PACKING YOUR WORK FOR EXHIBITIONS
Thoughtful preparation for packing and shipping your work helps ensure that your work will arrive without damage, makes you look like a professional artist, establishes that your work will be handled and installed carefully according to your expectations and returned without damage. What more can you expect?
Sloppy packing increases the chance that your work may be damaged during shipping, lost in the packing materials, possibly damaged when it is unwrapped, returned in an inappropriate shipping container, or poorly repacked because the artist did not provide adequate packing instructions or reusable packing materials. Is that what you want? That is what you are going to get if you don't pack your work properly.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS for PACKING YOUR WORK.
DON’T do this:
• Don’t use newspapers for packing material.
• Don’t reuse an old or beat-up box.
• Don’t reuse a box with printed product information printed on the box.
• Don’t wrap your work in bubble wrap sealed with plastic tape.
• Don’t tape your interior shipping box closed.
• Don’t eat or drink when packing or unpacking work.
DO the FOLLOWING for your Exterior Shipping Box:
• Design your packing materials and boxes to be reusable for return shipping.
• Label the inside of your exterior shipping box with your name and contact information.
• Make your shipping boxes look professional and new.
• Double-box your work. This means that your work is packed in an interior box surrounded by at least two inches of “shipping peanuts” between the interior box and the outer shipping box.
• Attach FRAGILE stickers to the exterior of the shipping box.
SAMPLE INTERIOR SHIPPING BOX BELOW:
Do the Following for Your Interior Box:
• Design the packing materials used inside the interior box to be reusable.
• For small artwork, a Tupperware-type plastic container (with a resealable lid) may be an excellent interior box.
• Label the interior box with your name and address – inside and out.
• Label the interior box with the title of your work ON THE OUTSIDE.
• Glue instructions for Unpacking, Display, Maintenance, and Repacking on your interior box. (see below for more detailed information).
• Always include a pair of disposable gloves with your work (placed inside the interior box).
• Place the following papers inside the interior box with your work:
o A List of Inventory (including wholesale and retail value).
o Condition Report (especially if this is an important piece or traveling exhibition).
• Include a current RESUME and ARTIST STATEMENT if you haven’t sent them already.
• Use brass brads with string to securely close the box (if the lid doesn’t already seal like Tupperware, for example). DO NOT USE TAPE.
Stay tuned for more shipping tips and a printable handout next week.
Are you wondering why I made the recommendations listed above? Just ask. There is a reason for every suggestion.
This post was updated on January 19, 2022.