top of page

Seamless Shipping: A Comprehensive Guide for Artists on Safely Transporting Artwork to Galleries

Shipping artwork to galleries is a crucial undertaking that requires meticulous planning and precise execution. In high-level contemporary art galleries, the process of shipping artworks is a blend of careful strategies and expert handling. This comprehensive guide combines both aspects to ensure a seamless shipping experience:

Quality Packaging:

Begin with professional-grade packing materials like acid-free tissue paper, bubble wrap, and custom-sized boxes. These materials provide the foundation for secure and safe packaging.

Step 1: Gather Essential Materials

Before you begin, gather the necessary materials to ensure a smooth and successful packing process:

Acid-free tissue paper

Bubble wrap

Cardboard corner protectors

Custom-sized box (with extra padding space)

Packing tape

Fragile stickers

Packing peanuts or foam inserts

Clear plastic wrap or plastic bags

Gloves for handling

Step 2: Prepare the Artwork

Clean the artwork's surface gently with a soft, lint-free cloth while wearing clean gloves. Place acid-free tissue paper between delicate surfaces, such as glass and frames, to prevent scratching.

Step 3: Wrap with Bubble Wrap

Begin by wrapping the artwork with a layer of bubble wrap, ensuring it's completely covered. Pay extra attention to corners and edges to provide additional padding.

Step 4: Protect Corners

Attach cardboard corner protectors to safeguard the artwork's vulnerable corners. Use painter's tape to secure them, ensuring they don't come into direct contact with the artwork.

Step 5: Securely Wrap Artwork

Wrap the artwork again in bubble wrap to create an extra protective layer. Seal the edges of the bubble wrap with packing tape.

Step 6: Prepare the Box

Line the bottom of the custom-sized box with packing peanuts or foam inserts. Gently place the bubble-wrapped artwork inside the box, ensuring it's centered and doesn't touch the box's sides.

Step 7: Add Padding

Fill any empty spaces around the artwork with additional packing peanuts or foam inserts to immobilize it within the box.

Step 8: Close and Secure the Box

Seal the box securely with packing tape, ensuring all seams are tightly closed. Affix "Fragile" stickers and handling instructions to the box.

Step 9: Documentation

Attach a packing slip and a detailed condition report inside the box lid. Include photographs of the artwork from various angles, highlighting any existing damages or imperfections.

Step 10: Additional Layer of Protection

Wrap the sealed box with clear plastic wrap or place it inside a plastic bag for added protection against moisture.

Step 11: Labeling

Clearly label the box with the artwork's title, your name as the artist, and the gallery's contact information. Include a "This Side Up" indicator to ensure proper orientation during transit.

Step 12: Insurance and Tracking

Ensure the shipment is insured for its full value and choose a reputable shipping service that provides tracking information.

Custom Crating:

For artworks that demand an extra layer of protection, consider custom crating. Sturdy wooden crates offer unparalleled security during transportation, accommodating unique dimensions and handling specifications.


Always insure your work. Always. Partner with reputable art transportation companies that provide insurance coverage for the full value of the artworks being shipped. This financial safeguard shields against unforeseen accidents or damages.

Climate Control:

Artworks with specific environmental requirements must travel in optimal conditions. Arrange for climate-controlled transportation to maintain the integrity of your creations.

Tracking and Monitoring:

Stay informed with tracking and monitoring systems that offer real-time updates on the shipment's progress and location. This knowledge provides peace of mind and ensures timely information.

Customs and Regulations:

Navigate international shipments confidently by understanding customs regulations and ensuring all necessary documentation is in order. This proactive approach prevents delays and disruptions.

Unpacking Instructions:

Contribute to the artwork's safe journey by providing clear unpacking instructions to the recipient. Ensure that the unpacking process is as careful and methodical as the packing.

Artwork Handling Guidelines:

Educate gallery staff and shipping personnel on proper artwork handling protocols. Emphasize the importance of handling artworks with the utmost care, including the use of gloves when necessary.

Transportation Partners:

Potentially hire reputable art transportation companies renowned for their expertise in handling high-value artworks. Their proficiency ensures your precious creations are in capable hands.

Emergency Plan:

Prepare for the unexpected by having a contingency plan in place. Anticipate potential delays, so always prep for a week before or after for a "buffer time" if you will

By integrating these strategic best practices with meticulous attention to detail, high-level contemporary art galleries can confidently ship artworks to their destinations. This careful orchestration of procedures upholds the integrity of the artworks and supports the gallery's reputation for excellence.


bottom of page