Cheapest Way to Ship Framed Art5 (1)

Cheapest Way to Ship Framed Art
5 (1)

May 6, 2024
Discover the ‘Cheapest Way to Ship Framed Art’ without compromising on safety and reliability.
Whether you’re an artist or a collector, learn cost-effective methods to protect and send your framed pieces internationally.
For those looking to ship from China to the US, our guide offers tailored advice to ensure your artwork arrives in pristine condition while keeping expenses low.
Click here for expert tips on shipping from China to the US. Shipping framed art can even be more stressful if framed artworks require extra care due to their fragile nature.
Also, most of them are highly valuable. To ship framed art, shippers can choose from a wide range of options available to them. They can use either parcel shipping or freight shipping, depending on how large their artwork is and other preferences.

One of the factors that you should consider as a shipper is the shipping cost. Each shipping method has its own rates. Why would you use an expensive shipping method when there are cheaper options? Well, choosing a shipping method just because it is the cheapest is not the best thing to do. The shipping rates vary due to the different services offered.

Basically, the cheapest way to ship framed art does not heavily depend on the shipping method you pick. Yes, the shipping method influences the shipping costs, but there are other ways to optimize the shipping costs. One such way is the proper packing of your shipment.

By the end of this guide, you will be well-equipped with knowledge and, therefore, ready to begin your shipping journey.

The Cheapest Way to Ship Framed Artwork

When shipping framed artwork, consider these tips to optimize shipping costs:

Use shipping software:

Online tools offer discounts, like USPS commercial pricing, saving you money. Apps like Shippo can provide up to 80% discounts.

Optimize packaging:

Prioritize safety while minimizing size and weight to save on shipping. High-quality materials are key, and consider professional packaging services for optimal results.


Protect against damage, theft, or loss during transit by insuring your shipment to avoid potential losses.

Ship with USPS:

For small artworks, USPS offers cost-effective options with fast delivery, typically within 1-3 business days for first-class packages.

Negotiate prices:

Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices when purchasing artwork to secure lower rates and potentially reduce overall costs.

For highly valuable shipments, it is recommended to use FedEx or UPS.

Apparently, you cannot ship large artworks via courier services. It will be very costly to do so. Also, some shipping companies limit the size of the items you can ship. You will, therefore, have no choice but to ship large artworks using freight. Shipping framed art through freight shipping costs about $500. The size of the artwork will actually determine the shipping cost. If you are using freight, you will still have more time to make decisions. Freight shipping has several options: air freight, LCL ocean freight, and FCL ocean freight. If the artwork is not very large, you can use air freight. Otherwise, ocean freight options are the cheapest.

How to Ship Framed Art

Before shipping framed artwork, you have to package the item in the best way possible. The materials required for packaging include bubble wrap, scissors, glassine sheets, corner protectors, cardboard sheets, styrofoam balls, wooden crates, stickers, glass masks, boxes, etc.

So, how do you package framed art for shipping?

First, select the box size that corresponds to the size of the artwork. The box should not be overly large or little. Consider packaging modest pieces of art in a single box. For larger pieces, use a separate box for each.

Use masking tape to mark a ‘X’ on artworks with glass frames. In the event that the artwork cracks, this will keep it from cracking altogether. To protect the painted surface on artworks without glass, wrap the frames in palette wraps. Kitchen plastic wrap is an alternative to palette wrap.

Wrap the entire frame using packaging paper that is twice its size. Do this on a flat surface. Once you are done, wrap the frame lengthwise and widthwise using packaging tape. The packaging tape will ensure that the packaging paper does not move.

To cushion for sensitivity, wrap the entire package with bubble wrap. Bubble wraps are made to prevent objects from easily breaking, to keep dust or dirt off the artwork, and to protect against scratches on the item. When wrapping, ensure that the bubbles are facing up. If you are packaging small artworks in one box, wrap them separately before placing them in the box. This way, the items will not break during movement.

To protect the corners of the frames from being damaged, use cardboard corner protectors. The corner protectors are not only meant to protect the edges of the frame but also to provide stability to the pallets during transit.

Once you are done with the wrapping, place the artwork in a box and test the movement. If there is movement, padding has to be done. Padding is done by adding crumpled newspapers to fill up any extra space. You can also consider adding more bubble wrap around the artwork. Remember, the aim is to ensure no movement within the box.

