One of the readers of this blog e-mailed me to tell me that she had to crate twenty six paintings to be shipped for a show. She wanted to know if I could do a post on crating paintings. Here that is.
I sometimes use cardboard boxes to ship small paintings or those that I own, or those that are in a cheap frame. HOWEVER, if I am shipping something in a valuable frame, or that a client has paid for, or if I have a whole show full of gold frames, I use wooden crates. Here's how I make them, below you see a form my wife made for me. It is going to appear full sized if you click on it and you can print it out. You will probably want to replace the Stapleton Kearns logo with your own, or a picture of your art. This form is for designing crates, you just plug in the numbers, add them up and then take it to the lumberyard. You can let them cut the luan, (that's thin plywood ) for you, just hand them this sheet and they will know what size you want the two sheets to be.
When you get those pieces home you lay them on the floor and assemble the 1 by boards by screwing their corners together using drywall screws and your battery drill. Then you screw those to one of the sheets of plywood with a screw about every six inches. Now you have an open topped box into which goes the painting wrapped in bubble wrap. You may want to cover the face of the painting with waxed or plastic coated paper in case the bubble wrap wants to adhere to your new painting. I have heard of that happening.
Secure it with either the plastic strips you get for this purpose from a moving company, or use the wide plastic shipping tape on a roll and a gun. But you must be very careful with that tape. If you touch a gold frame with the tape it will pull the gold right off of it. After two layers of bubble wrap, I sometimes put the whole thing into a plastic bag, and then into the crate it goes.
You may also want to put in a sheet of paper on the top of the whole assembly that gives the price of the painting and its title, if that will be needed on the other end. Also you may want to write in big letters on that " Take all the tape off before opening the bubble wrap". That may keep their stupid intern from destroying your frame. Maybe not.
You may want to put several smaller paintings in one crate. But don't load the crate so much that it will be hard to carry.Then you screw the top on (just like a coffin!) with your battery drill, again placing the screws about six inches apart.
It sounds like a big deal but actually crates are pretty quick to make and if you are shipping an entire show to a dealer they are always impressed when it comes in crated. Clients like it too, it certainly makes what you are shipping look valuable. And it looks very professional. I have been known to use woode crates just for the effect, when I wasn't really worried about the frame etc. I just wanted to be impressive. But it does provides good protection for something you REALLY don't want to have damaged.
Then I call ADCOM worldwide, sometimes I use FEDEX for a single package, but if I am shipping a group of crates for a show I use these guys. They are dependable and less expensive if you have a big shipment to put out. Whoever you use, make sure you tell them before they come to pick up your crates, the dimensions and sizes you are shipping. I think adcom will ship anything, but other carriers have specific size limits or oversize charges that may be exorbitant.
Good luck with your show, M