How to pack watercolour paintings for shipping

This tutorial will show you how to pack your watercolour painting safely and securely for shipping.

The tools you'll need are:

  • Sticky tape and scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Flat plastic sleeve
  • Envelope

The envelope

It's best to get wider tape as they are easier to use and more effective. The clear tape is extremely sticky and difficult to remove. The matte tape is easier to peel off and remove. You can have both or just one.

Make sure to buy an envelope and flat plastic sleeve big enough for your watercolour painting.

My plastic sleeve was actually too big so I had to fold it. I've also taped it in a way to prevent the watercolour painting from moving.

It will be great if you can buy cardboard pieces that are similar in size to your watercolour painting.

If your cardboard pieces are too big, you can always cut them to size.

Make sure the cut cardboard pieces will fit into the envelope.

You can also use cardboard pieces from cardboard boxes from your online shopping. E.g. Amazon boxes.

I've placed cardboard on the front and back of the watercolour painting to prevent damage, e.g. from things hitting the envelope.

The sides are taped so that the plastic sleeve cannot move.

I've measured everything and cut according to size so the cardboard pieces can fit perfectly into the envelope.

My envelope was actually too big so I had to fold it.

Think of how you're going to tape the envelope so that it's easy for the person receiving to open.

The sides (holes) are then taped with strong clear tape but I left a small opening for a knife or paper cutter to go in.

Sending watercolour paintings in mailing tubes (cylindrical) or those triangular in shape can be another option. But watercolour paintings are difficult to send in those because watercolour paper is thick and difficult to roll properly without accidentally folding or damaging the paper. Even 200gsm paper is difficult to roll.


The main idea is no to trust

The main idea is no to trust the way that the post office will handle your package. Here are some more tips.
It is better to use small paper clips instead of tape for securing the cardboards because it is easier to be removed. You can't roll 300 gsm paper but the lighter ones will not have any a problem.
Also secure the flap of the envelope with tape and use a marker to make a sign on it. This shows that you gave the envelope shield at the post office.
A good trick when you send paintings in rolls is to close the cardboard tubes with many layers of tansparent tape instead of the plastic caps. This allows the customs officers that see what is in the package and not attempt to open the tube to check out the contents ( as they might attempt to do sometimes). It is also wise to cover the outside of the carton tube with transparent tape after writing the address on the cardboard, ( or using a pre printed label ). This way the address will be readable even if your package ends up in the bottom of the sea.
Never write on the package things like "don't fold it " etc. It is certain that the postmen will be triggered to do what you tell them not to do ( that was an advice that came from an American customer of mine! lol )

That is the way I've sent paintings from EU to US in the middle of the lockdown and though it took almost three months to get to their destinatios they were delivered intact though they were thrown from the postman's car on the snowed door of the recipient )!

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