The next step is to seal the box thoroughly and then label it. Here, you can use stickers such as ‘FRAGILE’ or ‘DON’T BEND’ depending on the nature of the artwork.

Finally, load the package onto the truck or the shipping vessel. Lay the picture on its edge and not flat on the surface so that the picture does not absorb pressure. Also, ensure that the items won’t fall or shift during transit by packing them between heavy objects.

What shipping method should be used to ship framed art?

As a shipper, it is your responsibility to decide the shipping method for your shipment. So, what should you consider when choosing a shipping method for your goods?

  1. What the company specializes in: Some companies are well-known for shipping fragile items. Since framed artworks are delicate, consider choosing such a company.
  2. Transit insurance coverage: It is necessary to get insurance for your goods. Some shipping companies include insurance fees in their overall shipping fees. This means that you do not have to get insurance from external sources. In this case, the company will be responsible for handling any damage or loss.
  3. Shipping costs: Shipping methods have varying shipping rates. This is because they provide different services; for example, some shipping methods guarantee fast delivery of goods, while others do not. So, you will choose the shipping method that offers rates within your budget.
  4. Delivery speed: Shipping companies offer varying transit times. You should choose a shipping method depending on the urgency of the goods. For urgent goods, you will have to pay more for delivery. Delivery speed can range from 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the option you choose.
  5. Distance: How far is the final destination from the origin? Are you shipping locally or internationally? Companies like DHL specialize in international shipping. Therefore, it is uncommon to use DHL to transport goods within a country.
  6. Customs clearance: This is a crucial step in shipping. So, before choosing a shipping company, you should know what is needed and how to perform customs clearance.

How to Ship Large Canvas Art

To ship large canvas at a cost-friendly price, consider taking off the frame and shipping it separately. Ship the canvas in a tube and consider getting the painting restretched. If the canvas has glass material, remove it and pack it separately. Proper packaging will guarantee the safe arrival of the canvas. To offer maximum protection to the canvas, use the double-box method. This way, the canvas is less likely to break.

Is it expensive to ship a painting?

Shipping a painting can be expensive. This is because a lot is put in to ensure that the artwork is delivered as intended, that is, with no damage. The packaging alone can be very costly if you use high-quality materials. These materials are definitely expensive.

Another factor that makes shipping a painting expensive is the need for insurance. Getting insurance for your goods is highly advocated for. A lot can happen during the transportation of goods. Your painting can get lost or damaged, or even worse, natural calamities like earthquakes can occur, causing the ship to sink. In such unfortunate occurrences, what will you do? Well, insurance will be of great help. The insurance cover will cater to these costs, so you will not experience much loss.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Painting?

The shipping cost for a painting depends on several factors. These factors are:

  1. Weight of the artwork: The heavier the painting, the higher the shipping rates.
  2. Dimensions of the painting: The bigger the painting, the higher the shipping cost.
  3. Shipping method: Parcel shipping is more expensive than freight shipping.
  4. Transit time: The shorter the shipping time, the higher the rates.
  5. Transit insurance: The type of insurance coverage you get will influence the final shipping cost.
  6. Packing method: How you pack your artwork and the materials you use will determine the shipping cost.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Painting USPS?

Shipping artwork via USPS is cost-friendly, especially when the shipment is small. USPS shipping rates start at $5 for small prints. For medium prints, the shipping price ranges from $10 to $50. Large-print shipping costs more than $50.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A 16×20 Painting?

A 16×20 painting is large and cannot fit into any of the of the available box sizes. So, how much does a 16×20 painting weigh? It weighs 1.15 pounds, and the package dimensions are 19.7 x 15.8 x 0.2 inches.

With UPS, the shipping cost is $25.

In conclusion, shipping framed artwork is mainly about optimizing the packaging and choosing the most appropriate shipping methods. This way, you will unequivocally get the cheapest shipping rates for your framed artwork.

Ship Framed Art FAQ's

  • Use shipping software to access discounts
  • Optimize packaging for safety and size
  • Get insurance to avoid losses
  • Consider using USPS for small artworks
  • Negotiate prices

USPS offers affordable rates and expeditious delivery times for international shipping.

Wrap the frame in packaging paper, bubble wrap, and cardboard corner protectors. Pack it securely in a box, adding padding if necessary.

The weight and dimensions of the painting, shipping method, transit time, transit insurance, and packing method all influence shipping costs.

Shipping rates start at $5 for small prints and range from $10 to over $50 for larger prints.

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