View Full Version : Shipping a Framed Pastel-How?

02-03-2006, 07:54 PM
HI all,

I see the topic of shipping an unframed pastel but how about a framed one?

K Taylor-Green
02-04-2006, 01:15 AM
I've never shipped a framed pastel painting, and I don't know of anyone who has. Not that anyone never has of course.
The shipping costs from shipping something under glass would be extremely high.
Figuring out how to protect the glass from breakage........well, I used to work for an over night shipping firm, and FRAGILE just means move it faster.
Maybe someone will come along who has successfully negotiated this problem.
But my advice is to ship unframed.

02-04-2006, 06:38 AM
I sent one Framed from the UK to USA, and ONLY Once! - would never do it again ...... worried myself sick, would it get there ok, would the glass break, and ruin the picture... would the frame break and ruin the picture...... etc.... etc ..... let alone the added cost of postage to the additional weight, wasnt worth my while - Keeping them unframed, is simpler, quicker and cost effective not only to yourself but to any potential customer........ but having said that ..... I sent mine by taping the glass over in a 'X' - protected the corners of the frame with card board - wrapped the picture in corrugated cardboard, then it all in bubble wrap, then in parcel paper ........ lol, probably took them a week to unwrap it all lol ......
Lorraine G sents all hers out Framed.....(though I know she is hoping to stop doing this in future).... will see if she can come in and comment for you .....

02-04-2006, 11:32 AM
Hi, Thought my ears were burning lol :)

Yes, I send 99% of my paintings out framed. If sending them overseas I don't frame them anymore. Unframed is much easier and cheaper. However in the past I have sent them to the USA and Japan framed. All got there safely, but the shipping to Japan was £90 :eek: .

Here is how I pack the framed paintings for shipping UK and overseas.

I put corner protectors on the corners of the frame, you can buy these from framing companies.

Then I wrap the painting with two layers of bubble wrap. I then tape cardboard that is larger than the frame to the front and back. This layer will act as the buffer for any knocks during transit.

I then place the package in a double wall box. Again larger than the package and then put scrunched up knewspaper or bubble wrap to fill the gaps so the package doesn't move about inside the box during transit. Warning this can take at least half an hour to pack lol :D

Once I have made sure the package doesn't slide about in the box I seal it with packing tape and put fragile tape all over it. Plus I write in big letters the word "Glass".

I have found this a very safe way to send them. However all those boxes and the giant roll of bubble wrap you have to buy can fill your garage!!!! lol,

I no longer send the paintings framed overseas, because no courier will insure the painting, because of the glass and because of how much it costs to send them overseas framed, it is a cost I can't afford to take on myself if it goes wrong.

Hope I have helped

02-04-2006, 07:10 PM

I've sent three framed pastels with glass to USA and untill now they got there intact. I send them in a way that we call «prime» which permits me to track the object.
It's important to know the several options because sometimes the designation of the kind of service can make it much more expensive.
For insteance, if you send something as a parcel, will cost more than sending a regular object, even if they both weight the same.
To check the different options go to the USPS site.
I also prefer regular post office than UPS or alikes since the last ones charge dearly and have the bad habbit of passing things through customs and that in my country means more taxes ; this when I get things from USA of course.

Kind regards,


P.S. I've been paying for sending more or less 14 x 11 frames something like 20 Euro (more or less 24 dollars)

Deborah Secor
02-04-2006, 08:00 PM
I ship my work with no problem, framed and under glass. I use Airfloat boxes made specially for paintings called a Strongbox. They're out of Tupelo, Mississippi and you can use these boxes to ship with any of the US carriers and insure for original value. I even send paintings via UPS in them with no hassle--I just leave the box untaped and show them how it's protected. Take a look at this page for more details: Strongboxes. (https://secure.redmagnet.com/airfloatsys/index.cfm?CategoryID=4)

Here's what it looks like:

I reuse them multiple times, asking my client/gallery to send them home to me empty, and I reimburse the shipping costs. I use the lined boxes, which are stronger. These boxes have three pieces of thick foam. The middle piece is perforated, so you can remove the section that fits your painting's frame, place the painting inside, close the box and send it!

I also use their Glass Skin (https://secure.redmagnet.com/airfloatsys/index.cfm?CategoryID=3)over my glass, which is a low tack tape that's about a foot wide. I tape it in place so that if the worst happens and the glass should break it keeps the glass intact and off the painting. I had one piece of glass shatter years ago and have used the Glass Skin ever since, though I've never needed it since then. (It wasn't in a Strongbox...)

This is the most secure, economical, and easiest way I've found. I have a stash of them in my shed and just pull out one in the right size for my painting to ship it off to a show or client.

These boxes are the shipping box that most of the large shows recommend, such as Arts for The Parks, all the big watercolor shows, many of the pastel societies, etc.

Hope that helps--I love these boxes! They have solved my shipping problems...


02-04-2006, 08:10 PM
Thank you Deborah for that invaluable information!!

02-05-2006, 02:57 AM
Yup! AirFloat Strongboxes are the way to go. There is another similar make, but I don't know the name. I do know some people prefer it. Someone here on WC may know which one it is.

One way to keep them in better condition is upon getting a new box, spray or brush it with clear acrylic varnish. This will seal the cardboard on the outside and help to keep it dry should the carrier leave it in the rain at any point in the shipment. It also makes it easier to take off the old address labels without tearing the cardboard. Like Deborah, I have many different sizes. I write in felt tip pen "Property of" my name and address on the inside of each box, and also write, "return shipment guaranteed". I know of some artists who've sent their work to a gallery only to have the gallery use the box for someone elses' painting when the other painting is sold and needs shipping. Then when the artist needed to have the work returned to them the galley told them they needed to have a box shipped to them for the return! Definitely not cool....

