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What is the Best Way to Package Artwork for Shipping?

Jan 09, 2020

There are lots of ways to package and ship paintings but this is what works for us!

These are the supplies you need to get started:

tools for packaging paintings

1. Foam Wrap - This is to protect the painting, especially the corners which are easily damaged in shipping.

2. Roll of Plastic Wrap - You need this to secure the foam wrap around the painting.

3. Retracting Utility Knife - This is for cutting the plastic wrap and cardboard.

This painting is unframed, on a gallery wrapped canvas. It is 12x12.

wrapping a painting

Use the plastic wrap to secure the foam wrap around the painting.


plastic wrapped painting

Cut a piece of cardboard that is the same size as the painting, to be placed on the front of the painting. We only do this when wrapping an unframed gallery wrapped canvas (so that the canvas does not get damaged or stretched in transit). If the painting is framed this is not necessary.

cut cardboard

wrapped painting

The painting can now be put in a box. When we order frames we often receive them in boxes that work quite well for making shipping boxes. 


It's great having custom boxes but it is quite time-consuming. Another option would be to purchase pre-made boxes. There are many available on Amazon.

Uline also sells boxes that would work if you want to purchase a larger quantity.

The challenge is to find boxes that are the correct dimensions for your paintings. But the prices are very reasonable when you take into account the time it takes to make your own box.

Whatever system you use for boxing up your paintings you will need packing tape as it is very strong!

tape dispenser

And voila!


Remember to include a hand-written thank you note in the box!

We ship paintings from UPS most of the time but also use USPS for smaller paintings. USPS will only ship paintings that are small or medium in size. UPS will ship paintings of any size. We have found that the pricing between UPS and USPS is quite comparable. 

UPS offers a service of not only shipping but also packaging paintings. They do all the work but the cost can be significant. In my opinion the pricing seems to vary from location to location. Or it may fluctuate depending on the time of year and how busy they are. 

When selling paintings online we often include shipping in the price so we make sure the price accounts for that extra expense. Other artists may collect the funds for  their painting, box it up, pay for the shipping, and then send the buyer an additional invoice. There are a variety of ways to handle shipping costs.

Here is another article that has some really good information and goes into more detail than we do here.

We hope this is helpful!

Renae Dorsey