How To Wrap & Package Your Paintings: Protecting Your Art | By Kerwin Blog

How To Wrap & Package Your Paintings: Protecting Your Art

Creativity meets Care: Practical tips for wrapping and packaging your paintings when transporting, shipping or storing your art, from international artist & entrepreneur Kerwin Blackburn

As an artist who has spent the last few years building their art brand and business, ‘By Kerwin’, I have displayed my pop art-inspired paintings in numerous shows and exhibitions. Among the many challenges of organising an exhibition of my art, a fundamental concern is making sure I always package my paintings and art correctly when transporting them. Similar care must be taken when I wrap my paintings to ship them to customers after being sold.

In this blog post, I explore the art of wrapping and packaging your creations as an artist. Beyond mere aesthetics, the proper packaging of your paintings ensures their safeguarding during storage, secure transport to exhibitions, and reliable shipping to art enthusiasts worldwide.

Optimal materials for art packaging include acid-free paper, glassine, bubble wrap, foam board, and cardboard. Use the right combination of materials to provide appropriate protection. Foil-backed ‘Stiffy’ art bags are a good investment to safeguard artwork during storage, transit, and shipping.

Join me as I explore the important steps to preserve your masterpieces and protect your art.

By Kerwin art packaging
Packing and labelling my art and paintings for an exhibition

The importance of wrapping and packaging your paintings and art correctly

Let’s get real about why wrapping and packaging your paintings is a big deal. Art is often fragile – it can get damaged messed up from being touched, the environment, or just bad luck. Imagine your masterpiece surviving all that! That’s where the magic of proper packaging comes in. It’s like giving your art a shield against bumps, spills, and other potential pitfalls.

Think of packaging as an insurance policy for your creativity. Good packaging doesn’t just keep your art safe; it helps it last longer and keeps its value. So, if you want your art to stand the test of time and stay in great condition, you need to pay attention to the wrapping and packaging game.

Kerwin Blackburn heads off to exhibition at The Other Art Fair, New York City | By Kerwin Art
Me with my paintings ready to fly to New York for my international art show debut in 2022

What are the best materials for wrapping and packaging your paintings?

Let’s talk about the key materials that will keep your artwork safe and sound. Some of the key materials include: acid-free paper, glassine, foam board, and good old-fashioned cardboard and bubble wrap. Why these? Well, they’re like the bodyguards for your art.

Optimal materials for art packaging include acid-free paper, glassine, bubble wrap, foam board, and cardboard. Use the right combination of materials to provide appropriate protection. Foil-backed ‘Stiffy’ art bags are a good investment to safeguard artwork during storage, transit, and shipping.

First up, acid-free paper – it’s like the VIP treatment for your paintings or art. It keeps your paintings and art safe from nasty chemicals that could cause the artwork’s surface to corrode or fade over time (particularly important if wrapping a delicate painting, such as watercolour).

By Kerwin art packaging
Ready to set up at The Other Art Fair, with my paintings safely delivered

Then there’s glassine, the anti-stick champion. It won’t cling to your artwork like regular paper might. This is often an important consideration when wrapping varnished paintings. The varnish can have a tacky finished to it, which can easily cause tissue paper fibres to stick to it and permanently damage the finish of your painting. Nightmare!

Foam board? It’s the cushioning pro. It softens the blows, making sure your art doesn’t feel the bumps too much. And cardboard? The traditional, sturdy defender. It adds a robust layer of protection, keeping your masterpiece safe and snug. However, do not use carboard in direct contain with your painting surface for the reasons described above. Cardboard fibres can stick, and cardboard also is not a acid-free, meaning is it NOT archival (archival means suitable of being stored in an archive over the long term).

Wrapping your art or paintings with bubble wrap

You also have the trusty go-too of bubble wrap. This is a reliable material that offers a lightweight, fairly cost-effective layer of protection to your art and paintings. Make sure the bubbles face inward to your art, and consider choosing large bubbles for optimal protection.

However, avoid placing bubble wrap in direct contact with your painting if it is delicate, tacky with varnish or if wrapping to store it over the long term. Static from the bubble wrap can damage the art’s surface. Add a layer of glassine or acid-free paper (or even cloth) in between first.

Kerwin Blackburn exhibiting his paintings at The Other Art Fair with Saatchi Art, July 2021 | By Kerwin pop art Jackson Pollock style music prints
Always take care when wrapping your art

There are also environmental considerations when using large quantities of bubble wrap, so make sure to re-use your bubble wrap where possible (this can save you significant cost too).

I have used bubble wrap in direct contact with my By Kerwin pop art paintings when transporting them via car to an exhibition in my hometown Norwich, UK. But when sending these to London with a courier for an exhibition or flying these to New York for my first international show, I took extra precautions to preserve the painting surface.

Material world

Why does all this material talk matter? Because each one plays a crucial role in protecting your artwork. Acid-free paper prevents long-term damage, glassine ensures it doesn’t stick, foam board absorbs shocks, and cardboard adds that extra layer of toughness.

