How to ship a painting

In an ever more globalized world, both art business professionals and hobby artists or art collectors are all too often faced with a task of shipping artwork abroad, be it for an international exhibition or for the purpose of selling their finest pieces to online buyers. Naturally, sending precious works of art involves a huge responsibility as no avid painter would like to see their works ruined upon delivery. At Eurosender, we are aware of the challenges of shipping paintings internationally, which is why we only work together with the most renowned courier companies on the market. To merge safety with simplicity, we prepared a comprehensive art shipping guide with precious tips – from how to package paintings for shipping to crucial booking instructions.

Whether you are an Etsy seller, a small business or a professional art collector, Eurosender can be your trusted partner for shipping artwork to almost any address around the globe.

How to place an order to ship paintings internationally or domestically

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Place the order by using our engine or request an individual offer.

You will be provided with the best available offer.

Fill in the form with your details and pay for the service.

Get informed on how to pack paintings for shipping.

Shipping paintings with our help is not just easier and safer, but also extremely convenient. Eurosender arranges the shipping with the company offering the best price-performance ratio, gets in touch with all the links of the supply chain in your name and makes sure everything runs smoothly. You can, therefore, enjoy all the benefits of a door-to-door delivery without stress and unwanted extra costs.

If you are not completely sure you would be able to ship paintings internationally without help or if you need additional information on this matter, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Write us an e-mail or call us directly and our friendly customer support specialists will guide you through the process and help you with anything you need.

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How to ship a painting without unpleasant surprises

It does not matter if you want to ship a painting on canvas or only an art print, the choice of the most reliable courier service and proper protection always need to be combined with good preparation. Knowing which type of shipping service you need and how to easily book the transport will save you a lot of money and spare your nerves. To get you started, we recommend that you follow the below instructions:

  • Always carefully measure the box you plan to ship artwork in and use the shipment calculator below to determine which service is most suitable for your shipment. If the size of your package exceeds the limits for standard shipping, simply request an individual offer and our logistics experts will quickly find the most affordable option for the transport of your paintings.
  • When shipping packages from Spain, Poland, Romania or Sweden or when booking Same day courier service, you need to print the shipping label and attach it to the shipment yourself. In other cases – be it a freight or package service–, this will be done by the courier.
  • If you plan to leave the pick-up address around the time of the booking, even if just temporarily, make sure that you place the order for shipping at least 2 working days ahead of your departure to avoid any problems with the pick-up.

Check which service is suitable for your work of art

Do you ship artwork abroad on a regular basis?
If you own a registered business and frequently need art shipping services, you can create a business account on Eurosender’s platform and benefit from even better prices and faster booking. Let us become your contract-free logistics department and get instant access to thousands of immediate quotes for freight shipping as well as to all the data regarding your past and current shipments. You can also take advantage of our pre-paid solution and book the shipping in a blink of an eye. Several packages lower fine art shipping costs.
If you need to pack and ship more than 6 paintings in separate boxes, opting for an individual offer is a sure-fire way to even lower shipping prices. This is a great solution for private shippers and businesses alike.

Art packaging supplies

Whether you need to ship artwork abroad or to another part of town, good protection is always crucial for successful delivery. In this case, you need to forget about the saying “less is more” and give your painting the best protection you possibly can. Below is the list of art packaging supplies that will help you prepare artwork for shipping (with packaging for art prints and pictures without a frame included):

  • Glassine paper or any tissue paper that is acid-free and of archival quality – to cover the painted surface. Glassine is a type of smooth and glossy wax paper that is resistant to air, water, and grease. Therefore, it is especially useful when you need to ship an oil painting. You can buy it at a stationery shop or at a shop selling art supplies or painting accessories.
  • A heavy plastic bag or plastic (poly) wrap – to protect the painting from moisture.
  • Bubble wrapyou can also use bubble wrap bags for artwork.
  • A cardboard or foamboard sheet – to add support for the artwork.
  • Cardboard corner protectors – you can also create your own.
  • A foam board, plywood or Styrofoam sheets – to make a “sandwich construction” with the painting safely placed between these sheets.
  • A sturdy cardboard box (one or two) – you can get it at a stationery or hardware shop. Used ones are suitable as long as they are strong enough and show no signs of damage (no holes, tears, dents etc.). If using the double-box method, also look for a box that is slightly larger than the original box and fits the box with a painting as well as some cushioning materials.
  • Packing materials– some packing peanuts, foam, Styrofoam sheets of crumpled paper can be helpful.
  • Adhesive tape and scissors – to seal the box.
  • Cotton gloves – to prevent the oils from your hands being in direct contact with the surface of the painting.

How to package paintings for shipping

Now that you have all the materials in front of you, the next most important thing is finding a clean and flat surface without clutter so that you will have enough space for proper packaging. You should also decide whether you want to ship paintings together with the frame or rolled in a tube. Below are instructions for both techniques.

How to ship a painting on canvas by boxing it?

