How to ship artwork?

How to ship artwork?

July 9, 2022

Artworks are highly sentimental. Artwork may not just be a picture that you hang on your wall – It is something that represents your personality, your character, your heart, and your preferences. By definition, artworks are paintings, drawings, or other artistic works. Some examples of artworks include photographs, drawings, sculptures, textiles, prints, and glass.

Shipping of artwork is widespread. This is just proof enough that people really value artwork. People go to the extent of shipping from overseas, either because they connect with the artwork they are purchasing or they simply like the artist.

Some people may wonder if owning artworks is really that important. Well, below are reasons why people buy and value art.

  • For inspiration and motivation
  • Artworks enrich the environment
  • For gifting loved ones
  • Artworks give a visual expression of what is meaningful
  • For investment purposes
  • For the love of art

How to ship artwork overseas is something you are probably eager to know. This article will give you the information you need on how to export or import artwork.

How to Ship Artwork


The shipping process for most items is actually similar. So, what makes the shipping of artworks different? Fragility it is. Most artworks are delicate and should be handled with caution. When ship artwork, the goal is to ensure safety, professionalism, and efficiency.

What to Consider when Ship Artwork

  1. Size and volume of the artwork: Large-sized artworks are packaged and shipped differently from small artworks. This factor determines the shipping method and the shipping cost of your shipment.
  2. Shipping method: Will you ship your artwork with a courier service? Will you use freight shipping? The choice you will make will depend on the size of the artwork and other considerations.
  3. Shipping cost: This is one of the most important factors to consider. The cost of shipping your artwork will depend on the features of the artwork you are shipping (weight and dimensions). Also, the distance that will be covered when shipping the item(s) will dictate the shipping cost. Moreover, the shipping method that you will use will influence the shipping cost.
  4. Insurance: The safety of goods is not always guaranteed since damages can occur. The items are not only prone to damage but also theft. Yes, your items can be stolen, especially since artworks are highly-valuable. The solution for this is to get insurance for your items.
  5. Packaging: How will you package your artwork? What materials will you use?
  6. Transit time: How fast do you want your artwork to be delivered?

How to Package Artwork for Shipping

The first step in packaging is collecting the materials that you will use. These materials include:

  1. Knife/Box cutter: This is one of the most used tools in packaging. You will use it to cut sheets of cardboard. You should, therefore, get a box cutter that is of high quality and has many blades.
  2. T-Square: A T-square is used to make symmetrical and balanced cuts when modifying the boxes.
  • Boxes: They provide maximum protection during shipping. They come in different sizes, so you should get one that matches the size of your artwork.
  1. Cardboard pads: They will be used to give extra padding to your artwork.
  2. Bubble Wraps: Bubble wraps are the best fillers when packaging goods. They shield your artwork and fill extra spaces to prevent movement within the package.
  3. Tape gun: To reduce wastage of tape, use a tape gun.
  • Sharpie/Pencil: Apparently, you cannot cut a box without marking it. You will require an item to use in marking, and the best option is to use either a sharpie or a pencil.
  • Packaging Tape: When purchasing packaging tape, it is highly advisable to get a high-quality one.

Other tools that you require are:

  • Scissors
  • Fragile stickers
  • Pallete tape and wrap
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Painters tape
  • Acid-free glassine paper
  • Shrink-wrap/cling film
  • Heavyweight plastic bags
  • Foam boards
  • Cardboard corner protectors

Once you have all the necessary packaging tools, you should determine the size of the materials you will use. This involves measuring your piece of art to determine the size of the box you will use.

The next step is to determine the dimensional weight of your shipment. The weight will influence the shipping method you will pick and the shipping cost. For some carriers, if your goods surpass a certain weight, you will have to pay an extra fee. The more your shipment weighs, the more you pay.

Next, you should wrap your piece of art tightly with a protective skin of plastic, then add a thicker skin. To provide a thicker skin, you will use cardboard padding, followed by a sheet of bubble wrap. Once you have reached this point, your package will be ready for an outer box. Fit the whole package into a cardboard box while filling any extra spaces with bubble wrap. This ensures that there will be no movement within the box, hence preventing damages.

Tapping is the last step in packaging. You should use high-quality tape so that it sticks well. Also, ensure that you apply tension when tapping.

What are the Methods for Shipping Artwork?

When choosing a company to use when shipping your artwork, there are three things to consider: the items they specialize in shipping, their customs, and whether they offer insurance or not.

You can use a courier service company or a larger freight company. It will depend on the size of your shipment. The most popular companies that offer courier services are USPS, UPS, and FedEx. With these companies, you cannot ship heavy or bulky artworks. Using a courier service is advantageous since goods will be delivered within a short period. The transit times for these companies are as follows:

FedEx griund1-5 days UPS ground1-5 daysFirst class mail1-5 days
FedEx overnightNext day 8AMUPS 3 day select1-3 daysPriority mail1 day
FedEx priority overnightNext day 10AMUPS next day airNext day 10.30AMPriority mail express2 days
FedEx standard overnightNext day 3PMUPS 2nd day air1-2 daysFlat rate priority1-3 days

To ship large artworks, use air freight or ocean/sea freight. Freight shipping is common when ship artwork internationally.

