With the holiday season quickly approaching many people will be shipping packages across the country and around the world. So whether you are shipping your own work, or gifts to family and friends, I thought I'd share what I've learned about preparing a package.
Having worked on the receiving end in galleries, I was able to see first hand how artwork of many shapes and sizes arrives to its destination. If you are an artist, how you pack your work reflects how you feel about your work. Sloppy packing seems to signify that you do not care. And if you don't care, why should the gallery? or the collector?
First, wrap each piece individually using bubble wrap, packing paper, newsprint, etc. I'm all for recycling newspaper, however, NEVER have the printed news pages against your work. The ink can rub off and damage the work. Protect the piece with tissue or other paper, and then cushion it with newspaper.
If you are wrapping something that has fragile limbs (teapot spout, mug handle, etc.), these should be wrapped and secured first. When the limb is secure, then the entire piece can be wrapped so that is is one solid piece.
Place wrapped work into a box, surrounding/floating the pieces in peanuts (ugh, the mess!) or similar packing material. For artists, always remember to include your business card(s) , any other promotional material, signed insurance/consignment forms, and a HAND WRITTEN note. If the gallery hasn't provided an inventory list, make one yourself to include with the package. Seal this box with packing tape. It should feel nice and solid, and you should hear nothing rattling around. This becomes your inner box. It then gets placed into a slightly larger box, and again surrounded/floated with peanuts or similar. (Often called the "box-in-a-box-with-peanut-float" method.) Top off the box with more peanuts.
Tape closed. Remember to thoroughly tape the bottom, as well as any opening on the sides. Again, it should feel nice and solid, and you should hear nothing rattling around.
If reusing boxes (which I always do), remove, cover, or mark through any previous shipping label. I have a FedEx account, so next, I measure and weigh the package myself (using a bathroom scale) and prepare my shipment information online. It's then ready for me to just drop off at my nearest FedEx location. (super easy!)
That's it. Usually, the hardest part is finding boxes the right size! I don't have much experience with shipping paintings/other 2D work or furniture/large sculpture needing crates. So, I'd love to hear your packing tips and advice! What have your shipping experiences been lately?