Friday 28 September 2012

Let's Wrap The Whole Thing Up!

What I'm after here is your opinions on packaging artwork for shipping.

Setting The Scene In the past, and currently, I sell direct to the clients three basic products:

1 Originals - Mounted, Bagged & Backed (MBB)
2 Giclee Prints - MBB
3 The option to frame the first two options.

If I have to ship an Original, I (wooden) crate it myself - no problem (but too expensive for prints)

The Problem 

Selling on line becomes a problem for MBB

Here (left) is an MBB, 18 inches x 15 inches, which has to laid flat in its packaging. This packaging must be tough to withstand bending in transit. 

The packaging I have bought (left) is expensive, and I'm not sure its up to the job. So the problem is pricing oneself off the market 

Cost of Print + cost of MBB + Cost packaging + cost of mailing

One solution is to sell the print without mat and backing board' simply roll it, and place it in a Tube.

The advantages are that the print can be sold quite cheaply, and shipped safely. Even so shipping cost will be high in relation to the cost of the print

The disadvantage, is presentation ... Presentation is ALL to me. If the clients don't think they have had a good deal, then I have failed. I prefer them to think that I am undercharging - which in truth I am, as I'm not making a living from it.

I don't want you to divulge your 'trade secrets', but would welcome your opinions. Thanks in advance, everyone ... When I write my book. "All you ever wanted to know about packaging artwork and were afraid to ask," I shall mention you all in the acknowledgements :0)


  1. Having never sold anything online I can't help you John, but it's an interesting dilemma and I will be following other replies with interest. You'll have to list me in your acknowledgements as "First person not to help". ;)

  2. (chuckle) OK John ... you're in as Consultant!

  3. I certainly understand your feelings about presentation. On originals, what you are doing is the right way to package original art. But reproductions are something else. I've received prints rolled and that was just fine with me. These prints were not limited, numbered or signed. Those "fine art" kinds of prints came in a fancy folder with the artist's name printed on it. There was also a certificate of authenticity. They were not matted or framed; they were just packed flat in that fancy folder that I have lost. It was unnecessary, but I appreciated the presentation. I wouldn't have wanted them framed. I like to do that myself based upon my decor. "Sandwiched" between two sturdy pieces of cardboard or foam board is how I would go. That's what I've done with watercolor originals. No one has been upset.

  4. Dear John, I admire your sense of organization!
    And also the clarity with you expose your work.
    I hope the market responds favorably.

    The style you choose is suitable for the type of work, here where I live, prints, etchings, ink drawings, are presented in shops and exhibitions,with frames of this kind, that collectors love.
    Have nice week end!

    1. As always, Rita, thank you for your kind words of encouragement ... I really hope to draw some scenes of Italy next year

  5. I use gator board. It is light weight and very sturdy. For overseas I use a piece of MDF board with a piece of foam core, cut slightly smaller, on top. I place them in a waterproof bag first and also I round off the corners on the boards so they cannot cut through the padded envelope... or wrapping.
    Nothing is safe. I had a forklift go right through a wooden crate once! Insure...Insure!

  6. I almost sold a painting a few weeks ago, and I was facing the same dilemma. The sale fell through sadly. So I am also interested to know what others suggest. Have a nice weekend!

    1. Thanks for your support on new my new blog, Judy.

      Sales are like love! "Better to have loved and lost, than never have loved at all" Sorry the sale fell through. At least you can make a note of what people comment here and it may help in the future.

      Thanks for replying, dear friend.

  7. Hi John, I had the same problem. So after having shipped several of my watercolors mainly in Europe and Italy a decided that :
    - I do not ship framed painting. The shipping cost is too high.
    - I will ship only the sheet of paper (any sizes).
    - I protect the watercolor (or each watercolor) using a plastic bags well closed.
    - I prepare the pack by myself, using two rigid pieces of cardboard (one per each side), slightly bigger than the painting. I use a large adhesive tape to close the four sides.
    - The pack must be enough rigid to avoid to be bent.
    - I write all the needed infos on the two sides.
    - Then i protect the pack with a transparent piece of plastic, closed on the four sides with the large adhesive tape.
    - So far I have sent about 20 watercolors (in Spain, England, France, Italy) without having met any problems at all at relatively low cost.
    - My more common dimensions is 35 x 55 cm. Only one time I sent bigger size 45 x 65 cm.
    I do not if this can be useful for you, but this is what a did.
    Anyway, I think the the shipping cost (including the packaging cost) must be related to the cost of the painting. In my case I have to say that the solution I have found is the most suitable considering the cost of my watercolors.
    Have a good week end!

    1. Tito, you are an absolute STAR! Thank you so much for taking the time to write all this. I have printed it off, my friend, and will keep it on my files. Cheers!

  8. No trade secrets from me (don't have any), but I did receive a piece that came with a piece of masonite in the packaging. No bending there! As to cost, I haven't a clue though...

    1. Every piece of information is precious, Sherry, thank you for 'masonite' ... I had to look it up in Wiki :0)

  9. I guess this really doesn't apply to me John because I ship pastel paintings..which is SO difficult as well. At first, (when I didn't know better) I shipped my paintings framed..many times my clients opened it to find the glass broken, so I don't do that anymore.!! I use foam board with glassine paper in-between(so not to smudge. I make sure that there's no movement and ship it out like that...I only ship it matted/no frames. I think framing is personal anyway..its works for me so far.

  10. Hi John. It is a dilemma. I sent an approximately 10 x 12 inch to UK, and ddi the same as Tito, packaging it well between sheets of cardboard. It was small enough to go as a letter or magazine. Larger pieces do get expensive to mail.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn, I'm beginning to get a consensus of opinion from all this. I think that I well send smaller artwork the way most here favour, and roll the large ones and send then in tubes