How To Ship Canvas Paintings

How To Ship Canvas Paintings

If you are an independent artist, you will need to ship your paintings to their buyers safely, professionally and with minimal costs.

This can be quite the challenge if you are new to shipping canvas paintings and many blossoming artists make simple mistakes that cost them in both money and reputation. 

The worst case scenario is that your canvas is damaged in transit and you have to refund the buyer due to a simple packaging mistake.

These tips will help reduce the risk of anything happening to your artwork during the shipping process and hopefully save you the heartache of refunding a buyer and taking a loss. 

It is important to mention that these tips can’t guarantee that your painting arrives safely, but they will go a long way to lowering the chances of anything going wrong. 

What Are Your Objectives When Shipping A Canvas?

Firstly, let’s understand what you are trying to achieve when sending your canvas to its buyer. 

Safe Delivery

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where the customer is calling you to complain that their brand new painting is broken, smudged or scratched.

Your first goal is to avoid damages to your painting before it has even been shipped. This can be accomplished with the packaging tips that will be discussed later on. 


When your buyer receives your canvas, they should get the impression that what is inside is already valuable.

Your packaging should send the message that you are a professional and you know what you’re doing.

The art itself is valuable of course, but the packaging that their new painting arrives in should match this level of professionalism. 

Save Money 

Most artists are operating on a budget and are looking to find profits where they can. This is where careful choices on delivery and packaging costs will save your profits for you.

It’s all about finding the cheapest option that still maintains the safety and professionalism of your delivery. 

Packaging Tips

Packaging Tips

Let’s talk about packaging, which can be the difference between a perfectly intact, beautiful painting arriving safely and an angry customer complaining that your canvas was falling out of its box on arrival. 

Palette Wrap 

Your first line of defense comes in the form of palette wrap. This can be bought in bulk and is the first layer of protective packaging around your canvas.

Wrap it tightly with no spaces or scrunched up parts, which could smudge the paint in transit.

Palette wrap is safe to put in direct contact with your canvas and will prevent any scratches or smudges from damaging the canvas. 

Bubble Wrap 

Bubble wrap is probably the most effective packaging to prevent breakages during the shipping process.

Even though the bubbles pop individually when you play around with them, they form a strong wall of defensive cushioning against any pressure that gets applied to your canvas.

If your package is leant on or finds itself stacked underneath other boxes, bubble wrap takes that pressure and distributes it over a larger area. 


Buying low quality tape can be the difference between your packaging holding its place and slipping out completely.

Cheaper tapes can break easily and you will end up using multiple times more tape to secure your canvas when high quality tape would have required less coverage.

Tape can cost you in the long-run, so invest in good quality early on. 

Fragile: Handle With Care 

It is worth sticking some ‘fragile’ signs onto the outside of your package too. Mailrooms can be busy places that lead to packages being dropped or thrown.

Adding some ‘handle with care’ signs might just be the difference between your canvas being passed carefully between mailroom workers or thrown.

Therefore, it’s better to include them instead of assuming your package will actually be handled with care. 

Choose The Right Shipping Service 

Shipping costs can really eat into your profits before the customer has even received their painting, so make sure you choose the right one. (Read more: Art Storefronts Prints)

USPS – US Postal Service 

USPS is a perfectly safe, reliable option for shipping. It is an affordable service that won’t take away too much of your profit and it offers quick delivery times.

For most canvases, USPS is a good choice, but you may want to look elsewhere for shipping larger canvases. 


UPS are a suitable shipping service for all sizes of canvas, but they are probably the best option for shipping large paintings.

You still get the benefit of affordable shipping with fast delivery times, but you can be safe in the knowledge that your masterpiece will make it to its destination no matter the size. 

Things To Avoid When Shipping A Canvas Painting

You have a long list of tips and tricks to make sure that your canvas makes it to its buyer safely and on time, but let’s take a look at some things to avoid. 

Poor Packaging 

Reusing cardboard boxes is a great way to recycle packaging and be more conscious of your waste output.

It might not be suitable for shipping valuable canvas paintings though, as they are more likely to break and expose your painting for damages and breakages.

Try to favor new boxes that won’t be vulnerable to wear and tear. 

Bubble Wrap Touching The Canvas 

Bubble wrap is your best defense against damages to your paintings, but it can just as easily harm your canvas if it isn’t packaged correctly.

Avoid placing it in direct contact with your paint and make sure that the bubbles are facing outwards, ready to take any incoming pressure. 

Avoid Styrofoam 

Although styrofoam is thought of as a useful packaging option, it’s not as effective as most people think.

This is without mentioning the mess it can make when your buyer receives your painting. It’s best to stick with the packaging tips mentioned above and steer clear of styrofoam. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have found these tips useful for shipping your canvas paintings safely and professionally whilst working on a budget. 


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