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The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Canvas Art Internationally

The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Canvas Art Internationally

Every artist's biggest fear when shipping their pieces is unwrapping them to find holes or other damage to the canvas. Shipping damaged art to a customer or client can reflect poorly on your business, despite the damage likely being the shipping company's fault. If you want to protect your pieces, even when shipping long distances internationally, keep reading for some expert tips. We've compiled the ultimate guide to shipping canvas art internationally that any artist selling originals or prints needs to know.

How To Securely Pack Your Artwork

The first step to shipping your canvases internationally is thoroughly packing them for the trip. Shipping fine art prints and photographs internationally is easier due to their smaller size and thickness. When shipping canvas art and framed canvas wrap prints, they are bulkier yet more fragile, making them a bit tricky to package. Because stretched canvas can be delicate, it's essential to pad your piece carefully with the proper packing materials before putting it in your shipping box. Keep reading to learn what you'll need to protect your canvas during shipping and how to pack it effectively.

Collect the Packing Tools You'll Need

You'll need several tools to measure and prepare your canvas for shipping. Ensure you gather the following tools before you start packaging your canvas to avoid repeating any steps:

  • Tape measure, ruler, or measuring tape
  • Box cutter, scissors, or knife
  • Marking tool (pen, pencil, marker)
  • Artist's tape
  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Protective paper (glassine paper)

Measure the Piece's Size

Once you have all the tools you need, start by measuring the dimensions of your canvas. Measuring your work or print will help you determine which size box you need for the shipment. Consider the extra volume the packing materials will add before sizing your boxes. Choosing a box that fits the extra dimensions of your piece won't be helpful because you'll leave yourself with no room for added bubble wrap and protective layers.

Steps for Packing

The packing process involves lots of layering and careful wrapping to minimize how your piece will shift and move during transit. In addition, packing materials help fill extra space and prevent damage to your work. Here are the main packing steps to ensure a thorough protective layer around your canvas.

  1. Use a Protective Paper

Start by lining your painting with protective glassine paper. This specialty paper shields artworks from moisture, dust, and debris. In addition, Glassine paper helps prevent paint from reactivating, chipping, and shifting during travel. If you're shipping a canvas print and don't have to worry about paint, glassine paper can also help preserve the printing quality and the high-quality canvas material. Next, secure the paper with an acid-free artist's or painter's tape that won't degrade your canvas. Try to apply the tape to only the paper or the wooden frame, not the canvas material itself.

  1. Layer With Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is one of the best packing materials for preserving artwork and prints. It provides a cushion for your artwork and can fill in gaps in the back of the canvas and shipping container.

There is a range of bubble wrap sizes and varieties, so choose the best type for your canvas size. For example, larger bubble sizes help provide additional padding and are more protective against shock or impact. Smaller bubbles offer greater protection against scrapes and scratches and are better for getting into tight corners. Remember to apply the first layers of bubble wrap with the flat side against your canvas to avoid impressions.

  1. Seal the Protective Packing

Once your painting is thoroughly wrapped, use high-quality packing tape to hold the bubble wrap in place. Slide the wrapped canvas carefully into your shipping box or container and seal the outside with heavy-duty tape. Use a large enough box so that your packing materials won't cause it to bulge at the seams, making it difficult to seal. Your shipping and warning labels can properly cover the seals when they lay flat.

Add Warning Labels for Shipment

Many artists add "do not bend" labels to the envelopes when shipping fine art prints and photographs to ensure the products won't arrive with creases. You can use the same method to add extra protection to your wrapped canvases during shipment. Place "fragile" labels on each side of the box to help ensure postal workers handle it with care.

Choose a Reliable Shipping Company

Next, you'll need to find a local shipping company that supports international shipments. UPS and FedEx are two of the most common shipping companies in the US, and both offer some form of international shipping. There are also plenty of online resources for international shipping, many of which are tailored specifically for artwork. Ask local artists in your community or online forums for recommendations from those who have shipped internationally previously. Finally, remember to carefully measure the weight and dimensions of your shipping container to check if your package complies with any size and weight restrictions that the shipping company notes. If your package exceeds dimension limits, it could lead to delays in shipping or issues when it arrives at customs.

Consider Shipping Insurance

Finally, invest in additional shipping insurance for your artwork. Some services, such as UPS and FedEx, offer a flat rate for standard shipping insurance, but this may not always be enough. In addition, shipping insurance helps ensure you aren't held responsible for lost, misplaced, or damaged packages.

Follow each step in this guide to shipping canvas art internationally to ensure safe travels for your artwork or prints. While canvases can be difficult to transport, these tips will help them arrive in one undisturbed piece.

If you're an artist looking for ways to sell your art locally or even as far away as overseas, consider ordering prints of your work. Here at The Stackhouse, we provide high-quality giclee prints in various materials. You can order everything from fine art prints to custom gallery-wrapped canvases. Browse our printing services to see how you can turn your favorite paintings into prints that you can ship to international fans of your work today.