  • Put the gloves on. Avoid touching the painting with your bare hands to prevent transferring the oil on your fingers onto the painted surface.
  • Cover the painted side with glassine paper. Place the glassine paper on a flat surface and continue by placing the painting on it with the painted surface facing the paper. Fold the glassine against the edges of the painting and use some adhesive tape to secure it. Make sure the tape only covers the glassine and not the painting itself.
  • Tape the glassine-covered painting to a cardboard sheet or a foam board. This way, you will provide some additional support for the painting.
  • Wrap the painting with plastic sheeting or put it in a bag. This will protect the artwork against moisture. Make sure you seal the bag so no water can enter the protective layer.
  • Wrap the painting in bubble wrap. Use at least two layers and secure the protection with duct tape. Bubble wrap bags for artwork are also a good idea.
  • Add the corner protectors. Place the cardboard protectors on the painting’s corners and secure them with tape.
  • Sandwich the artwork between two sheets of plywood, styrofoam or between 2 pieces of foam board. Use ample amounts of the adhesive tape to bind the two sheets of the protective material together really well as the picture should stay firmly in place within the structure.
  • Box everything up. Put the sandwiched painting in the box and surround it with packing materials if needed. Shake the box ever so slightly to make sure nothing is moving. If packing several paintings, put cardboard dividers between them or simply put each of them in its own box.
  • For extra safety, you can also put the box with a painting in a slightly larger padded box.
  • Seal the outer box with adhesive tape and apply the label if you have to.

How to ship paintings on canvas or an art print by rolling it?

If you do not need to ship artwork together with a frame, you can send it away in a mailing tube.

  • Put the artwork between two layers of glassine and roll it around the smaller mailing tube. Secure the protection with a piece of adhesive paper. Fold the edge of the tape over, which will allow for easy removal.
  • Roll bubble wrap around the artwork. Do not forget to seal the wrapping completely so no moisture or dust can enter.
  • Insert the artwork into the tube. Fill extra space with more bubble wrap. Make sure you do not damage the corners. Seal the tube well.
    • Drawings, photographs, and prints should be placed on the glassine with the image surface facing up. This way, you will roll them “face-in” and protect the image.
    • Works on canvas, linen etc. should be placed on the glassine face-down so that the images are facing out when rolling the work. Rolling such paintings inwards can cause cracks on the surface and should be avoided at all times.

Ship your unframed oil paintings by courier

The process of shipping an oil painting can be rather different depending on the time when it was finished. Transporting a wet oil painting by courier might be a bit trickier as oil paintings can take a longer time to be completely dried, therefore should be treated differently when shipping.

When you want to transport a wet oil painting by courier you should be careful that nothing touches the surface of it, therefore do not put anything directly on it. Rather, build a thin crate that would cover the painting but with the surface of the painting at least 15mm away of it. Secure the painting to the rare crate panel with screws. Then add all the additional packaging materials starting from plastic sheeting, bubble wraps …to adding insulation Styrofoam and boxing everything together.

When you are shipping a dried oil painting it might seem like a simpler process but be careful as having a completely dried oil painting might take up to a year. Once you make sure it is dried, cover the painting with glassine paper, add bubble wrap (to avoid cracking of the paint), add some insulation Styrofoam and put it in a box to be shipped. When you are shipping an unframed oil painting you might consider rolling it up and transporting it but we suggest keeping them flat so there would be no damage and cracks on it.

How to transport charcoal drawings by courier

If you worry that your drawing will smudge until it reaches its final destination, then follow our instructions to ensure the safest transport for your charcoal drawing. Before you start the preparation about shipping, spray the drawing with a workable fixative and add a couple of layers for extra protection. Then it is time to add glassine paper over the whole drawing. Cut two pieces of matte (according to the dimensions of the drawing) and ‘sandwich’ the previously prepared drawing inside. As we understand the fragility of this type of drawing and want the safest transport for your charcoal drawing, we suggest you secure it with adhesive tape or similar, so you will avoid any movement of it. Add additional bubble wrap, insulate and place it in the box.

Shipping insurance for a painting

1. Can I ship a painting?

Even though paintings are on the list of not recommendable items for shipping at most courier companies, with the right packaging it is possible to pack and ship them. Be aware that shipping paintings are always on your own risk. Also, be sure to check out our article on items that are prohibited to send.

2. Can I buy additional insurance if I send a painting?

Please note that regular insurance doesn’t count for packages that are not recommended for shipping and the same goes for additional insurance. Check out our article about items that are covered by shipping insurance.

Reduce your fine art shipping costs without sacrificing reliability

At Eurosender, we have already helped numerous customers to ship artwork abroad. We have gathered some of the scenarios in which they turned to our services as they found Eurosender’s shipping solutions the most suitable for their needs:

  • Etsy sellers or smaller businesses selling artwork online. With a flexible booking system, immediate shipping quotes and the bargaining power that brings the costs down, Eurosender is becoming a popular choice among hobby artists and professional painters who need a reliable logistics partner for regular or occasional art shipments. Companies with a business account also profit from an even easier and faster booking process and further reduced pricing.
  • Moving to a new address. When artworks are too valuable to be left behind but too bulky or clumsy to be transported by car, taking advantage of a reliable booking platform combined with extra guidance is the way to go.
  • International exhibitions or competitions. Eurosender is here for any artist who needs logistics support to show their masterpieces to the world. Ship an oil painting you are so proud of abroad and demonstrate your talents in front of the international crowd.
  • Shipping paintings as gifts. While works of art are also popular as gifts, our customers cannot always transport them to the recipients themselves. And they do not need to as we are here to do this instead of them.
  • Donating artwork. Many artists donate some of their finest works to collect money for humanitarian purposes. Eurosender supports the hard work of nongovernment organizations and individuals selflessly helping others. If you need our help to realize your goals, get in touch and we will advise you on how to ship paintings overseas as well as arrange the transport at exceptionally low prices.

Are you unsure about how to ship artwork abroad in your particular case? Do you have any special requirements? Let us remind you once again that we are here for you. Contact us and we will utilize our knowledge and experience to find the best transport option for your works of art.

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Take into consideration these guidelines when you ship artwork abroad or within your country. Nevertheless, please consider that following them does not guarantee that the courier company will transport your shipment without restriction. In case you decide to ship paintings, Eurosender will not be held responsible for any damages caused by the transportation of your shipment.