It’s like picking the right armour for your art – making sure it’s not just shielded but also preserved for the long haul. So, next time you’re prepping your artwork for its journey, think of these materials as its trusty sidekicks, ready to defend it from whatever comes its way.

By Kerwin art packaging with Ebiss

Is it ok to wrap a painting in plastic?

Let’s talk about wrapping paintings in plastic. Some people think plastic is the bad guy and a material to avoid at all costs, but that’s not always true. It can actually be a good aid if you use it smartly.

Firstly – plastic won’t smother your artwork like some people worry about. In fact, it can be like a shield, keeping dust and accidental spills away. Just don’t wrap your painting too tight; let it breathe a bit. Also, make sure your plastic wrap is moisture-free as you don’t want condensation forming around your painting or artwork.

So, plastic can be handy, but it’s all about doing it right. Wrap it properly, and your art stays safe without feeling like it’s suffocated. And remember to add your layer of acid-free paper or glassine to keep the painting surface out of contact with plastic for lengthy journeys.

By Kerwin music themed pop art paintings and prints in a chaotic Jackson Pollock style landscape montage
My By Kerwin pop art-style music icon paintings

Packing for transporting your art to shows and exhibitions

As an artist who has transported their ‘By Kerwin’ pop art paintings to many different types of exhibitions and art fairs, I’ve had much practice of wrapping my art.

If you’re an artist reading this, let’s talk about getting your creations from A to B, especially when you’re taking it to exhibitions or events. First off, think about the journey – bumps, shakes, and all that. Make sure to wrap your individual pieces correctly using sufficient protective layers and also the inner layers of acid-free materials discussed above.

When you’re packing, layer up! Use protective stuff like foam or bubble wrap to cushion your art against unexpected knocks. It’s like giving your artwork a comfy ride. Oh, and if your artwork is framed, pay extra attention – glass can be fragile.

Also consider crating your artworks. Crates are like the bodyguards of the art world, keeping your masterpiece safe in transit. However, they are often costly and awkward heavy to lift. Fortunately, the majority of my By Kerwin paintings come in only two sizes, so they stack well, which adds protective during vehicle journeys.

Here’s the deal: plan for the worst (because you never know), pack it like a pro with sturdy crates and cushioning, and your art will arrive at exhibitions ready to steal the show. Just imagine your masterpiece making a grand entrance, all pristine and secure. That’s the goal!

By Kerwin art packaging
Packaging my art for an exhibition

Stiffy Art Bags: Your secret weapon for packing your paintings for exhibition

Many artists swear by foil-backed bubble wrap art bags for conveniently packaging and transporting their art to exhibitions. ‘Stiffy Bags’ is one brand leading the pack.

These silver protective cocoons are a game-changer for transporting artwork. The foil lining shields against light, moisture, and temperature changes, acting as a fortress for delicate creations. Stiffy bags, in particular, combine durability with flexibility, providing a snug fit around various art sizes.

The bubble wrap interior cushions against bumps, ensuring your masterpiece travels unscathed. Artists love the ease of use and peace of mind these bags bring, turning the nerve-wracking journey of art transport into a confidently wrapped adventure.

They are also incredibly quick to pack your paintings away into. After getting tangled up in piles of bubble wrap at my first couple of solo art exhibitions, I soon invested in these foil art bags. They save me a huge amount of time. They require some investment, particularly if you have a large collection of paintings to pack (like me with my By Kerwin pop art painting range), but they are incredibly effective. Their re-usability may also save you money over the long term.

By Kerwin art packaging
These silver foil art bags are a great investment as an art

Wrapping and packaging when shipping your paintings and art to customers

Let’s now consider the details of shipping your artwork to customers once it has sold. These details are crucial to consider because we want it to arrive at its destination safe and sound, and also being presented in the correct way.

Firstly, wrap your individual piece correctly – acid-free paper or glassine for painting surface protection is a must when shipping an artwork to a buyer. Invest in the appropriate materials that will offer protection and also present the newly-bought artwork in the intended way. If wrapping a piece in bubble wrap, you may still want to purchase or build an exterior cardboard box or crate to house the piece in.

Artworks with glass should be taped across the front prior to wrap, so if the worst was to happen and there is a smash, the glass fragments are held in place and don’t pose unnecessary risk when unwrapping.

By Kerwin art packaging

Then, ensure you have the correct labelling. Make your package shout “fragile” and ensure all the necessary details are there – addresses, contacts, you name it.

Next up, insurance is your safety net. Consider it like an extra layer of protection. If something unexpected happens in transit, your masterpiece is covered. It’s a step you don’t want to skip for that added peace of mind. I’d recommend talking to a professional shipping or courier firm that can calculate the correct insurance for you.

I use Mail Boxes Etc n the UK when shipping original By Kerwin paintings to buyers. They calculate the correct insurance and also can wrap my pieces professionally using the best materials.

Talk to a professional: Communication is key

When dealing with shipping carriers, talk to them. Communication is the name of the game. Share the specifics about your precious cargo, so they handle it with the care it deserves. And speaking of care, pack it tight. Use the right materials – bubble wrap, foam, or whatever it takes to create a cushion around your artwork.

