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How to Safely Move and Transport Canvas Prints

When we moved into our first house, one of our most prized possessions – a large canvas painting we received as a wedding present – was also the hardest to pack. Our canvas had more sentimental value than market value, but we still wanted to ensure its safe travel. In our case, preparing our painting for transport was a project that involved yards of bubble wrap and towels. It survived the short car trip unscathed, but here are some better ways to safeguard your artwork.

broken artworkProtective Wrap

Although canvas is somewhat durable, it can still be scratched, torn or moisture damaged if not packed properly. The Practical Art World website recommends starting by wrapping the canvas in glassine, a transparent and resilient glazed paper. This protects your print against moisture and prevents the wrapping from sticking to the surface. Artist Heather Cash had another tip as well. In a guide posted on her blog, Cash said one way to wrap the canvas is in clear plastic, often found in large rolls at office supply stores.

Further protect the canvas from dings or dents by covering it from front to back in a layer of foam wrapping, or foamcore, available from most moving companies.

Keep Layering

Next, place the foam-wrapped artwork between two layers of cardboard that are longer and wider than the canvas. This will help you safeguard fragile corners. Bend the edges of the cardboard over the canvas and secure them with packing tape.

“The cardboard should be slightly larger than the painting itself, so that if the corners are banged, the painting’s corners won’t be affected,” Cash said in this blog post.

Next, wrap the cardboard in bubble wrap.

“It’s important to sandwich the painting between cardboard before wrapping in bubble wrap,” Cash stated. “If you just wrap the painting in bubble wrap with nothing in between then if the paint softens during shipping due to warm temperature(s), the bubble wrap will cause indents in your painting.”

A final step to take before boxing up your print is to wrap it again – this time with a layered brown paper. Treat it like you would a Christmas present. Cover the entire surface area and don’t use too much extra paper.

Frame It

An alternative to the above steps is to frame the canvas print with glass or acrylic, which adds an extra layer of protection from water damage and movement during shipping.

Acrylic is lighter and more shatter resistant than glass, but if you use glass to frame your canvas, start by placing non-stick painters tape across the face of the glass in an over-lapping grid pattern. Painters tape sticks well to glass and is removed easier than other types of tape that can be used. If the glass breaks, it will stick to the tape instead of damaging the art.

Once the glass has been properly taped, cover the framed artwork in bubble wrap with the bubbles facing outward.

The Right Sized Box

No matter how you decide to wrap up your canvas print, the final step to take is to box it up. Measure the wrapped canvas and choose a corrugated box that’s at least 6″ longer and wider. Fill the areas around the artwork with foam sheets or packing peanuts to ensure that it doesn’t move around, recommended online newsletter ARTTalk.

For especially large or valuable pieces of artwork, you can hire a professional packing, crating and shipping company. They are trained to move precious cargo, so if you are worried about your canvas print not making it to its final destination unscathed, leave it to a trained professional.

No matter how you choose to transport your canvas, using the right packing materials will go a long way to help ensure that it arrives safely at its destination.

Contribution on behalf of Craters & Freighters, an industry leader in packaging & shipping around the world.


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