Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shipping Unframed Paintings

Posted by: Kate

Way back when I was young and a total hack at the business of art I had somehow convinced a client all the way across the country to fly me out for a photo shoot.  All went well with the commission until I had this amazing moment when a stick-on light from inside my varnishing hood became unstuck, and then fell sticky side down onto the surface of the painting right after I'd varnished it.  When I peeled it off, it took off a whole layer of paint with it.  So I spent the next couple of weeks busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury shit on a frozen lake fixing this damn thing and when it came time to get the painting ready for delivery, I simply did not have time to come up with a good packaging solution.

So, day of delivery, I needed to get this painting onto a plane with me.  I couldn't find a box that was the right size.  I didn't even have a sheet of nice vellum to protect the varnished surface with (and I was pretty sure the varnished surface would still be vulnerable to scuffing).  I briefly considered bundling it up in bed sheets, but I ended up dismantling a toilet paper box and constructed a sort of cardboard teepee out of it.  I tossed that in carry-on, and then skulked into my client's office and dropped it off on his desk while he was on lunch before scurrying out again.  The thing said "Charmin Ultra Soft" on the outside.  I was so mortified.

I've since upgraded to foam core boards, but I've hung onto that last minute teepee solution.  This packing method is great because it protects the varnish layer from scuffing (which is always important, but especially if you've only just varnished the painting), and allows your buyer to view their new acquisition without compromising the wrapping.  They can simply slice the tape with an exacto blade, take a peek, and tape it back up again.  The key is to make the wings fold at exactly the edge of the panel.  This keeps the panel locked in place.  This teepee thingamabob can be easily shipped in a box filled with shipping peanuts.  My head study of The Huntsman's Bride just made it's trip safe and sound to its new forever family in the Netherlands this way.



  1. brilliant solution, but where does toilet paper come in boxes??

  2. Grocery stores get the big bags of toilet paper in cardboard boxes. I had nabbed a box for some reason.

  3. Yep...BRILL! !! I've had a few shipping horror's ....