Painting How To: Packaging, Shipping & Handling Your Artwork

Click Picture to Purchase: “View at Plaza El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, CA”

Proper packing and shipping of artwork becomes an issue once you have to ship paintings to exhibits, galleries, and clients. You must package your artwork so it won’t get damaged. Glass must be replaced with acrylic glazing. Framed pictures must be protected around all edges, as well as back and front. This involves not only placing a sheet of foam rubber against the back and front of the framed painting, but also around the perimeter. Then you have to put it in a rigid, corrugated cardboard box. The ideal system is one that can be easily assembled, sealed up, and subsequently reopened. This makes it easy to remove the painting, store the packaging, and reassemble stuff for the painting’s return… easier for those who have to manage exhibits. Most exhibits require such packaging, and they’ll often give you a discount in the handling fee if you do these things correctly.

The “Airfloat” system does precisely this. It’s easy to assemble the protective foam that’s provided to completely surround your framed painting.  You simply have to make sure the package you use is large enough for your painting. What’s particularly attractive about this type of system is that the package can be reused. They are also reasonable when purchased several at a time.

When you’re shipping matted prints, make certain they won’t get bent. The packaging should be rigid. For example, when you send a matted print in a manila envelope, add a piece of cardboard to make it more rigid. You can also purchase rigid envelopes which accomplish the same thing. Just make sure they’re large enough. If the package is barely able to accept the print, the painting or print may get damaged when you try to shove it into the envelope.

When shipping boxed or unboxed note-cards, enclose them in bubble-wrap and place them in a rigid cardboard box.

Shipping items by ground potentially results in more abuse. I’ve also learned some shippers won’t insure paintings, or if so, have limits on the amount of insurance.  Check these things out before shipping your artwork so you won’t have to deal with them at the very last minute.

Douglas Stenhouse also wrote a book about watercolor painting.

“I decided to write about how I paint, not only to share my observations with others, but also, frankly, to do some self- examination. I wish I had done this earlier in my life! But then, how was I to know I’d benefit from doing so, certainly at a time when I had no aspirations of becoming a professional artist.” 

To learn more about Doug’s Watercolor Painting Book, click here. To purchase a signed copy, use the link below.


Douglas Simms Stenhouse, watercolor artist, transparent water color art, watercolor painter, painting with water colors