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shipping artwork and art supplies

Shipping Artwork and Art Supplies

Discover the essential tips for shipping artwork and art supplies safely. Learn about packaging, measurements, labeling, and the benefits of white glove services.

It’s not uncommon for collectors and artists alike to let their passion for artwork take up so much space in their minds that they completely forget to think through the final steps of their transactions. Once that payment has been collected, perhaps the most important part of the entire process has just begun! The shipping and handling process is of the utmost importance when it comes to either you or your client receiving the masterpiece. As either the artist who puts their heart and soul into a work, or the collector, having a work of art arrive in any less condition than you purchased it can be absolutely crushing.

While not all damages can be prevented due to factors such as weather and package shifting, luckily, there are plenty of ways to give your artwork the best likely outcome for a successful transit.

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Measuring Artwork

Speaking of shipping, the most important thing to consider is how YOU will package the artwork or art supplies prior. New and high-quality materials must be used to package the artwork and supplies. Making it a priority to invest in new high-quality materials for packaging artwork and artwork supplies is essential because old or used packaging materials will not hold up as well and may even have small tears or holes that go unnoticed. As Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Even a small hole can sink a great ship.” In other words, the smallest details matter and can make or break your outcomes. Therefore, do not skimp on purchasing quality packaging materials for your artwork.

When you think about shipping a piece of artwork or art supplies taking proper measurements of the piece is a crucial first step. The shipping process begins and ends with you, so be sure to start the process off on the right foot.

  • Before taking the measurements, prep by laying a protective material such as cardboard over a clean surface. You certainly do not want anything to get on or scratch your artwork.
  • Then measure the length, width, and height of the artwork. Leave at least two inches of room on all sides for proper clearance.
  • Taking proper measurements of your artwork will allow you to choose the most appropriately sized box, tube, crate, or shipping container are needed.
  • Another great tip when shipping artwork is to take before photos from all angles of its original condition. The physical proof will ensure you are adequately recompensated if you need to file an insurance claim.  

Packaging Artwork and Artwork Supplies

Now when it comes to packaging artwork such as paintings, there are a few quick, simple tips to note:

Glassine paper helps protect artwork from dust and moisture and should be used to cover every side and corner of the piece. Secure the paper with acid-free artist tape can also be used to prevent breakage and puncturing of the glass during transit, so it’s a worthwhile purchase!

Another breakage prevention tip is to use cardboard corner protectors, as they are always susceptible to damage during transit.

Avoid using solely bubble wrap to package your artwork to avoid weird indentions. Instead, wrap the artwork using acid-free paper first. Then if you desire to use bubble wrap, use it with caution and in areas that could use extra shock absorption, such as the “internal” box area” if double boxing is necessary. Just make a habit of ensuring the bubbles are facing upwards whenever packaging artwork.

Remember to tape all box seams with high-quality, moisture-resistant, heavy-duty tape. You want to prevent moisture from entering the box seams, which can also prevent damage to your artwork.

One of the most important final steps is labeling your package. Finalize the packaging process by sealing the box with shipping tape and a “fragile” or “handle with care” label.” Taking the time to ensure the small details are accounted for helps ensure your artwork arrives in one piece. If shipping a massive painting, such as an installation or sculpture, you may need to request white glove services, as they will require specialized packaging and crating services.

When it comes to packaging and shipping art supplies, extra caution must be taken. For example, most paints are flammable, so they must be clearly packaged, labeled, and even kept out of direct sunlight. Where applicable, wrapping individual pigments with plastic wrap can save you, and everyone involved a mess during transit. In this instance, and for any other potentially toxic/hazardous art supplies, you must disclose the exact details of what you are shipping to your Freight Center call agent. Freight carriers are very selective about what they are willing to ship, and many do not ship paints or other potentially hazardous art supplies.

Pastels, Charcoal, and other writing materials are prone to breakage during shipping, so bundle them in plastic wrap and place them in padded containers. Packing peanuts, plastic wraps, and paper towels can often be helpful when packaging any writing material.

However, when packaging items like canvases, you want to stick to wrapping with plastic or bubble wrap since materials like packing peanuts and newspaper can both stick to canvases and transfer unwanted ink.

Once your items have been wrapped safely, you can finish packing using packing peanuts or other cushioned materials. 

White Glove Services

You are likely a savvy and well-informed shopper if you read this post. White Glove Services are both personalized and economical, not to mention we offer this service here at FreightCenter. In case you are unaware, white-glove service is a shipping method that provides an elevated level of service and attention as opposed to your standard shipping services. Those shipping artwork, antiques, expensive items, or anything sentimental, regardless of monetary value, will significantly benefit from white glove services.

White glove services include services far beyond a typical LTL carrier, with this service typically including uncrating, unpackaging, and setup. Our expert freight agents can arrange for multi-person white glove services that include packaging and inside pickup/ delivery when needed as needed. Due to the extra time and effort required of white glove services, the costs are higher than for standard shipping services. The variability in cost often comes down to dimensions, pickup/delivery locations, and accessibility of pickup/delivery locations. White glove services are a worthwhile investment. Your freight center call agent can answer any further questions you may have about this service and add on any additional accessorials requests as needed.

Artwork Shipping Costs

Various factors will influence the shipping cost of your artwork, including weight, dimensions, and distance traveled. If you are looking to send large artwork, contact FreightCenter!  We will find some of the best rates for you in the industry. Depending on your bundling needs and shipping frequency, reduced rates may apply!

Our FreightCenter call agents can help set you up with recurrent shipments to help reduce costs and streamline your shipping process. Each carrier will have different sizing and packaging requirements. The world of logistics can feel complex, with every carrier having varying shipping conditions, so let us do the work for you. After all, running your business is your top priority, not solving supply chain puzzles!

Artwork Insurance

Making sure you have artwork insurance should be non-negotiable. No matter how much care and preparation is given to ensuring the best possible shipping experience, damages, and losses can still occur, even when using the best shipping services. For this reason, you should purchase an insurance policy that covers artwork. FreightCenter itself does not provide shipping insurance. However, we can provide some third-party insurance alternatives so you can contact someone directly to make the process seamless. 

 

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FAQ: Shipping Artwork and Art Supplies

Q. Can I ship artwork and art supplies via freight?

A. Yes, you can ship artwork and art supplies via freight. Freight shipping offers a safe and efficient way to transport valuable artwork and bulk quantities of art supplies to various destinations.

Q. How should I prepare artwork for freight shipping?

A. Proper preparation is crucial to ensure your artwork arrives in pristine condition. Securely package the artwork with protective padding and bubble wrap. Use corner protectors and cardboard for framed pieces to prevent damage during transit. Place the artwork in a sturdy box and fill any gaps with packing material to minimize movement—custom crating is necessary most of the time. 

Q. Can I ship hazardous art supplies via freight?

A. Yes, but please be aware of hazardous materials in art supplies when shipping. Check with your freight carrier for their guidelines to prevent delays or issues during transit.

Q. Do I need insurance for shipping artwork and art supplies via freight?

A. It’s always a good idea to have insurance when shipping valuable items such as artwork and art supplies. Even though freight carriers take precautions, accidents can still happen. Insurance provides extra protection in case of damage, loss, or theft during transit. As freight carriers only have liability and not insurance on the goods, they move.

Q. Can I ship oversized or heavy artwork via freight?

A. Absolutely! Many freight carriers offer specialized services such as less-than-truckload (LTL) or full-truckload (FTL) shipping to handle oversized or heavy artwork. To ensure safe transportation, it’s important to consider custom crating or palletizing for your large and heavy artwork. This will provide added protection and peace of mind during the shipping process.

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