How to Ship Paintings


1. Shipping method

As a shipper, you should decide how to ship the goods to their final destination. There are several shipping options. First, you can use a courier service: USPS, UPS, or FedEx. This is mostly when you are shipping the painting overseas. Courier services are suitable for shipping light paintings that need to be delivered within a short period. However, this is the most expensive shipping option.

Another shipping option is ocean freight (LCL). LCL, Less Container Load, is an ocean freight shipping option for bulky shipments. With LCL, you will only pay for the space your goods occupy. You can use this method when you are shipping a large painting overseas and when you want to save money. This is the cheapest shipping method. Unfortunately, your shipment will take a long time to be delivered.

Another method you can use is hiring a truck. This method is cost-effective, and you also ship your goods on your own timeline. However, you can only use this method when transporting goods to a nearby location. Also, large goods can be strenuous to handle since you are responsible for loading and offloading. There is no insurance when using trucking services. Therefore, you can easily incur losses in case of damage to the painting.

Have you heard of professional movers? Well, to save you the hassle of shipping goods yourself, why not hire professional movers? Professional movers are worth hiring if you ship large or heavy paintings locally.

2. How much does it cost to ship a painting?

There is no standard cost for shipping a painting. The cost is influenced by several factors. These factors include:

  1. Shipping method: For shipping paintings overseas, using a courier service is more expensive than LCL shipping. For shipping locally, trucking is cheaper compared to hiring professional movers.
  2. Packaging materials: The materials you use for packaging your painting will determine your expense. Some materials are more expensive than others.
  • Volume and weight of the painting: The shipping cost depends on the volume and weight of the item you are shipping. The larger the shipment, the more it will cost. The weight and volume will always be measured before shipping.
  1. Shipping distance: Shipping paintings locally is definitely cheaper than shipping overseas. Also, shipping costs vary depending on the distance covered from the origin to the final destination.
  2. Shipping time: Courier services cost higher than LCL shipping due to the delivery speed. Faster delivery means higher shipping costs.

3. What is the best way to ship a painting?

The best way to ship a painting is by choosing the most suitable shipping method. The choice you will make will depend on the kind of painting you are shipping. Is it a delicate painting? If so, you should package it in the best way possible to prevent it from breaking. Also, consider getting insurance for your shipment. In case of pilferage or damage, the insurance will cover the loss.

Generally, the best way to ship a painting is to choose the most convenient shipping method and package it properly. This will ensure safety and efficiency.

What is the Cheapest Way to Ship Artwork?

USPS is the cheapest shipping method for artworks that are not very large. With USPS, you will be guaranteed fast delivery and low shipping rates.

To get the cheapest shipping rates when shipping artwork, consider the following tips.

  1. Optimize your packaging: How you package your goods will determine the final shipping cost. This involves how you cover the artwork and also the way you stack your goods onto the shipping vessel. You should therefore choose the packaging materials keenly. Look for affordable, high-quality materials.
  2. Get insurance for your goods: Anything can happen to your shipment during transit. This includes pilferage, loss, and damage. Getting insurance is, therefore, taking a step ahead in case of these issues.
  • Negotiate prices: By negotiating, you can purchase goods at very affordable rates. Negotiating does not only apply when purchasing the items, you can also negotiate shipping rates. This way, you will save a lot of money.
  1. Use technology: Currently, the world is experiencing major technological advancements. Many programs have been designed to ease the shipping process. Using shipping software is advantageous since you can easily access discounts.


Shipping artwork may be demanding. Nonetheless, having information on how to carry out the shipping process will save you pressure. The key to shipping artwork is to package it properly and to use the most convenient shipping method.


SHipping Artworks FAQ's

  1. Some reasons why people buy and value art include using it for inspiration and motivation, to enrich the environment, as a gift for loved ones, as a visual expression of what is meaningful, for investment purposes, and for the love of art.

  1. Fragility is important to consider when shipping artwork because most artworks are delicate and should be handled with caution. The goal when shipping artwork is to ensure safety, professionalism, and efficiency.

  1. Factors that should be considered when shipping artwork include the size and volume of the artwork, shipping method, shipping cost, insurance, packaging, and transit time.

  1. Tools and materials needed for packaging artwork include a knife/box cutter, T-square, boxes, cardboard pads, bubble wrap, tape gun, sharpie/pencil, packaging tape, scissors, fragile stickers, palette tape and wrap, tape measure, gloves, painters tape, acid-free glassine paper, shrink-wrap/cling film, heavyweight plastic bags, foam boards, and cardboard corner protectors.

  1. Methods for shipping artwork include using a courier service company or a larger freight company, air freight, and ocean/sea freight.

  1. The cost to ship a painting is influenced by several factors, including shipping method, packaging materials, volume and weight of the painting, shipping distance, and shipping time.

  1. USPS is the cheapest shipping method for artworks that are not very large. To get the cheapest shipping rates when shipping artwork, you can optimize your packaging, get insurance for your goods, negotiate prices, and use technology.

  1. The best way to ship a painting is by choosing the most suitable shipping method and package it properly to prevent it from breaking. Also, consider getting insurance for your shipment.

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