How to Ship Commissioned Original Art

When it comes to best practices for shipping Commissioned Original Art (BETA), we knew exactly who to contact for advice: Rich Baiardi. As Minted’s Vice President of Manufacturing Supply Chain, he’s an expert in shipping all of Minted’s assortment products in the safest way possible.

Before we dive into the Q&A with Rich, please keep in mind that during the beta period, we are limiting Commissioned Original Art to U.S. customers, so our tips are based on domestic shipping methods. Also remember that you must insure Commissioned Original Art and require the customer’s signature upon delivery. We highly recommend that you confirm the customer’s shipping address and message the tracking number to the customer once you’ve shipped the order.

How can I protect small unframed art, design, and photography?

Rich Baiardi: For a initial layer of protection, I recommend placing art in a plastic bag, which you can order at

Then sandwich with cardboard chip mailers (.03 thickness) — one piece on each side.

If the art is small (anything up to 11’ x 14’), the best thing to do is ship in a flat mailer, which you can purchase from ULINE. The cardboard makes the packaging stiffer and helps to prevent damage if it’s bent during the shipping process.

Any other tips for protecting small unframed art?

Place a “do not bend” label on the front of the package to help discourage the delivery person from jamming the art into a small mailbox. You can order these online from sites like ULINE. Or, do a Google search for “do not bend” to find other retailers. I think it’s better to use a pre-made label than to merely write “do not bend” on the outside of a package. You could, though, design and print your own labels to make them look more official.

How can I protect large unframed art?

For art, design, and photography larger than 11” x 14”, we recommend rolling the work into shipping tubes with end caps. If you’re sending a 16” x 20” or 18” x 24”, you can use a 4” diameter tube. For art larger than 18” x 24”, use a 6” diameter tube.

If you order tubes in bulk, you can order from, but keep in mind that there’s a minimum quantity required. You can often find tubes at shipping centers and art and office supply stores.

For additional protection, we recommend placing the rolled art in a clear plastic bag. Roll up the art so that the unfinished side is on the outside, rubbing up against the tube.

Minted Artist Angela Simeone recommends shipping unframed art in a tube. She creates her paintings on unstretched canvas that’s about two to three times thicker than a traditional pre-stretched canvas. Before she ships final commissioned art to a client, she seeks out framers in the client’s area who do custom stretching work. “I ask for a price estimate for 2-inch deep stretcher bars and up,” she says. “I then notify my client of the price and location for the canvas stretch.” After she has approval in writing from the client, she ships. “It can be very cost-effective, ranging from $20–$50 for a tube shipped from UPS,” she says.

How should I package art that’s stretched on a canvas?

At Minted, we rarely experience issues with products that are shipped in tubes, and I recommend shipping art in tubes whenever possible.

But if you’re shipping stretched art with a frame structure, one of the best ways to protect it is with a good framed print shipping box that is larger than the art itself. Make sure the corners of the frame are not touching the sides of the box; keep the corners two to three inches away from the sides with foam corner protectors.
What are my shipping options?

The three primary options for shipping services in the U.S. are FedEx, UPS, and United States Postal Service. If you don’t have a FedEx or UPS account, in general, the rates will be higher than USPS rates. We recommend communicating shipping and pricing options to clients, so that they can choose whether they want to pay for overnight service versus USPS Priority Mail.

How can I figure out how much it’s going to cost to ship?

You can get the most accurate estimate by taking the item or similar item to FedEx, UPS, or USPS. But you can also use an online shipping calculator.

Keep in mind that the farther the distance, the more it costs.
  1. I don’t support the advice to ship rolled work image side in. Rolled work should always be rolled facing out to prevent cracking. The work should be rolled against a sheet of glassine which is archival, and then held in the roll with artist’s tape on the glassine, then a layer of compressed foam around the roll, and then placed inside poly tube (available at U LIne) and then inside a tube. Larger works can also be rolled with a tube in the inside of the roll to prevent crimping.

  2. Kathleen Ney

    Are round tubes more durable than square tubes? I just had a piece damaged that was mailed in a 3x3x24 square USPS tube box – it was all they had available. I haven’t seen the packaging yet but from photos it looks like the box was bent and/or flattened. I have never (to date) had a problem with a round tube so wonder what the safest way to ship large drawings are.