Who would have thought that a shipping crate would be the most efficient way to transport art?

Every day thousands of pallets sit in warehouses awaiting their turn to be used in transporting goods across the United States and around the globe. These pallets protect items from damage during transport, and act as a base for handling and storing products. 

When moving a piece of art, the most important thing that you can do is to prepare it properly for shipment. After all, you can’t protect your artwork while it is in transit, so proper packing is imperative if you want it to reach its destination in pristine condition. So what’s the first step? We’ve drawn up a short guide for preparing artwork for shipping and prepping the shipping crate for transit.

Preparing Artwork for Shipping

Paintings, framed pieces, prints, or drawings can be safely shipped. Here are some steps you can follow to make sure your art piece reaches its destination in perfect condition. 

For framed artwork:

1. Tape it.

If the artwork that you’re shipping is framed with glass, you would need to place painter’s tape on the glass. The tape prevents the glass from damaging your artwork in the event that the glass shatters during shipment.

2. Wrap it.

Now it’s time to wrap the artwork. You can either use a bubble wrap for this or seal it in clear plastic. If you choose to use bubble wrap, remember to wrap it around the entire piece with the bubbles facing outward. 

3. Protect the corners.

You’ll need to purchase cardboard corner protectors to keep the frame intact. Secure the protectors to the frame with artist tape.  

 4. Use foam boards.

Place the bubble-wrapped artwork between two layers of thick foam board (each must be at least a ½ inch thick). Tape the pieces together using packing tape, but remember not to do it too tightly to avoid generating excessive pressure, which may damage your art piece. 

For unframed artwork:

1. Wrap/roll it.

If the artwork is mounted but unframed, wrap all sides and edges in acid-free glassine paper to guard against moisture and dust. Secure the paper with acid-free artist tape. 

You can also ship your painting rolled up. Lay the artwork on top of two sheets of glassine paper then roll it. All four sides of the paper must be larger than the artwork by 2-3 inches. You can also do this method with multiple pieces of art. Lay them on top of each other, making sure that there is a piece of glassine sheet between each piece of art. Layer the art pieces from largest to smallest, with the smallest on top. 

Secure with artist tape.

2. Secure the corners.

If it is a mounted piece, you can secure the art piece by using foam tubes to cover all four sides of it. Cut the tubes to size and fit them to the edges of your painting. It should fit snugly. 

3. Bubble wrap it.

Protect your painting by wrapping it in 2-3 layers of bubble wrap, with the bubbles facing outward. This is to ensure that no impressions are made on your artwork.

4. Place inside a tube.

If the artwork is rolled up, place it inside a shipping tube that is big enough to accommodate the painting plus 4 inches of padding on each side of the art piece. You may use wads of bubble wrap as padding.

For both framed and unframed artwork:

If your art piece is small, you can use a durable cardboard box to ship it. However, if it measures more than 48×48 inches for unframed artwork or more than 18×24 for a framed piece, you will need to use a customized shipping crate. 

Preparing the Shipping Crate

For large framed and mounted art, you’ll need to have a customized shipping crate made. You can try building one yourself, but most art experts recommend having a professional shipping company, such as Anderson Pallet and Crate, build and specialize your shipping crate. Having a shipping professional build and pack your artwork will ensure that your artwork is packaged safely and correctly, and that it will not be damaged or harmed in the transportation process.

If you decide to have a shipping company build your shipping crate, but you would like to package it yourself, here are your next steps:

Once you have your shipping crate, place the wrapped artwork inside of it. Make sure that no space remains between any part of the artwork and the box. If there is space, pad it with bubble wrap.

Next, seal off your container by ensuring that all seams are covered with wide poly tape. Don’t use other kinds of tape for sealing the crate. Most won’t hold up for transport.

Your last step is labeling the container. Place all of the necessary shipping information on it including instructions on unpacking if applicable. Marking the shipping crate with special labels such as “This way up,” “Fragile,” or “Do not stack” will get the movers to pay special attention to your container.

Cost Of Using A Shipping Crate For Artwork

The cost of shipping artwork varies depending on the weight and dimension of the artwork as well as the distance of transport.

Typically, painting shipments cost between $50 to $300. Expedited shipments will cost more than ground freight.

Need A Shipping Crate For Your Art? We’ve Got You Covered

Anderson Pallet and Crate has several decades of experience in shipping goods of all kinds. We have the experience and expertise to handle all of your crating needs, designed to your exact specifications. Get in touch with our professionals for more information or to request a quote.