I recently completed my largest painting to date, 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall. It was a commissioned piece for a customer in Florida (recall, I live in Ottawa, Ontario). It was actually a remake of one (this one) that I had done in the past. Here’s a quick overview of the progression of the (new) painting.
So how did I ship this beast? We decided the best option to ship it was to take it off the stretchers and roll it up into a tube to ship. Not only is the painting better protected this way, but it is also much less expensive to ship. The client just has to have it re-stretched once he/she receives it (which most art stores will do).
Here are the step-by-step procedures:
1. Remove the Staples – Flip the painting over and remove all the staples holding the canvas to the stretcher bars. Be careful not to rip the canvas since it will need to be re-stretched once it arrives to the client. I used a flat-head screwdriver and pliers to get them out easily. There were probably 200 staples in this giant canvas. Not a small feat.
2. Roll up the canvas – ensure the painting is facing to the outside. Keep it nice and loose to prevent the painting from cracking. Also make sure it is very dry before you do this since you don’t want it to stick and ruin the painting.
3. Put it into a tube. I used a 10 foot PVC pipe that I bought at the Home Depot and had it cut into a 6 foot and 4 foot section (that I discarded). I think the pipe cost about $30 and the cutting service was free. Typically, you could use cardboard tubes that are often used for posters, that you can buy at Staples or the like, but since this painting was so large that wasn’t an option. I wrapped the painting in paper wrapping paper first just in case the inside of the pipe was dirty (which it likely was).
4. Make end caps for the tube. To close off the tube, you will need end caps. I cut these out of cardboard and taped them on tightly on each end. I used painting tape, but I imagine electrical tape would be even better (I didn’t have any available). I also stuffed each end of the tube with paper towels to hold the canvas in place during transportation.
5. Label and Send. I wrapped a section of the pipe with paper wrapping paper so that I could write the shipping address there. Last step is to go ship this baby!
If you have any other tips and tricks for shipping large paintings, please let me know in the comments below.
If you’re interested in a commissioned painting, find more information here.