IN THE STUDIO: Packaging Paintings

Since I sell my original abstract paintings exclusively online and ship them all over the United States, I think it is important to explain my packaging process. As an artist, there is nothing I fear more than if my clients excitedly opened up a box, only to discover a damaged painting. I buy online too and I know how frustrating it is to receive a product that looks as though it was drop kicked by Ace Ventura. Fortunately, I package my paintings well enough so they survive their cross country journeys. I do not outsource packaging or shipping because it is my responsibility to make sure that I get them safely from point A to point B.

To give an example, I will explain the packaging steps that I took to ensure the below metal painting, Chatham, survived its journey to Southern California:

This is me (the artist) holding Chatham, a 5-foot-long original abstract painting on aluminum. My paintings are packaged in my Northern California studio, which is located inside of an auto body shop.

STEP 1: I flip the painting over so that the front of the painting rests on green masking paper. The masking paper is important because it will not stick to or scratch the paint.

STEP 2: I wrap the painting in the masking paper like its a gift. This first layer is important to keep the painting from touching the other packing materials. I use green masking tape as a precaution in case the tape touches the painting (masking tape will not damage the paint).

STEP 3: I place layers of foam on the ground that I cut to match the length and width of the painting.

STEP 4: I rest the front side of the painting on the foam and tape it to secure it in place.

STEP 5: I cut bubble wrap to size and lay the front side of the painting on top of the bubble wrap.

STEP 6: I tape thick foam corners to each of the painting’s four corners.

For metal paintings like in this example, I use the thick foam corners because the metal weighs more than canvas, so the corners require extra protection. For my lighter canvas paintings, I use cardboard corners.

STEP 7: I line the inside of the box with more bubble wrap. If I am lucky, I can find a box that fits the painting; however, I mostly make custom boxes. The box needs to be big enough to allow room to fit packing materials, but small enough so that the painting doesn’t move around inside of the box during travel.

STEP 8: I move the painting to the box and I place a final layer of bubble wrap on top before I seal up the cardboard with packaging tape.

STEP 9: Is this a prank? Did you accidentally order a bed frame? NOPE! It’s your painting! Although the below photo doesn’t show it, the box will be wrapped in a LOT of bright packaging tape and FRAGILE stickers. Then, I figure out how I am going to fit the completed box in my car so I can drop it off at my local FedEx or USPS office.

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