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shipping artwork and art supplies

Shipping Artwork

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

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Shipping Artwork

shipping artwork and art supplies

For centuries, artists have shared their creations with others through art galleries and museums.  Today, e-commerce and social media have allowed independent artists and small art businesses to share and sell their art online with art enthusiasts worldwide.

However, getting physical artwork to your customers can be difficult. Art is precious, both metaphorically and literally. Canvas and framed paintings are extremely fragile; sudden movements, weather events, and unstable temperatures inside a delivery truck can easily rip, tear, crush, shatter, or melt a piece of art.

Shipping art pieces via freight requires extensive preplanning and extra protection. This guide will go over how to package and ship canvases and framed paintings safely. Whether displaying your art at a gallery or museum or delivering a sold piece to your customer, we’ll help you ensure your work arrives at its destination intact in all its beauty.

Note: This page will cover shipping framed paintings and canvases. We already have a page for shipping sculptures (and a blog about sculpting history!), glass products, and textiles of any kind.

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We provide competitive freight shipping prices and an all-inclusive, easy-to-use shipping experience for our customers. Exceeding our customers’ expectations results in thousands of satisfied customer reviews and repeat business. We believe in the power of our customer relationships. Check out FreightCenter reviews from real customers, and learn what they have to say about their freight shipping experience!

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Why Choose FreightCenter For your Artwork Shipping?

Logistics Expertise: We have 25 years of experience in the freight broker business. We know all about shipping artwork, so let our knowledgeable team of experts guide you through the entire shipping process.

Professional Carrier Network: Our network of professional, vetted carriers is available and ready to deliver your artwork to your next gallery show or customers. You don’t need to research each carrier alone; we’ll discover the right carrier for your specific needs. We’ll also leverage our relationships to offer affordable, competitive rates that won’t break the bank.

Customizable Shipping Options: We offer various customizable shipping options and services, including white glove services, freight insurance, blind shipping, shipment tracking, and more. No matter what kind of artwork you’re shipping, we tailor your shipment to your small business’s objectives.

Friendly Customer Support: Our knowledgeable agents and friendly customer support team will guide you through the booking process, from pre-booking inquiries to post-shipment concerns. Don’t worry about filing the paperwork or figuring out your bill; we’re there for you every step of the way. Your artwork is in safe hands when you book with us.

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Factors To Consider Before Shipping Artwork

The shipping and handling process is crucial for ensuring you or your client receives your shipment intact. Before shipping your art pieces, you need to consider some important factors:

  • What kind of artwork are you shipping?What materials did you use to create it? Did you use watercolors, oils, pastels, charcoal, or something unique? Did you create it on a stretched canvas or paper behind a glass frame? Each type of material is susceptible to different kinds of damage and needs special care when packaging and shipping.
  • What size is your artwork? Small to medium-sized pieces of art don’t usually need to be shipped via freight. Parcel carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS can ship smaller canvases and framed art. However, larger pieces, artwork that is too fragile to be shipped via parcel, and multiple artworks being sent together are eligible for freight shipping. You’ll need to speak to a carrier or broker to determine if your artwork can be freight shipped.
  • How fragile is your artwork? One thing all artworks have in common is fragility. Canvases and framed paintings can easily crack, shatter, smudge, or melt, depending on the type of materials used to create them.
  • Is your artwork valuable? High-priced or iconic pieces need extra protection during delivery. If a valuable piece of art is damaged during transit, there isn’t much that can restore it completely. Valuable pieces of art can be lost during transit or even stolen!
  • Are you shipping multiple artworks? If you’re shipping a volume of art pieces to a location, like a gallery or an exhibition, you may need to order multiple bookings for each piece.
  • What freight carriers will ship your artwork? Some carriers will not ship fine art of any shape or form, especially original pieces, due to their extreme fragility and sentimentality. You’ll need to research what carriers will ship artwork, or you can ask a freight broker (like FreightCenter) for a list of accepting carriers.

Sit down and map out how you will ship your artwork via freight. A lot can go wrong during a freight shipment, so contingency plans are worthwhile when preplanning your shipment.


