Recommended Packing Materials to Use
Acid-Free Archival Paper (Glassine)
Acid-free (archival quality) paper is an absolute necessity when wrapping artwork for both shipping and storage. Archival quality materials are pH neutral (i.e., between 7 and 8.5) and will; therefore have no chemical interaction with any objects they contact. Though other types of archival papers are available, we highly recommend that you buy glassine. It’s readily available by the roll from most art supply, craft, or frame stores.
Cardboard corner protectors
Corners of flat artworks are especially vulnerable to shipping damage, that’s why we require artists to use cardboard corner protectors. You can readily buy readymade corner protectors from the art supply, moving supply or frame stores or you can construct them yourself. A quick search on Google will lead you to online resources offering instructions on how to make them.
Plastic sheeting/heavy plastic bag
To protect against moisture, wrap the glassine-covered artwork with plastic sheeting/poly wrap or put it inside a heavy plastic bag.
A sturdy support is necessary for safe packaging and storage of all flat artworks. Foam board (also called foamcore) is ideal for this purpose and you can find it at most art supply, craft, or frame stores. Foam board comes in varying degrees of thickness (depending on the amount of protection needed for your work), and can typically be purchased individually or in bulk. We recommend you use foam board of at least ½” thickness. Archival quality foam board is also made available by some manufacturers which should be used if it will come into direct contact with the artwork.
An adequate amount of bubble wrap will provide a surprising amount of protection by distributing pressure and impact across a wide area. Bubble wrap does two important jobs:
- Cushions the art in case of an impact.
- Fills empty space, preventing unwanted movement within your packaging.
For these reasons, bubble wrap should be your padding and filler of choice.
High-Quality packing tape
Here are the reasons why you should ALWAYS use a good quality packing tape.
- Sturdy tape ensures your outer package remains shut throughout transit.
- When wrapping your artwork, high-quality tape ensures fully sealed seams, keeping the moisture out.
- The high-quality tape is easier to separate from the roll and usually comes with a more efficient dispenser that enables you to apply it fast.
DO NOT use low-quality packing tape as:
- It’s more difficult to apply, adding more time and effort to the packing process.
- It’s not very sturdy and is prone to breakage during the shipping
- Low-quality tape may not be adequately adhesive, so may not provide good moisture protection.
- You’ll need to use more of it to get the job done.
PVC pipe or heavy duty mailing tube
Shipping tubes can be easily bent during transit. That is why it is best for you to seek the strongest possible shipping tubes. If you are using cardboard tubes, we advise that you use a series of 3 tubes in total (2 internal tubes, 1 external tube). We encourage you to use a PVC pipe especially if your artwork is large. PVC (plastic) pipes are commonly used for plumbing and can be found at your local hardware store. Keep in mind you will need to create the end caps as these are not intended for shipping. PVC pipes have proven to be extremely secure and durable.
Please DO NOT use the following
Non-archival quality tissue paper for wrapping the artwork
DON’T wrap your artwork in non-archival tissue paper. Remember that anything that comes into direct contact with the work must be of archival quality (i.e. acid-free, pH neutral). BUT, you may use wadded non-archival tissue paper as filler for empty space within the box or crate in the absence of bubble wrap (our preferred filler). Note that when we refer to tissue paper, we DO NOT mean FACIAL tissue paper (such as Kleenex). Facial tissue is for blowing your nose, never for packaging artwork!
DON’T use foam packing peanuts. They're a hassle for those who have to unpack and repack the artwork. They also get settled during the shipping and don't provide good protection.
Second-hand filler (newspaper, magazine pages, plastic bags, etc.)
DO NOT use scraps of newspaper, magazine pages or plastic market bags to pack your artwork. These materials don’t provide adequate protection and may also leave an unfavorable impression on the collector who has bought your work.
Garbage bin bags
You don’t want your artwork to be associated with garbage, so please DO NOT use garbage bin bags to pack it. You want your collector to remain absolutely confident in their decision to purchase your work. Using items like garbage bin bags, second-hand filler or other items that are not intended for shipping artwork will more often than not, leave a bad impression on art collectors.