View Full Version : Shipping large painting from Canada to USA

05-18-2010, 09:16 PM
I have just sold my first painting!!! Yippee!
It's on a full sheet of Canson (19x25). I'm shipping from Canada to the USA.

Before I do this, I want to check to make sure I'm doing this the right way.

I plan to put a sheet of glassine over it (I need to purchase this)and tape it in place. Then I plan to wrap it face up around a mailing tube. The put something protective around it (maybe a few sheets of paper?) then put it inside another larger mailing tube with sealed ends.

Firstly, does this sound like enough protection?
Secondly, is it likely that US customs will open it? Is there anything special I should put on the customs form or packaging in case?

Any other comments are greatly appreciated.


05-19-2010, 12:01 AM
Marina - if it were me I would put the glassine over it and sandwich it tightly between two pieces of cardboard, put that in a box with bubble wrap and ship it flat.

I don't know what to put on the customs form ... sorry. Hopefully others will chime in here.


05-19-2010, 05:35 AM
Marina, I think your suggested method is excellent, should work for Canson.

Customs usually x-ray things, and only open if it looks suspicious. In case they open (not likely), you can leave little notes inside, for example on the protective wrapping: "Delicate chalk drawing, will smudge if touched, handle carefully". I know the 'chalk-word'.... and calling it a drawing.... :-) It is easier for the customs guys to get what it is, they're not art critics.


Kathryn Wilson
05-19-2010, 09:57 AM
I'm not sure that placing it into a tube with only a piece of glassine will protect it properly - I find sometimes it is difficult to get things out of a tube, so if you customer struggles with this they could damage it.

I would tape mine to a piece of foam core, then glassine, with instructions on top of the glassine in case it is opened, then place another piece of foam core on top, then tape all the way a round to seal it. For extra protection, possibly place the foam core inside a strong cardboard box. You can never be too careful in packaging pastels (or any painting).

I hope that helps some.

05-19-2010, 10:06 AM
Marina, I missed this was your first sale! Congratulations!!! Wonderful!


05-19-2010, 12:15 PM
Congrats on your sale!

I am of the non-rolling variety, too.

Heck, do a scribble picture and mail it off to yourself to see how it turns out.

If I had to roll, I'd use smaller pieces of tape for some flexibility. I'd also roll it with glassine, but I'd use extra drawing papers withing the roll (perhaps on each side of the paper, instead of just around the rolled Canson.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

05-19-2010, 03:05 PM
You will need a form stating it is art so the buyer does not pay duty, taxes on it. What form that is I do not remember.

05-19-2010, 03:12 PM
More info for you.

Harmonized code is: 970110

You will also need a commercial invoice, a pro forma form, a NAFTA certificate of origin, and a declaration of art work form.

Good news... PM me with your email address and I can send you all these forms.

05-19-2010, 03:18 PM
I would also vote against rolling.... unless you hold them in place with tape or rubber bands, they will unroll to a very tight fit inside the tube. This means that there will definitely be damage removing it. I would go flat, with the glassine cover for the face of the art work. Attach it to a piece of gatorboard that is a little larger in both dimensions (to protect corners), or better yet sandwich it between 2 pieces of gatorboard (foam core is not as rigid and gatorboard is just as light.) THen a cardboard box or two heavy sheets of cardboard with brown paper to seal it. If you are worried about water damage a plastic bag inside the cardboard layer might be good.

It really is worth taking the extra care....


05-20-2010, 12:59 PM
Thanks for all your advice. I decided not to roll it and ended up sandwiching it between two sheets of glassine, and then two sheets of corroplast before putting the whole thing in a large plastic bag (for waterproofing) then wrapping in kraft paper. It was pretty sturdy.

The post office said I didn't need those forms to send it to the USA although I have used them before when shipping stuff from work with Fedex. Not sure what the difference is? Anyway I marked it as "artwork" on the customs form.

Thanks for all your help.

05-20-2010, 01:56 PM
Marina, I think that the whole difference with invoices and all that paperwork is that you send it as a private person, and not a firm. Or, that was the case in Sweden, when I shipped a couple to the US. Then there is some international agreement saying that art is not subject to customs fees. Don't trust me, I've just started to explore all this. Just saying it is possible it is like that.