Tips for Packaging Artwork

Artwork is considered highly valued and very fragile. When it’s time to package your paintings, you must ensure the canvas or frame is well-protected. Here are some simple tips for packaging your art pieces:

  1. Use glassine paper to cover every side and corner of the piece to protect it from dust and moisture. Secure the paper with acid-free artist tape to prevent breakage and puncturing of the glass during transit.
  2. You can also wrap your artwork (specifically paintings) in shrink wrap, starting from the back of the artwork and wrapping it all the way around. This might be difficult with larger artwork, but it’s the best immediate protection for a piece of artwork.
  3. Instead of using only bubble wrap, wrap the artwork using acid-free paper first. If you decide to use bubble wrap, use it carefully and primarily in areas that need extra shock absorption. Remember: bubble wrap shouldn’t touch paintings directly; it can imprint on the canvas and ruin the varnish.
  4. Use cardboard corner protectors to prevent damage during transit. You can also double-box your artwork: Measure and cut pieces of cardboard around it and then tape it to form a box. Slip the newly formed box into another box filled with packaging material.
  5. Seal all box seams with high-quality, moisture-resistant, heavy-duty tape to prevent moisture from entering and damaging your artwork. Don’t use old, worn-out boxes; they not only give a bad impression to the recipient but also fail to protect your art as well as new boxes do.
  6. Glass is tough to ship safely, especially if it’s part of a framed painting. If the glass shatters, the shards will be embedded into the paint, ruining the varnish. If you must ship a frame via freight, double the padding around it and apply masking tape to glass surfaces so the glass shards stay together if they break.
  7. Label the package with a “fragile” or “handle with care” label to indicate that it contains delicate artwork. Failure to do so risks potential damage to your artwork.
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To create value for our customers by delivering customized shipping solutions that meet their unique needs and to fulfill shipping demands from simple to complex with expertise, guidance and ingenuity.

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The most reliable Specialized Freight Services rates from all the top carriers are just a few steps away. From white glove service to international shipping, we've got you covered.

White Glove Services

White glove shipping is a premium service that goes beyond standard delivery, offering meticulous handling, specialized packaging, and in-home setup or installation for valuable or delicate items, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience for customers.

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Protect your cargo from damages, losses, and thefts. FreightCenter is partnered third-party insurance providers, so you can transport your freight with peace of mind and financial security.

Shipping Sculptures

Shipping sculptures is just as tricky as shipping artwork. You'll need expert handling and packaging to ensure your sculpture arrives at its destination in one piece.

Shipping Glass and Glass Products

Glass is extremely fragile, easily shattering or cracking at the slightest movement inside a trailer. If you're moving a framed painting, you'll definitely need some tips about packaging glass properly.

Shipping Textiles and Fabrics

To create clothing and cloth materials, you'll need clean fabrics and textiles. Whether you're a clothing business or an individual making costumes for fun, you'll need expert help to get your fabrics and textiles to your destination without worry.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Artwork Shipping

Blind Shipping

Q. Why do some carriers not ship artwork?


Artwork is considered extremely fragile and valuable. Even the smallest bump on the road can get an artwork crushed, torn, smudged, or melted. Carriers don’t want to risk damaging an artwork and getting sued later, so they opt out of artwork shipping. However, there are still carriers who will ship artwork despite the risk. While highly vulnerable, they are still lucrative shipments. FreightCenter will search through its extensive network of carriers for you to find the right carrier to ship your artwork safely and securely.

Q. What artwork qualifies for freight shipping?


Larger artwork, fragile canvases or frames, and multiple artwork shipments qualify for freight shipping. Small or medium-sized artwork can be shipped via parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS. What counts as small depends on the carrier. For example, FedEx will only accept artwork valued at less than $1000. For regular freight, the minimum weight is 150 lbs, though exceptions can be made depending on the item in question. It’s best to discuss with a FreightCenter agent whether or not your artwork qualifies for freight shipping.

Q. Can I use white glove services for my artwork?


White glove services are highly recommended when shipping artwork. When you select this service during booking, your artwork will be extensively cared for and protected during shipping. A driver will perform inside pickup and delivery, package and set up your artwork, and insulate your artwork with additional blankets and padding during transit. It’s the best protection for fragile and highly valued items like artwork.

Q. Does FreightCenter offer artwork insurance?


Making sure your artwork is insured should be non-negotiable. It’s the best way to cover damages, losses, and thefts of your artwork. FreightCenter doesn’t have an in-house insurance option, but we do have partnerships with third-party insurance providers who can offer protection for your artwork, so you know you’re covered if anything happens during the delivery.

Three Advantages of Shipping Artwork with FreightCenter

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25+ Years of Service

We have over 25 years of experience, as evidenced by our large network of professional carriers. Our knowledgeable team of shipping experts is ready to help you optimize your small business for the intricate world of logistics.

Best Shipping Methods for Your Freight

Customizable Shipping Options

Need a liftgate? No problem! Need to ship your products quickly? We got you covered! Our FreightCenter agents can offer you tailored solutions for your specific shipping needs, no matter what kind of small business you are.

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Friendly Customer Support

Our customer support team has the answers to many of your shipping questions and concerns. We’re here to help you through every step of the shipping process, from initial inquiries to post-shipment issues.