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Raul Jarquin

Shipping Paintings - An Experiment ( part 2 / 2 )

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Shipping Paintings  - An Experiment  ( Part 2 / 2 )

CollexArt recently awarded Jeanne Golightly a Purchase Award for her painting "Long They Wait, Hope Series No. 17", a 30" x 40" Oil on Canvas.  As part of the award we wanted to provide her with a shipping box and packing materials.   In Part 1 of this article we described how we sourced a box and shipping materials we thought she could use to send us her work .   In this segment we document how the box made it back to us and some of the shipping considerations. 


The shipping steps and materials in this document are not a recommendation or a tried and true shipping method.  If you incorporate any of the information from this article you do so at your own risk, knowing that none of this information has been previously tested, and came from our experiments.


The boxes we sent in Part 1 of this post arrived at their destination with enough integrity that she could re-use them  to ship  the  original artworks back to Maine.  This is how they arrived in Maine.



We were  satisfied with the performance of the shipping boxes and how the packing materials protected the original art inside.



Removing protective glassine sheets from the original artwork.


Selecting a Shipping Carrier

We looked at various carrier options to ship our oversized items.  The most economical option was FedEx Home Delivery which is similar to FedEx Ground service.  The original shipment from Maine to Georgia took 6 days to arrive and the cost for sending the box and packing materials was under $70 (early 2020).  The following is a similar FedEx  shipment document for another art box delivery.  This time it went from Maine to Los Angeles, and the cost increased only a few dollars.




The time to deliver the above box to Los Angeles was also 6 days and the cost is approximately $82 (early 2020.)  Please note that we have no affiliation with FedEx and there may be other carriers that offer similar or better rates.


Creating Prepaid Labels and Sending them by Email

For the return shipment from the artist's studio in Georgia to us in Maine, we issued a "return" label with a pickup option.   The FedEx Ship Manager online application allowed us to save the shipping label as a PDF file which we then sent to the artist.  The cost of the return label was comparable to the original shipping label,  but this time the pricing was affected by additional variables as the box was no longer 19LBS and it had a valuable piece of art that needed insurance.  The cost nearly doubled, but it was still very reasonable (some alternative shipping methods were  3 time more.)


Artwork Size Considerations

When you ship very large boxes, you have to take into consideration dimensional weight which will differ from actual weight. and usually results in a higher shipping fee.  There are a number of online dimensional weight calculators, but the best way to determine it is to use each carrier's shipping calculator.  When we tried this we noticed that FedEx was significantly less expensive than other carriers.  This could be attributed to the type of account we obtained which, at least in our case, was discounting the shipping costs.  The other carriers were basically offering "retail" pricing which can be 3X higher or more.  

In Part 1 of this article we prepared boxes for canvas paintings.  Recently we had to prepare another similar box, but this time it was for unframed flat paper based art.  Unlike a stretched canvas, paper based art work needs dimensional support.  For this purpose we fabricated an oversize 36" x 36" art portfolio with elastic straps.  Here is what it looked like:


We used cork handmade eyelet reinforcements and metal eyelets to guide the elastic straps.



This is what the portfolio looks like when it is open:


Notice that the portfolio is covered with glassine acid free sheets to protect the flat paper art. 


Portfolio  with 2" of bubble wrap on both sides.  After this step we sealed the bubble wrap to prevent any humidity from reaching the portfolio's contents.  We then added cardboard reinforcements (not shown) just before we inserted everything into the shipping box.


Our Results Thus Far

Shipping art puts the artwork in the hands of a third party. Both the buyer and the artist value the work above any amount that can be declared.  Art is often a one of a kind item with its own history and future.  It is important to do all you can to protect the work and select a carrier that will consistently provide the service you seek.  We will do our best to document any improvements we make as we continue to find better ways to ship boxes and packing materials to our artists.  We will be exploring other methods such as high density tubes, ready-made boxes, and other carriers. 




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