Packaging artwork for transport

You want to send what where? It’s one of those questions the team at the Picture Framing Shak get asked from time to time, “how do I package this for transport?” Well of course it depends on what you are going to send, who will handle it and how much you want to pay to send it.

Okay if price is important and you want something to get somewhere, roll it up, put it in a mailing tube, stuff the ends with packing tissue, attach the label and of you go to the post office. But wait, what if it’s a fully framed item? In this case your budget just might go out the window.

Let’s think about the handling of a fully framed item, some couriers if they get the chance will throw the item at some stage, maybe not at this end as you hand it over to the courier, but possibly in between. Therefore a different approach is required.

If possible ask for the glass to be acrylic so it can flex, the downside is it scratches very easily so think hard about how it’s protected. If you have glass already consider running some masking tape in a big X across it so that IF it does break all the pieces will not float about causing more damage.

Here are a few approaches to consider.

  • Framed works – Get your friendly framer to cut a piece of MDF board to fit across the front of the frame, between the MDF and the glass put micro packing foam, it comes in a roll, then put bubble wrap on top of that, and finally tape the MDF in place, being careful to not mark the frame. Place the item in a flat cardboard box with padding around the edges of the frame, some cut down polystyrene would do the trick. Seal well, and clearly mark the address

  • Limited edition prints or photographs – I prefer not to see these rolled up, it depends on the value of the item though. If it’s precious then I would suggest two pieces of ‘corflute’, this has zero ph and is tough to try and bend. Acid free tissue top and bottom and a wrap of the micro packaging foam, then cardboard with generous overlap all round, if it’s all taped up tight the chance of damage is minimal. Still not sure, put a piece or two of thin MDF in the package to prevent any bending or punctures, but advise the end user to remove the MDF on arrival, it’s loaded with acid from the manufacturing process, which is not good for your print

  • Framed memorabilia – The challenge here is the 3D items which are attached to the backing board in some way. Ideally you want this item to remain on its back and have the ability to handle any lateral movement, so pack it well with bubble wrap

  • Sculptural items – Get a specialist if it’s of high value, or if you have to do it yourself, make sure everything is well supported

  • Multiple pieces – Moving house? If you have a lot of pieces the same size you could make a crate and line it with foam chunks, perhaps try wrapping two frames face to face together with bubble wrap in between, might need some tape to keep them in place, different sized pieces, try and match up the similar sized ones and give them lots of bubble wrap love!

Wrap things, tight, protect the glass from breaking and if in doubt, chat to your friendly professional picture framer for more ideas and options.

Steve Gray

The Picture Framing Shak

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