How To Roll Artwork For Shipping?

How To Roll Artwork For Shipping?

Rolling artwork for shipping, particularly paintings and prints, requires care to ensure that the artwork arrives in the best possible condition. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
  1. Materials Needed: You’ll need acid-free tissue paper, a sturdy tube for shipping, bubble wrap, packing tape, and possibly plastic wrap if the artwork is a painting.
  2. Prepare the Artwork: If the artwork is a painting, consider covering it with a layer of plastic wrap to protect it from any possible moisture. If the artwork is a print or any other kind of paper-based art, start with a layer of acid-free tissue paper. The tissue paper should be larger than the artwork to ensure complete coverage.
  3. Roll the Artwork: Lay the artwork face down on the tissue paper or plastic wrap. Begin to carefully roll the artwork and the tissue paper together. Try to keep the roll as tight as possible without causing damage to the artwork. It’s often recommended to roll artwork around a tube to help maintain shape and protect the piece.
  4. Protect the Roll: Once the artwork is rolled, you can wrap it with a layer of bubble wrap for extra protection. Secure the bubble wrap with packing tape, but be careful not to let the tape touch the artwork or the tissue paper.
  5. Prepare the Shipping Tube: Select a shipping tube that’s larger in diameter than your rolled artwork. The extra space will be used for additional bubble wrap to prevent the artwork from moving during transit.
  6. Pack the Tube: Before you insert the artwork, fill the bottom of the tube with crumpled tissue paper or bubble wrap. Then, carefully insert the rolled artwork. Fill any remaining space in the tube with more tissue paper or bubble wrap to ensure the artwork won’t shift.
  7. Seal the Tube: Securely cap both ends of the tube. Shake it gently to make sure there’s no movement inside.
  8. Label the Tube: Write “Fragile” and “Do Not Bend” clearly on the outside of the tube. Also write the shipping and return addresses.
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Always remember, it’s better to over-protect when it comes to shipping artwork. It’s worth spending a little extra time and money on materials to make sure the artwork arrives undamaged. The key is to prevent the artwork from moving within the tube during transit, and to protect it from any potential damage from bending or moisture.


Is it cheaper to ship your works framed or rolled?

In general, it’s typically cheaper to ship artwork rolled in a tube rather than framed. This is due to several reasons:
  1. Size and Weight: Shipping rates are usually based on the package’s dimensions and weight. A rolled artwork in a tube is typically smaller and lighter than a framed piece, resulting in lower shipping costs.
  2. Packing Materials: Framed artworks usually require more extensive packing materials to protect both the art and the frame. This adds to the weight and size of the shipment.
  3. Insurance: Framed artworks, especially those with glass, are more likely to suffer damage during transit, potentially requiring higher insurance coverage.
  4. Ease of Handling: Tubes are generally easier to handle and less likely to be damaged in transit compared to a large, flat package that contains a framed artwork.

However, remember that rolling is suitable for certain types of artworks (like canvas and paper works) but not all. Some artworks may be damaged by rolling, so it’s essential to consider the nature of the artwork as well.

Also, consider the preferences and expectations of the customer. Some may prefer to receive the artwork ready to hang and are willing to pay for the extra shipping costs associated with a framed piece.

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Protecting the Painting

In general, there are two main methods to protect your artwork during shipping, depending on whether you choose to ship your paintings framed or rolled.
  1. Shipping Framed Artwork: Framed paintings should be carefully protected before shipping. Here are the steps you would typically follow:
    • Bubble Wrap: Wrap the framed painting in bubble wrap. The bubbles should face towards the painting to prevent any scratches on the glass or the frame. You can use packing tape to secure the bubble wrap.
    • Cardboard Corners: You can purchase or make cardboard corners to protect the corners of your frame. These are placed over the corners of the frame and then taped in place.
    • Packing Paper: After applying the bubble wrap and cardboard corners, wrap the entire piece in packing paper.
    • Box: Place the wrapped painting in a box that is slightly larger than the painting. Fill any extra space with packing peanuts or crumpled paper to prevent the painting from moving around during transport.
  2. Shipping Rolled Artwork: If you’re shipping your artwork rolled, you’ll need to protect it differently:
    • Glassine Paper: First, cover your painting with glassine paper. This acid-free, smooth paper will prevent any scratches or damage to the surface of your painting.
    • Bubble Wrap: Roll your painting with the glassine paper around a sturdy tube that’s wider than your painting. Once rolled, wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap.
    • Tube: Place the bubble-wrapped roll into a larger shipping tube. Fill any extra space with crumpled paper to prevent the painting from shifting during transport.
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Remember, regardless of how you choose to ship your artwork, you should always consider purchasing insurance for your package. That way, if something does happen during shipping, you will be able to claim the value of your artwork.

How Long Can You Store a Rolled Painting?

Storing a rolled painting can be a good way to save space, but it’s not ideal for long-term storage, especially for oil paintings. Rolling can potentially damage a painting, especially if it’s not done correctly or if the painting is not suitable for rolling.

For oil paintings, the paint layers and the varnish can become less flexible over time and can crack if rolled. This is especially a risk for older paintings. It is generally recommended not to roll oil paintings at all if possible.

For acrylic paintings, while they are more flexible than oil paintings, rolling them can still cause damage. If you have to store a painting rolled, it should be done for as short a time as possible, preferably not longer than a few months.

When storing a rolled painting, it should be done carefully. The painting should be rolled paint side out, around a large diameter tube to minimize the curvature, and then placed inside a larger tube for protection. The painting should be unrolled and returned to a flat state as soon as possible.

The best way to store paintings long-term is in a flat, unrolled state, in a cool, dry, and dark environment, protected from extremes of temperature and humidity.


How to Get a Canvas Painting Back on New Stretchers?

To get a canvas painting back on new stretchers, you should follow these steps:

  1. Get your materials ready: You’ll need a pair of canvas pliers, a staple gun, staples, and new stretchers. The stretchers should be the same size as the original ones. If the original stretchers are still in good shape, you can reuse them.
  2. Align the canvas with the stretchers: Place the canvas painting face down on a clean, flat surface. Place the stretcher on top of it, making sure it aligns with the edges of the painting. If the painting has been rolled, you may need to flatten it first by placing it under a heavy, flat object for a few days, or carefully ironing it from the backside using a low heat setting.
  3. Attach the canvas to the stretchers: Starting in the center of one side, use the canvas pliers to pull the canvas over the edge of the stretcher. Staple it to the stretcher. Repeat this process on the opposite side. Then, do the same for the remaining two sides. You should now have the canvas attached at four points.
  4. Finish attaching the canvas: Continue working your way out from the center towards the corners on each side, alternating sides as you go. Pull the canvas tight with the pliers and staple it in place. Leave about two inches unstapled at each corner.
  5. Fold the corners: At each corner, neatly fold the excess canvas like you’re wrapping a gift and staple it down. This can be a bit tricky, but the aim is to get a smooth, tight fold.
  6. Check the tension: Once the canvas is fully attached, flip it over and check the tension by pressing on it. It should feel firm, not loose or saggy. If it’s not tight enough, you might need to remove some staples and pull it tighter.
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Remember to handle the canvas carefully throughout this process, especially if it’s an old or valuable painting. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to take it to a professional.

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