How to safely package framed and unframed original art

Bubble-wrapping framed original art.

Bubble-wrapping unframed original art.

We’re thrilled to partner with Scale Up Art, a renowned San Francisco company that works with some of the world’s biggest names in art and photography to enlarge original works. With more than 12 years experience, the company’s founders, JP Jespersen and Dylan Ozanich, have mastered museum-quality artwork capture.  

About the scanning process: Scale Up Art uses a proprietary Gigapixel Artwork Scanning System to digitize artworks up to sizes larger than 3 gigabytes. Scale Up Art produces the most color-accurate and highest-resolution artwork reproductions available.

The importance of careful packaging

We cannot stress enough the importance of carefully packaging your original artwork before shipping. Even with the most trusted delivery partners, it’s difficult to control factors such as weather and shifting during transit. Keep in mind that the corners of your shipping box are most susceptible to damage. To help prevent damage and wear and tear, we worked with Scale Up Art to assemble these tips and the following step-by-step packaging process.

Top 5 “don’ts” for packaging art

1. Don’t ship wet art.
Make sure your painting or artworkis completely dry before shipping, and don’t add a protective varnish. If you’ve already varnished your artwork before you read this article, wait a few days beyond the recommended drying time before shipping. If you ship the art before it’s completely dry, you risk the varnish sticking to packing materials, and it’s nearly impossible to repair the damage.

2. Don’t use cardboard as a protective barrier on the face of your artwork.
Cardboard is not acid-free and could damage your artwork. Instead of cardboard, we recommend placing acid-free archival paper or glassine on top of the painting in addition to placing the artwork inside a clear plastic bag, which you could order from clearbags.com or purchase at your local art store.

3. Don’t allow your artwork to shift.
To eliminate wiggle room in the shipping box, we recommend wrapping your artwork with bubble wrap. We discourage using styrofoam peanuts as a filler material.

4. Don’t skimp on packing tape on the outside of the shipping box.
If any seams on the box are exposed, moisture could leak in. Clear shipping tape is most moisture-resistant.

5. Don’t ship glass.
If your work is encased in a frame with a glass front, please remove the glass, as it may break in transit.

How to safely package framed original art

Packaging and shipping materials
– Two sturdy cardboard boxes: one smaller one and one larger box
– Cardboard corner protectors
– (Optional) Acid-free archival tissue paper or glassine
– Heavyweight plastic bag
– Plastic bubble wrap
– Packing paper
– Clear packing tape (do not use duct tape, masking tape, or scotch tape)

We highly recommend double-packing your artwork by placing your artwork inside a smaller box that goes into another box outside of it, allowing for about two to three inches of space around the perimeter of the smaller box. The double packing method serves as a shock absorber and helps to prevent punctures through the canvas.

9 Steps for Packaging Framed Art

  1. Find a box that is a few inches larger than your artwork.

2. Take two pieces of cardboard or foam board and cut it down to the inside dimensions of your box. One piece will lay atop your artwork and the other will lay beneath it, like a sandwich. Set these aside for later.

3. (Optional) Wrap artwork in acid-free tissue paper or glassine.

Place your artwork inside a sturdy plastic bag to protect against moisture.

4. Wrap artwork in at least one layer of bubble wrap, using packing tape to secure it.

5. Place cardboard corner protectors or foam corner protectors to the corners of the wrapped artwork.

6. Now take the two pieces of cardboard you cut down to the inside dimensions of your box. Place wrapped artwork on top of one half of the cardboard. Draw guide lines as shown above in the center so that you can cut the cardboard and create fold-over tabs to secure the artwork. Tape the fold-over flaps in place so that it will not shift during the shipping process. You may do this on all 4 sides of the cardboard for extra stability. Next, take the second piece of cardboard and tape it on the back side of the artwork creating a sandwich to hold the artwork in place during shipping.

7. Place the smaller “sandwich” cardboard inside the larger box. As shown in the third image above, it’s best to put the face of the artwork toward the empty space in the box to give room for more bubble wrap or scrunched packing paper for extra protection. Fill all the extra space in the box until there is very little room left for movement or shifting during shipping.

8. Almost done! Seal the larger box closed with packing tape.

9. Finally, place a “fragile” sticker on the outside of the box, and wrap the entire large box with shipping tape.


How to safely package rolled artwork before shipping

Packing Materials
Either acid-free archival tissue paper, glassine, or kraft paper
– Heavyweight plastic bag (available at clearbags.com)
– Heavy-duty shipping tube
– Foam or plastic bubble wrap (available from ULine)
– Packing tape (do not use duct tape, masking tape, or scotch tape)

Before rolling the canvas, make sure that the paint is 100% dry. If you are concerned that the paint is not completely dry and need more time, please contact Minted to let us know that you are anticipating the delay while your work finishes curing.

7 steps for packaging rolled art

1. Optional: Place flat or unframed artwork between two layers of archival paper. If you do not have archival paper such as glassine, regular kraft paper will work in its place.

2. Roll a layer of plastic bubble wrap around the canvas for padding and to prevent moisture damage.

3. Seal the plastic wrap with packing tape.

4. Cut a shipping tube down to a few inches larger than your rolled artwork. End caps normally take at least 1” of space on both sides to properly fit and secure into the tube.

5. If your print has too much room on the edges roll it once or twice more in foam or bubble wrap until it fits more snuggly into the tube. Fill any remaining space on either end with extra foam, bubble wrap, or scrunched packing paper.

6. Place the end caps on the large tube and seal shut with packing tape.

7. Place your addressed shipping label on the tube along with a “fragile” sticker or just use a marker to write “Fragile—Do Not Bend.” Put clear packing tape over the label and sticker so that they don’t get removed.


View the Minted Artist Education page for more tips for succeeding as a Minted artist.

About the author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, Pitchfork, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published May 10, 2018

1  COMMENT
  1. Lovely detailed post about shipping artwork, you are saying do not use cardboard on the surface of the artwork, what do you think about using silicone coated baking paper?

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