A professional shipping company can even do the wrapping and packaging for you, which is ideal (in fact, some of them have to wrap your pieces themselves according to certain types of insurance, even if you have already wrapped them yourself). You’ll learn more about the packaging process with experience and you build your art selling career.

Remember, shipping to a buyer is a journey for your art, and you want it to be a smooth one. So, label it right (triple-checking your addresses are correct!), get that insurance for a safety net, have a chat with the carriers, and pack it up like you’re safeguarding a treasure. Your artwork – and buyer – will appreciate the TLC when it arrives safe and sound at its new home.

By Kerwin art packaging with Ebiss
Transporting my art to London with courier company Ebiss for some exhibitions

Packing your paintings for storage

Next, let’s talk about storing your artwork for the long haul. First things first, treat your paintings like the treasures they are. Store them in a cool, dry spot, away from any direct sunlight. You want to avoid your art experiencing temperature fluctuations, which can make the materials or frames expand and contract and therefore get misshaped or damaged. Think of storage as giving your art a comfy, shady spot to chill.

When it comes to wrapping your art for storage, take extra precautions, considering the long-term requirements of your packaging. Definitely use acid-free materials as a protective layer between your painting’s surface and any plastic or cardboard wrapping.

Now, when stacking your art together – be gentle. Don’t just throw paintings on top of each other like a game of Jenga. Give each piece its space to breathe, so they don’t get all moody and stick together. Pack your paintings on their end so the weight isn’t on the artwork surface.

Climate control is your art’s best friend. Keep the place steady, not too hot, not too cold. Extremes are not cool for your artwork. They like it just right, like a cosy room temperature. Make sure your storage spot is free of moisture, to avoid condensation damage to your art.

Make sure your storage location is also safe and secure, with necessary locks, security and CCTV.

So, to sum it up: find a cool, dry spot, avoid sunlight, stack with care, keep the climate controlled and your storage site secure. Your art will thank you for giving it a safe, happy home until it’s ready to make its next big appearance.

By Kerwin art packaging
Some of my art in storage – this was only for a few days during an art show

Additional tips for art packaging

Let’s dive deeper into the art of packaging with some additional pro tips. First off, labelling is key. Ensure your package is shouting “handle with care,” and include all the essential details. Think of it as giving your artwork a personalised introduction to the world.

Don’t stop there – add in some handling instructions or fragile warnings. Make it crystal clear that your art prefers the gentle touch. It’s like a little note to the handlers, guiding them on the best way to treat your masterpiece.

Consider the recipient in your packaging strategy. Add care guidelines, a sort of manual on how to keep your artwork happy and pristine. It’s like passing on the torch of responsibility to the new art owner.

Now, if your art is a bit on the extra side – large canvases, framed pieces, you name it – they deserve some VIP treatment. Secure those frames, pad those corners, and ensure everything is snug as a bug. Treat them like the royalty of the packaging world.

To sum it up: label smart, share handling instructions, include care guidelines, and go the extra mile for those unique pieces. It’s like giving each artwork its personal bodyguard for a smooth journey to its new home.

By Kerwin art packaging

Conclusion: Handle With Care

In a nutshell, mastering the art of wrapping and packaging is the unsung hero in the realm of art care. Handle your creativity with care.

Beyond the aesthetics of packaged art (particularly when shipping a piece to a buyer), effective wrapping and packaging is the backbone of safeguarding your masterpiece throughout its journey – be it to exhibitions, during transit, or to be tucked away in storage.

From the right materials like bubble wrap and sturdy crates to smart labelling and communication with shipping carriers, every step plays a crucial role. And don’t forget your layers of acid-free paper or glassine that protect your painting or art surface from its bubble wrap or cardboard wrap. Consider investing in foil-backed Stiffy art bags as an artist; they’re a worthwhile investment.

So, embrace these packaging tips as your art’s trusted companions. As you follow this guide, envision your artwork not just as a creation but as a resilient traveller, confidently navigating the bumps and turns, wrapped up snugly in protection. By prioritising proper packaging, you’re ensuring that your artistic endeavours remain not just visually stunning but also resilient against the unpredictable adventures of the art world.

By Kerwin art set up at The Other Art Fair, New York 2022
By Kerwin art set up at The Other Art Fair, New York 2022

What is the most helpful piece of advice in this article on packaging? What other materials do you use to wrap your art? Explore my own range of ‘By Kerwin’ pop art paintings and shop prints in my online shop

Explore my blog guide about how to hang and display your paintings at an exhibition here. Visit my blog section for more tips about framing and displaying your paintings and art.

View my full range of Jackson Pollock-inspired pop art paintings and prints of your favourite music and pop culture icons at High-definition printing, fast worldwide delivery and satisfaction guaranteed. You can follow my art progress on Instagram and Facebook.

By Kerwin pop art music paintings at The Other Art Fair London panoramic landscape photo
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