Artists tend to work to the very last minute before the work must be shipped. Trying to save money and time to ship the work as well as last minute neglect is just what is needed to waste weeks and months of hard work.
To pack and ship safely and at the best possible pricing is just as much an art as it is to do the work itself. The only difference is that art comes from the heart and mind, whereas savvy packing and shipping comes from knowledge.
The right packing materials for shipping artwork
Does that mean that one must keep old packing materials unconditionally?
The answer is no. Packing materials wear out. After a few uses, bubble wrap will not be bubbles anymore and will become useless, especially when you are shipping heavier work, or work that have spouts and handles.
Good sturdy packing materials is a must, otherwise you stand a chance to get your work broken.
The human factor must always be kept in mind. There are people that may handle packages that does not understand the contents thereof. Accidents and possibilities that package will be dropped, thrown, hit or otherwise mishandled by any shipper must be expected.
Use the right box
A single wall 200# test box is suitable to handle multiple objects with a collective weight of less than 65 lbs. (29 kg), especially when smaller boxes are stacked inside.
In the case of single heavy objects, it is better to limit the weight to 45 lbs. (20 kg) or to use a box that can handle more weight.
How to pack a box with pottery.
Start by lining a sturdy box with Styrofoam sheets.
Start by wrapping each item separately in bubble wrap. The thicker the better, but at least with a double layer of standard bubbles.
Wrap spouts and handles separately by creating a cushion.
For that you can either double or triple the bubble wrap in that specific area. Upholstery foam can also be useful for special protection
When foam gets old, it may crumble. Cover it in plastic, so that you do not contaminate your work with crumbled sponge, but use judgement to know when it becomes useless.
The use of corrugated box paper
In that way, the sender can double check if everything that is on the invoice is ready to be packed.
The receiver can double check what is received, but in case of work that must later be returned after an exhibition, the same packaging material can be used again, making it easier to pack the piece in a custom made packaging, and also to check if everything that was sent out, is received back in good condition.
I will appreciate it if you share your expertise with packing of valuable objects with me. There are many other types of art work that must be shipped. There are sculptures and other valuables, much heavier objects that must be shipped.
I know that crating artwork and furniture is a complete different topic to cover. Maybe a guest blogger would like to chime in.