Flat Packing Small Artworks for Shipping

Instructions for packing 2 dimensional artworks that are
smaller than 122 x 122 cm (48 x 48 in.)

  • Glassine, acid-free (archival) tissue paper or untreated Tyvek
  • Art board or sturdy cardboard
  • Foam board (ideally made from Polyethylene or Polystyrene material) at least 1.5 cm (½”) thick; or two-ply acid free cardboard
  • High Density Polypropylene (HDPP) plastic sheeting (at least 3 mil) or a heavy clear plastic bag
  • Cardboard corner protectors (if available, otherwise you can make them)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Clear packing tape
  • Inner Cardboard box (purchased or handmade)
  • Outer cardboard box (purchased or handmade. Recommended when shipping internationally, to exotic or distant locations or when shipping highly delicate artwork.


  • All materials should be new and clean.
  • Any material that comes into direct contact with the art must be stable – meaning archival grade, acid free and lignin free.  

    Note: Recycling materials significantly increases the risk of contamination from pests, fungi and abrasive particles such as can be found in common dust.
  • Wash your hands!
  • Make sure that you have a clean surface to work on

The Steps

  • Wrap the artwork in glassine, acid free tissue paper or untreated Tyvek.
    Note: If you are shipping to or from a high-humidity zone, use acid free tissue paper rather than glassine as glassine reacts to humidity.
  • Secure the glassine or tissue using lightweight tape so that it remains in place.  Make sure that the artwork is completely covered and that the tape is not in direct contact with it at any point.
  • Fold pieces of either glassine or acid free tissue in half diagonally and in half again to create a triangle pocket. 
  • Place one on each corner of the wrapped artwork
  • Create triangle pockets for the corners
  • Gently tape the corner pockets in place
  • With care, tape the glassine or tissue wrapped artwork to a sturdy piece of art board or cardboard that is slightly larger than the artwork.

This is a great place to put the Certificate of Authenticity!

Place the hand signed certificate in an envelope on top of the wrapped artwork.

Note: Avoid folding the certificate in case the customer wants to frame it someday.

  • To protect against changes in humidity or rain while in transit wrap the artwork in High Density Polypropylene plastic sheeting.  
  • Alternatively, a 3 mil Archival Polyester envelope may be used.  Seal with clear packing tape to create an airtight seal. 

    Note: DO NOT create an airtight seal if the artwork is made of any organic materials 

  • Wrap the artwork in polyethylene foam sheeting (prefereable) or bubble wrap (less preferable)

    Note: If using bubble wrap, always wrap the object with the bubbles facing out, otherwise they may leave imprints on the artwork.  Never allow bubble wrap to come into direct contact with the artwork as it is not a stable material.Secure the foam sheeting or bubble wrap with clear packing tape.   
  • Cut two pieces of foam board or cardboard that are 5 – 7 cm (2 – 3 in.) larger than the artwork. 
  • Sandwich the wrapped artwork between the two pieces of foam board or cardboard and tape as needed around the sides.

    Note: Take care not to tape the boards together more tightly than necessary.  The objective is to prevent the artwork from shifting in transit not to put any pressure on it. Too much pressure could cause damage.
  • Place cardboard corner protectors around all thicknesses of the packing and on all four corners of the wrapped artwork.
  • Purchase or make a cardboard box that fits closely around the wrapped artwork.
  • Fill any gaps with bubble wrap.
  • Place the artwork in a cardboard box 
  • Tape the box closed sealing all openings. 
  • If shipping internationally, or to a distant or exotic location, it is a good idea to place the first cardboard box containing the artwork into a second larger box and fill the gaps with bubble wrap. 
  • Tape closed sealing all edges. Reinforce as needed both vertically and horizontally.
  • Label the outer box, the one that will be visible to the shipper, as “FRAGILE” using a marking pen and clear legible handwriting.
  • Or, adhere a pre-printed “FRAGILE” label to the outer box leaving a place for the shipping label.
  • Indicate the orientation of the box by identifying the top using a hand drawn or adhesive arrow label. ?

That is it! You are ready to ship!