Protecting your artwork from damage is the main goal when transporting a painting. Paintings are unlike other objects, because acrylic paint and varnish layers may be soft enough for packing materials, like paper, to stick to the surface. While bubble wrap shouldn’t leave behind material like the newspaper did, it may ferrotype a texture; a result from the thin plastic directly contacting the painting’s surface. To prevent this from occurring, we will construct a collaring system, which for this little painting is basically a custom cardboard box. Start by marking the width of the work, allowing additional space to prevent the cardboard from touching the sides of the painting. Lines are drawn to create an outline.
Next we factor in the height of the artwork to all sides of the outline – again we add extra space as we did before – and then draw an outer square. Cut the cardboard to the outer lines, and then cut through the cardboard to create tabs on TWO opposite sides. Cut from the inner pencil line to the edge of the cardboard. Using a ruler as a straight edge, we pull up the short tabs first. We could have lightly scored the back of the cardboard first to create a cleaner edge, but this can add weakness to the collar.
Then we fold the longer tabs. The tabs are folded over to create strong corners and then secured with packing tape. Be sure to use strong tape to prevent the box from pulling apart during shipping. Next we will attach our artwork to the inside of the box. Flip the painting over, face down, onto a clean table covered with poly plastic sheeting. There are many methods and kinds of fasteners which may be used, but we selected industrial strength Velcro for small painting. If you are concerned about glue residue or not being able to remove the Velcro from the work later, you can simply staple the Velcro in place and remove it later. Next we apply the opposite pieces of Velcro to the inside of the box, and press the artwork firmly. A quick shake test shows the effectiveness of the Velcro.
The entire box is then wrapped in 4 mil polyethylene plastic sheeting. Because of the collar, the plastic should not come in contact with the painting during transport. However, if it does, it is one of the safest materials for the painting to touch as it is less likely to cause the issues that paper and bubble wrap can create. The sheeting is taped securely, and a cardboard lid is also taped into place. Now the work can be covered in bubble wrap and the smaller box is placed into a larger box with more packing materials. And NOW we are ready to send the painting on its journey!