How To Properly Ship Large Watercolor Paintings

Watercolor paintings are some of the most beautiful and delicate pieces of art. But what do you do if you want to ship one? It can be tricky, but with the right tips, it’s definitely doable. Here are a few steps to help get your painting safely to its destination.


Determine the size of your painting and choose the right shipping box:

A good way to measure the size of your painting is by measuring its longest dimension. The paint will expand, so don’t use the finished painting size, but rather the final paper size.

If you are using a large box, measure it to make sure your painting will fit inside. Since paintings are really lightweight, most boxes designed for shipping clothes will do the trick. If your painting is smaller or on thinner paper, you may not need to use a box at all.

Choosing the right box, is essential. If you are sending your painting flat, it will need to be in a corrugated cardboard box that is 5 inches longer and 5 inches wider than your finished piece. You can find these boxes at most U-Haul storage facilities or art supply shops. These boxes are designed for paintings with pre-stretched canvas, but if you can tuck the corners of your painting into the box, it will provide enough support. If your box is larger than required, it is acceptable to roll or fold your paper to fit within its dimensions.


Wrap your painting in a protective layer, such as bubble wrap or cardboard:

Place bubble wrap on the back of your painting. If you are wrapping a larger painting, it is best to roll or fold your paper to fit within the dimensions of the box before applying the bubble wrap. This will help keep your paper from wrinkling during shipping. Make sure there are no bubbles in between the paper and the protective layer!

Paintings are fragile, but if you use your imagination, it is possible to find the right amount of support for your painting. Bubble wrap can be used on large paintings in addition to cardboard. If there are no pre-cut corrugated boards at the art store, ask the employees to cut a piece of board with their box cutter. It is also good to bring the box you intend to use, so they can make sure it’s strong enough.


Place the painting in the shipping box and fill any empty spaces with packing peanuts or newspaper:

Make sure there is enough room for your painting and the protective layer to fit inside the box. Fill empty spaces with packing peanuts or newspaper, but not both at once! It may be tempting to use all of the available space in the box, but this will allow items to move freely during transport and could damage your precious art work. Packing peanuts are the most economical option for this step, but if they are not available at your local store, shredded newspaper works just fine.

Seal up the box and attach the proper shipping label:

Make sure your Box is sealed tightly! A good trick for this step, is to use shipping tape in a criss-cross pattern, covering the opening of the box. Write “Fragile”, “Handle with Care” and “Watercolor painting” on all sides of the package and attach the proper shipping label. If you do not have a shipping label, you can make one yourself at home or find them free of charge online.


Drop off your package at the nearest FedEx location:

That’s it! Once you are finished, simply drop off your package at the nearest FedEx location. If you are nervous about dropping of the box yourself, many stores offer pickup services and will send your painting to its destination for free.

If shipping a large artwork seems too daunting, there is always the option of having it professionally framed and shipped. If you are sending your painting out of town, it is best to plan ahead and find a framer near the destination.

Conclusion: When you ship your paintings, make sure they are properly protected. Find the right shipping box for the size of your painting and wrap it in a protective layer before placing it inside. Fill any empty spaces with packing peanuts or newspaper to avoid movement during transit, seal up the box, attach the proper label from FedEx and drop off at one of their locations!

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