Shipping artwork is a pain & can get pricey.

We want to provide some shipping pointers that will make it a little easier. Once you have this part figured out, you’re ready for sales!

Cost of shipping and tax needs to be included in your price to create an easy buying experience for customers. So it’s important that you do some research on actual costs before pricing your artwork. You’ll also need to have materials on hand, ready to ship as soon as possible after you’re notified of a sale.

Some of our suggestions:

1.Use clean, new or like-new shipping materials

For works on paper

  • We have discovered 3 layers of foam core to be a lightweight and affordable way to keep your flat package’s integrity without bent corners
  • Cut foam core 2-3” larger than your acetate-sleeved package (painting, mat, backing board)
  • Place package into the center of your foam core, allowing approximately 1-2” margin around your package. Tape in place.
  • Tape the entire edge of foam core. Tape should be strong. The best tape has strings running through it. Other strong shipping tape will suffice.

For works on canvas & other surfaces

  • Creating a package within a package will help assure corners will not get damaged.
  • Build or purchase a box. You can build your own box from cardboard (3 ply is best), foam core or masonite.
  • 2” thick foam is available at builders’ supply stores. It can be cut to put a foam cushion on all 4 sides of your artwork.
  • If you choose use plastic wrap, do not allow bubble wrap or tape to come into contact with your paint surface. Maintain a paper barrier between any plastic and your work to avoid creating a sheen on your paint surface. Brown or white newsprint works well.
  • Never cover a box with paper. It is no longer permitted by shippers and will be immediately removed by them, prior to placing label.

2. Maintain a clean, professional presentation

3. The shipping industry has dramatically changed in recent years to handle the huge volume. Your package will encounter rollers, belts and automation. It will be slid, bounced and scraped, seldom handled by hand, so it must be well built.

4. Determine approximate shipping cost for each piece

  • Package your work as though you were shipping.
  • Weigh, measure & get a quote for insured painting either online or at the location of your preferred shipper.
  • Insure shipment for price of painting.
  • Although more expensive, an expedited (i.e. 2 day, etc.) package delivery is more direct, handled less and therefore less apt to get damaged.

Shipping companies

  • Most shippers allow you to set up a business account where you may be able to get a discount, print shipping labels and arrange for pickup. They all have phone or online chat capabilities to help you.
  • If you prefer to drop off your package at a location, we recommend comparing a couple of shippers if you have more than one near you. Remember, convenience is worth something!
  • If you decide to use a storefront location with lots of shipping options (Pack-n-Ship, etc.) they will charge more than if you go directly to UPS, USPS or FedEx.
  • UPS and USPS deliver all packages by company employees (Postal truck, UPS truck). At times, FedEx subcontracts with other local delivery services.

International sales

If you wish to sell outside the US, be certain you obtain all necessary shipping, customs, insurance information.

Problems with shipping

We at have had few issues/problems when we insure, package and label our packages. We have discovered the following:

  • All major shipping companies will honor problems that occur, so long as you insure your package and use good, solid shipping materials. If a damage occurs and your work is insured, the damage must be photographed from all angles by recipient and, in time, you will be compensated. Note: they will look at the photos to determine if your work was well packed.
  • If a package is lost, shippers will trace the package. Most likely it will be found. If not, within a reasonable amount of time they will reimburse you for the insured amount.

Baby Steps

If shipping artwork is a new experience for you, we suggest testing the waters by listing smaller pieces. This way, you’ll find your materials and costs to be more affordable and accessible. You might begin by listing paintings in a 16″ x 20” mat or smaller. Your shipping materials should run approximately $10-15 and postage/insurance should cost about $10-15. Thus your shipping/handling cost would be $20-30 above your painting price.*

Cost of shipping materials, of course, is much less when purchased in bulk. See Artist Resources

* Actual costs may vary

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