Oh yah, they are a bit "spendy", but I "retired" my oldest box after 12 years of service...


02-07-2006, 10:12 PM
I mailed a Christmas painting that was framed. I bought a mirror box from UHAUL , took it apart, turned it inside out and sized it to fit my painting, glued it together with silicone and wrapped it with packer's tape. I also bought the picture packer set which is a set of styrofoam corners with a stap to secure them around the painting effectively floating it in the box. I always keep the peanuts that come in packages sent to me so used these to fill the spaces around the painting. I criscrossed the glass with bands of masking tape, sandwiched the painting between two pieces of foam core before putting on the styrofoam corners, wrapped the exposed parts of the painting in bubble wrap before putting it into the box.Altogether it took about 45 minutes to reconstruct the box and pack the picture. It arrived just fine and was promptly hung on the wall. In general I am not shipping paintings, so this is practical and economical ($15 in materials) for the occasional time of needing to ship. If I were doing frequent shipments I would go with the strongbox in a heartbeat.

02-07-2006, 10:56 PM
...I always keep the peanuts that come in packages sent to me so used these to fill the spaces around the painting. ... In general I am not shipping paintings, so this is practical and economical ($15 in materials) for the occasional time of needing to ship. If I were doing frequent shipments I would go with the strongbox in a heartbeat.

I'm sure your method should work most of the time without damage to the work. Especially if the work isn't very large. However, you might want to consider this. If there is damage, the freight companies don't consider this method to be "industry standard", and more times than not have refused to compensate fully if at all, for the damage. How do I know this? About 25+ years worth of being an exhibition chairperson for various organizations as well as having shipped dozens of paintings myself before the Strongbox was invented. In that time I've seen or used just about every method anyone can think of. For a one time, one way shipment TJ gave good instructions for the small to medium painting (maybe up to 16 X 20 or so).

Another consideration for anyone thinking of using those "peanuts" in packing a painting going to any exhibition or gallery: The receiving agents hate those peanuts! They shift in the boxes and don't guarantee anything other than that they take up space. When the box is opened, they fly all over the place, and you can well imagine what is thought... :evil: If your work is to be returned after the exhibition or whatever, the likely hood of the agent repacking the box as you have packed it is not very good even if you have sent written instructions. Many prospectus even have a statement that says peanuts will not be tollerated, and any work arriving with them will be immediately sent back to the artist or others have a hefty penalty fine, and you won't get your work back until the penalty is paid. In this case, TJ has the right idea - go with the Strongbox.


02-11-2006, 02:31 AM
Peggy, how right you are. This piece was 16x20 and my method would have accomodated a 20 x24, but not much larger. I didn't even insure the shipment because often they will only pay for the cost of materials and not the market value of the work, especially as in this case there had been no sale to verify that valuation and most definitely would have blamed any damage on my packaging. In addition to some peanuts there was also slabs of styrofoam and wads of bubble wrap just to keep the painting in place without shifting and to accomodate any compression. I would never consider this for a piece shipped for a show or gallery. It simply wouldn't look professional, but for this one time event of sending off a Christmas present it worked quite satisfactorily.

Donna A
02-21-2006, 11:47 PM
Yup! AirFloat Strongboxes are the way to go. There is another similar make, but I don't know the name. I do know some people prefer it. Someone here on WC may know which one it is.
<< >>

Peggy, the "other" box---the one I love most, is Pro-Pak, out of NY. I had ordered 5 larger AirFloat boxes----but their measurements were for the exterior not the interior---and only one painting would fit in---barely---with 2" of padding sideways, but hardly any up and down. Could barely close the lid. So, I ended up having to send them back. Ordered the Pro-Pak. The lids are separate from the bottoms, so that made it a LOT easier to pack 1-2-3 or 4 paintings, which I often needed to do. I did not go with their packing materials. I bought conveluted (egg-carton shaped) foam made for king-size beds. I cut trianlges for each corner of both top and bottom of the box and put in place permanently with 3M's Super 77 Contact Spray Cement. Pretty fast. Then cut sheets of the foam to fit both top and bottom. Cut lenghts and doubled them---sprayed with Super 77 on smooth sides to make side "bumpers." This made a perfect nest for 1 or more paintings! If I had to ship multiple paintings, I would put foam board in between each, cut to slightly oversize of frame. AND----I would set in pieces of foam board cut to the lenghts of the box sides just inside the box to act as extenders when I needed to ship 3 or 4 paintings to and exhibit. All of this process is covered in an article in "Storing, Matting, Framing and Shipping Pastel Paintings"
Several Artists Sharing Their Experience and Suggestions
The Pastel Journal ~ Nov/Dec. 2001
There are 6 or 7 photographs and commentary. I keep meaning to scan in and post the pages on my web site. Maybe one of these days soon! Would end up on my Writings page where I have Studio Tips and other info. I use wide striping tape and push down a bit to make the box firm. For anyone needing to ship multiple pastel paintings, I think this is the way to go. The convelouted foam for the bedding is a bit softer and absorbs shocks a bit better than the harder foam. I've never ever had any problems with my paintings either direction, going or coming home. Take good care! Donna ;-}