcel lost during transport.
  5. Recheck the shipping address before sending the package off to ensure it will ultimately arrive at the correct destination.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Artwork?

The cost of shipping artwork depends on a number of variable factors. These typically include:

  • Size and dimensions of the package
  • Weight of the package
  • Travel distance of the parcel
  • Pickup charges, if applicable
  • Taxes and customs duties, if applicable
  • Insurance costs, if applicable

After that, evaluate the available courier options and choose which one works best for you. Notably, insurance costs are typically the largest factor in shipping costs and should be chosen carefully while always factored into your final shipping costs.

This is again where Easyship’s shipping rates calculator comes in handy! Easyship, with more than 250 shipping solutions available, offers an excellent hybrid shipping solution for first and last-mile delivery. You can also evaluate courier options to choose the cheapest, fastest, and best value solutions, automate taxes and duties for cross-border shipping, track parcels around the world, and more!

Shipping Artwork: Protect Your Art Carefully

Shipping artwork can be tricky, but by packing your art securely and choosing the courier that offers the best value overall in terms of safety, tracking, speed and cost, you’re sure to find that it’s a lot simpler than you thought!

Easyship offers the perfect partner for shipping artwork just about anywhere in the world. Sign up for free today to take your artwork from the gallery globally!